Acrylamide Regulation (EU) 2017/2158 becomes effective

From 11/04/2018, Regulation (EU) 2017/2158 of 20/11/2017 applies. This regulation lays down minimisation measures and guide values for reducing the acrylamide content in food . The WESSLING team of experts supports food producers and retailers with its proven expertise in the implementation of these measures.

Acrylamide was found in potato crisps, chips, roast and baked potatoes, bread and bakery products. Acrylamide is suspected of being carcinogenic when ingested by humans. Because at present no safe consumption quantity can be deducted, the new regulation provides possible measurement, in order to reduce the acrylamide concentration in food as far as possible.

Article 1(2) of the Regulation lists the food products for which indicative values were set:

  • Potato chips, other cut (deep-fried) products and crisps of fresh potatoes
  • Potato crisps, snacks, crackers and other dough-based potato products
  • Bread
  • Breakfast cereals, excluding porridge
  • Fine baked goods such as cookies, biscuits, rusks, cereal bars, scones, ice cream wafers, waffles, crumpets and gingerbread, crackers, crispbread and bread substitutes. In this category, a cracker is a hard biscuit, a baked product based on cereal flour.
  • Coffee, roasted coffee and instant coffee (soluble coffee)
  • Coffee substitute
  • Processed cereal-based foods and baby foods for infants and young children

The Regulation applies to food companies producing and placing on the market the above-mentioned food products, and to food companies producing such products and acting as retailers and/or supplying only the local retail trade directly.

Minimisation measures of acrylamide contents in food products

With the effective date of Regulation (EU) 2017/2158, minimisation measures must be complied with by these food companies. The aim is to achieve the lowest acrylamide contents below the specified guideline values. These measures include, for example, the selection of suitable raw materials with the lowest acrylamide precursor content. Storage, formulation and process design are also partly prescribed. These measures are regulated in Annexes I and II of the Regulation.

The complete Regulation can be found here.

The food experts at WESSLING support food producers and food retailers in implementing the regulation.

Background information:

Acrylamide is a so-called process contaminant that can occur during the processing or preparation of food at high temperatures. This can happen in the industrial production of food as well as in gastronomy or cooking at home. When roasting, baking or deep-frying at temperatures above 120 degrees Celsius, carbohydrate-rich foods undergo a so-called Maillard reaction between certain amino acids, especially asparagine, and reducing sugars such as glucose and fructose. The heating process produces the typical tanning reaction with acrylamide as an undesirable process contaminant. However, this browning reaction or its products can be important for the sensory properties - such as smell or taste - of the respective food.