No evidence that acrylamide can cause cancer in humans

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Rest assured New Zealanders, Food Standards Australia New Zealand state there is no direct evidence that acrylamide can cause cancer in humans.

Reports out of the UK are suggesting that browned toast and potatoes are a potential cancer risk, due to acrylamide levels. However, Cancer Research UK said the link was not proven in humans.


MPI research reassessed dietary exposure to acrylamide with a survey of foods contributing to acrylamide intakes in New Zealand. NZ foods have comparatively low levels of acrylamide. These levels are of no concern via normal dietary consumption.

The ministry updated its survey in January 2012. The survey found that dietary exposure estimates have remained fairly constant since the previous (2006) survey.


Potatoes are an integral part of a healthy diet…

So please continue to enjoy potatoes with every meal. Potatoes are a valuable source of nutrients including a range of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre. Potatoes contain 10% or more of the recommended dietary intake (RDI) of the following nutrients: vitamin C, folate, thiamin, niacin, pantothenic acid and potassium. Potatoes are also a source of dietary fibre and contain a diverse range of phytonutrients.


Where is acrylamide present?

Acrylamide is present in many different types of food and is a natural by-product of the cooking process. The highest levels of the substance are found in foods with high starch content which have been cooked above 120C, such as crisps, bread, breakfast cereals, biscuits, crackers, cakes and coffee, as a result of the roasted beans.


How can I eat less acrylamide?

  • Don’t store potatoes in the refrigerator or where exposed to light because this can increase the components that promote acrylamide formation.
  • Soak potatoes in water for 15-30 minutes, or blanch in boiling water before frying or roasting because this reduces the components that promote acrylamide formation.
  • Follow manufacturer’s cooking instructions – many of them have adjusted their instructions to reduce acrylamide levels in their foods.
  • Cook potato products such as oven fries, hash browns and roast potatoes in a moderate oven (180-190°C) to a light golden colour only. Deep fried chips should be cooked at a maximum of 175°C. Chunkier style chips are preferable.


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