Reaction to Potato Fears - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/29/02

Reaction to Potato Fears

If you're concerned about the Potato Study, you should know that study released last week is sparking a lot of debate among the medical community. The Stolkholm University study claimed that some popular potato products like french fries and potato chips may cause cancer.

Scientists found that starchy foods such as french fries and potato chips may contain high levels of Acrylamide, which is a chemical that has been proven to cause cancer in lab animals. They believe it may be the heat that changes the structure of those foods when fried.

Researchers say they found levels of Acrylamide in a bag of potato chips to be 500-times what is considered safe. The researchers went public with their theory before the study was actually published by anyone. Some doctors are saying that's a good enough reason in itself to not be concerned about this study yet. "Its premature to suggest we stop eating french fries or potato chips based on cancer risks until we have more conclusive data that's available," said Karen Kim, M.D., a Gastroenterologist.

Doctor Kim says if you want to give up french fries and potato chips, that's okay, but do it to cut out fat and prevent heart disease not because of cancer.

Carl Winter, Toxicologist at the University of California at Davis, urges patience. "The most important thing is not the presence or absence of any type if ingredient, but how much is there. I would caution consumers to be a little patient here," he said. "Cancer's a very scary word, but one has to understand how these tests are done."

The U.S. Food and Drug administration officials did not immediately comment. The Swedish Agency said the findings have been submitted to unspecified international researchers and to the 15 nation European Union for considerations, but they felt the information was important enough to release now.

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