Bread Bits.

Adam L. Beberg beberg@mithral.com
Wed, 24 Apr 2002 09:15:16 -0700 (PDT)


This is rather scary, tho it does explain why fries taste SOOOOOOOOO good.
Tho if it were true i'd be dead many times over since all i eat is hot
yummy carbs :)

So... cook your meat (which also forms nasty carcinogens oddly enough), not
your grains and tubers? Was this study funded by the Sushi industry?

- Adam L. "Duncan" Beberg
  http://www.mithral.com/~beberg/
  beberg@mithral.com

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Cancer Risk Found in French Fries, Bread
Wed Apr 24,10:26 AM ET
By Peter Starck

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Basic foods eaten by millions around the world such as
bread, biscuits, potato chips and french fries contain alarmingly high
quantities of acrylamide, a substance believed to cause cancer, Swedish
scientists said on Wednesday.


The research carried out at Stockholm University in cooperation with experts
at Sweden's National Food Administration, a government food safety agency,
showed that heating of carbohydrate-rich foods, such as potatoes, rice or
cereals formed acrylamide, a much studied substance classified as a probable
human carcinogen.

The research was deemed so important that the scientists decided on the
unusual step of going public with their findings before the research had
been officially published in an academic journal.

"I have been in this field for 30 years and I have never seen anything like
this before," said Leif Busk, head of the food administration's research
department.

Findings unveiled at a news conference called by the food administration
showed that an ordinary bag of potato chips may contain up to 500 times more
of the substance than the top level allowed in drinking water by the World
Health Organization (news - web sites).

French fries sold at Swedish franchises of U.S. fast-food chains Burger King
Corp and McDonald's contained about 100 times the one microgram per liter
maximum permitted by the WHO for drinking water, the study showed.

One milligram, or 0.001 grams, contains 1,000 micrograms.

KNOWN HAZARD

The Environmental Protection Agency (news - web sites) classifies
acrylamide, a colorless, crystalline solid, as a medium hazard probable
human carcinogen.

According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, acrylamide
induces gene mutations and has been found in animal tests to cause benign
and malignant stomach tumors.

It is also known to cause damage to the central and peripheral nervous
system.

"The discovery (news - web sites) that acrylamide is formed during the
preparation of food, and at high levels, is new knowledge. It may now be
possible to explain some of the cases of cancer caused by food," Busk said.

"Fried, oven-baked and deep-fried potato and cereal products may contain
high levels of acrylamide," the administration said.

"Acrylamide is formed during the preparation of food and occurs in many
foodstuffs...Many of the analyzed foodstuffs are consumed in large
quantities, e.g. potato crisps, french fries, fried potatoes, biscuits and
bread."

Among products analyzed in the study were potato chips made by Finnish
company CHIPS ABP, whose shares fell 14.5 percent to six-month lows, as well
as breakfast cereals made by U.S. Kellogg, Quaker Oats Co, part of PepsiCo
Inc, and Swiss Nestle, and Old El Paso brand tortilla chips.

"For us, these are completely new findings which have never before been
known to the world's foodstuffs industry," CHIPS ABP said in a statement to
the Helsinki stock exchange.

Stefan Eriksson, marketing manager Burger King's subsidiary in Sweden, told
Reuters by telephone: "We have received the information and we are
evaluating what it will mean."

Spokesmen for the other companies mentioned in the research were not
immediately available for comment.

NO PRODUCTS WITHDRAWN

Margareta Tornqvist, an associate professor at Stockholm University's
department of environmental chemistry, said the consumption of a single
potato crisp could take acrylamide intake up to the WHO maximum for drinking
water.

Busk said, however, that the product analysis based on more than 100 random
samples was not extensive enough for the administration to recommend the
withdrawal of any products from supermarket shelves.

"Frying at high temperatures or for a long time should be avoided," Busk
said, adding: "Our advice to eat less fat-rich products such as french fries
and crisps, remains valid."

He said the findings applied worldwide, not only to Sweden, as the food raw
materials used in the analyzes had showed no traces of acrylamide.

Swedish authorities had informed the European Commission (news - web sites)
and EU member countries, Busk said.

"It is the first time we have come across such a result. We will evaluate
this study and look at it but it is important to say that Sweden has not
withdrawn any products from the market," said European Commission
spokeswoman Beate Gminder.

"Therefore we'll have to see what the scientific evaluation by our side and
by scientists in the member states will bring about," she said.

Liliane Abramsson-Zetterberg, a toxicologist at the Swedish food
administration, said: "The cancer risk from acrylamide is much higher than
(the levels) we accept for known carcinogens."

But smoking, which is known to cause cancer, remained a bigger risk, she
said.