Eating overdone toast can lead to increased risk of cancer, food safety watchdog claims
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) in the UK launched its ‘Go for Gold’ campaign on Monday.
A food safety watchdog in the United Kingdom has warned that cooking starchy foods such as bread and potatoes for long periods at high temperatures can lead to an increased risk of cancer in humans.
The ‘Go for Gold’ campaign is aimed at helping people understand how to minimise exposure to a possible carcinogen called acrylamide when cooking at home.
Acrylamide is a chemical created when many foods, particularly starchy foods like potatoes and bread, are cooked for long periods at high temperatures, such as when baking, frying, grilling, toasting and roasting.
The scientific consensus, according to the FSA, is that acrylamide has the potential to cause cancer in humans.
Four guidelines have been issued to consumers as part of the campaign: Go for Gold, check the pack, eat a varied and balanced diet and don’t keep raw potatoes in the fridge.
While the latter three are fairly self-explanatory and can be explored in more detail here, ‘Go for Gold’ encourages consumers to “aim for a golden yellow colour or lighter when frying, baking, toasting or roasting starchy foods like potatoes, root vegetables and bread”.
Commenting on the campaign, Steve Wearne, Director of Policy at the Food Standards Agency, said: “Our research indicates that the majority of people are not aware that acrylamide exists, or that they might be able to reduce their personal intake.
"We want our 'Go for Gold' campaign to highlight the issue so that consumers know how to make the small changes that may reduce their acrylamide consumption whilst still eating plenty of starchy carbohydrates and vegetables as recommended in government healthy eating advice.
“Although there is more to know about the true extent of the acrylamide risk, there is an important job for Government, industry and others to do to help reduce acrylamide intake. This campaign is part of the FSA's wider work to reduce the level of acrylamide that people consume.
“The FSA is continuing to work closely with the food industry to reduce acrylamide in the food you buy, including the development of practical tools like an industry toolkit and codes of practice which will be embedded throughout the food chain.”
For more information on the campaign, check out the FSA website.