The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is launching a public consultation on its scientific opinion about acrylamide in food.

Scientists and other interested parties can comment through an online consultation until 15 September.

Currently, the authority’s expert panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM) has outlined some key aspects about its opinion on acrylamide, which can be found in baked and cooked products such as bread and crispbreads. Its opinion includes preliminary recommendations regarding future research on the substance, which involve detection and risk assessment methods for the mutation of germ cells.  

Chair of the CONTAM panel Dr. Diane Benford said: “Acrylamide consumed orally is absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, distributed to all organs and extensively metabolised. Glycidamide, one of the main metabolites from this process, is the most likely cause of the gene mutations and tumours seen in animal studies.

“So far, human studies on occupational and dietary exposure to acrylamide have provided limited and inconsistent evidence of increased risk of developing cancer.”

CONTAM will then discuss the feedback, together with other contributors at a public consultation meeting later this year.

The deadline for adopting a finalised opinion on the substance is June 2015.

Acrylamide was first discovered in biscuits and snacks in 2002.