We've heard the french fry scare before, but this is the first time the Center for Science in the Public Interest has suggested a plan to do something about it. That consumer watchdog group has petitioned the goverment to limit levels of the chemical Acrylamide in foods like potato chips, bread, and cookies.
The CSPI claims the chemical, a by-product of cooking in high heat, causes thousands of cancer cases every year. So the CSPI is asking the government to set a limit on how much Acrylamide is acceptable in foods.
"CSPI's proposed strategy is the first specific regulatory strategy that anyone has suggested in the United States to lower Acrylamide levels in food and protect consumers. Implementing the strategy would likely prevent cancer in tens of thousands of Americans," says Michael Jacobson, Executive Director, CSPI.
Studies have shown a link between Acrylamide and cancer in animals, but the FDA says those animals were given extremely large doses of the chemical. An FDA spokesperson says the agency will review the petition, but that it has already been studying the issue and as yet, can find no evidence that the lower levels found in food are harmful to humans.
The consumer group asked the FDA to set interim acceptable levels of Acrylamide based on the median found for each category of certain foods. FDA tests have found Acrylamide levels vary widely among foods, and even from one bag of potato chips to another of the same brand.