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The Acrylamide is an off-white crystal substance, it is the raw material for the production of the polyacrylamide, while the polyacrylamide is mainly used for the water purification treatment, for the pulp processing and for the inner coating of the pipeline etc. The starchy food can easily generate the acrylamide in cooking at the high temperature, say over 120 degree. According to the researches, the human body can get in contact with the acrylamide through multi ways, such as the digestive tract, the respiratory tract, the skin and the mucous membrane etc, among which the drinking water is an important way for the human body to intake the acrylamide substance. In April of 2002, the researchers from the Swedish National Food Administration and the Stockholm University firstly reported that the acrylamide is detected to be existed in some fried and grilled starchy foods, such as the fried French fries and the fried potato chips, and the existing content exceeds the maximum allowed limit of 500 times to the drinking water standard. After that report, the other countries like the Norway, the UK, the Switzerland and the United States also reported the similar researching results.
According to the study of the Hongkong Consumer Council, the carbohydrate containing foods will all generate the acrylamide after the frying process. The study shows that the acrylamide can cause the cancer, but the World Health Organization says, it is difficult to determine a firm acrylamide concentration which can cause the cancer at the moment.
Since the formation of the acrylamide is related to the cooking processing methods, the cooking temperature, the cooking time and the moisture content etc, therefore, the formed acrylamide amount is very different in different foods by different cooking processing methods and the cooking conditions, even for the same food in the different batch production, the acrylamide content is also very different. At the No. 64 meeting of the JECFA, there are 6,752 test data of the acrylamide obtained from the 24 countries in the foods produced between 2002 to 2004, 67.6% of the test date is from Europe, 21.9% of the data is from South America, 8.9% of the data is from Asia, 1.6% of the data is from the Pacific region.
The test data is from the detection of the major food consumption, such as the breakfast cereals, the potato products, the coffee and its similar products, the milk, the sugar and the honey products, the vegetables and the beverages etc. among which there are three kinds of foods with the higher acrylamide content as below:
1. the potato products by the high temperature cooking process method including the fried potato chips and the fried French fries etc: the average acrylamide content is 0.477 mg/kg, the maximum acrylamide content is 5.312 mg/kg;
2. the coffee and its similar products: the average acrylamide content is 0.509 mg/kg, the maximum acrylamide content is 7.3 mg/kg;
3. the breakfast cereal: the average acrylamide content is 0.313 mg/kg, the maximum acrylamide content is 7.834 mg/kg;
The acrylamide content in the other kinds of foods is basically under 0.1 mg/kg.
According to the evaluation of the acrylamide intake amount in the seventeen countries around the world, the result shows that the average intake amount of the acrylamide in the general population is 0.3-2.0 μg/kg bw per day, among which the intake amount of the 90% ~ 97.5% of the high consumption is 0.6-3.5μg/kg bw per day, the intake amount of the 99% of the high consumption is 5.1 μg/kg bw per day. According to the body weight statistic, the children’s intake amount of the acrylamide is two to three times of the adults. The main source of the food for the acrylamide is the fried French fries which covers 16% ~ 30%, the fried potato chips which covers 6% ~ 46%, the coffee which covers13% ~ 39%, the biscuits which covers 10% ~ 20%, the bread which covers 10% ~ 30%, the other foods cover less than 10%. Based on the intake amount of the acrylamide in different countries, the JECFA believes that the average intake amount of the acrylamide to the human is approximately 1μg/kg bw per day, while to the high consumption people this intake amount of the acrylamide is approximately 4μg/kg bw per day, including the children. Because in China at the moment we do not have the sufficient data of the acrylamide content in all kinds of foods, and the data of the intake amount of these foods to the general population is also insufficient, till now we can not determine the exposure level of the people in our country. However, because the acrylamide content is higher in the foods like the fried potato products, the coffee products and the baking cereal products etc, while the intake amount of these kinds of foods in our country is not likely higher that the other countries, the level of the intake amount of the acrylamide in our country is not likely higher than the general level from the JECFA evaluation.