The Food Standards Agency has said we should only fry bake or toast starchy foods until golden yellow, not brown, amid fears overcooking raises levels of the cancer-causing chemical acrylamide
Crispy roast potatoes, chips and well done toast can cause cancer , the UK’s top food watchdog has warned.
Families are now urged to only lightly fry, roast, bake or toast starchy food such as spuds and bread until “golden yellow”.
The Food Standards Agency warning comes amid fears overcooking raises levels of the cancer-causing chemical acrylamide.
Cooking for long periods above 120C turns spuds into golden brown roasties, improving taste and texture, but comes with risk. The same is true of root veggies.
Even keeping spuds in a fridge can lead to higher levels of the chemical being produced during cooking, so the advice is to store them in a cool, dark cupboard
At the launch of the FSA’s Go for Gold campaign, Dr Diane Benford, head of risk assessment, said: “Acrylamide causes cancer in rats and mice in the lab. It’s probable it could also cause it in people.”
The World Health Organisation has also warned of the danger of eating too many fried products because of it.
Steve Wearne, the FSA’s director of policy, added: “The majority of people are not aware that acrylamide exists, or that they might be able to reduce their personal intake. We want consumers to know how to make small changes that may reduce acrylamide consumption while still eating plenty of starchy carbohydrate and veg.”
Denise Lewis shows support for the FSA warning
The watchdog is also calling on families to follow pack instructions to the letter to ensure they are not overcooking food.
A varied diet with five portions of fresh fruit and veg a day is also recommended.
Former Olympic gold medallist Denise Lewis said: “It’s great the FSA is helping people to understand the changes we can make to reduce acrylamide in food we eat regularly at home”.