As ratings go through the roof for TV shows like ‘How it’s made’ and ‘Food Unwrapped’, customers have started to ask the pertinent question: ’What is in my food?’ Their much-loved fries are no exception, as customers ponder just how healthy they actually are. And that’s why substances like acrylamide can be a real concern for restaurant owners. So here we share some timely, ready-made solutions to tackle this potential health risk.
Acrylamide is a substance that develops as a result of heating products with high starch levels above 120 degrees Celsius. Tests have shown that in large quantities this substance is harmful for animals, and also for us humans. Products that contain acrylamide include fried potatoes and crisps, coffee, cereals, toasted bread, biscuits and crackers.
"One kilo of fries should never contain more than 500 micrograms of acrylamide."
Since acrylamide was discovered in food back in 2002, large potato processing companies took measures to limit acrylamide levels in their products, sticking to the permitted European standard. But what is the standard and to which products does it apply?
On 19 July 2017, the European Committee set the standard for fries and products made from potato powder, and also for bread, coffee, cookies and baby food. According to the regulations, one kilo of fries should never contain more than 500 micrograms of acrylamide.
Are the fries you use produced in accordance with regulations?
Yes! Potato processing companies, like Lamb Weston, have already adapted their processes and products to the new regulations. However, that doesn’t rule out the chance of ending up with too much acrylamide in your fries. Why? Well, if you don’t fry them in the proper way, you might still end up with levels of acrylamide that are above the standards set by Brussels.
But don’t worry; if this happens in your kitchen once or twice, it’s not a problem. However, it could become an issue when you serve people large quantities of fries with high acrylamide levels. Quite simply, it’s unhealthy. And that’s why we want to help you right away!
5 ready-to-use tips
Easy ways to avoid acrylamide-based health risks in your restaurant:
- Always follow the instructions on the packaging
- Deep-fry products at a maximum of 175 degrees Celsius
- Aim for a golden yellow colour when you fry products, never go for a brown or dark colour
- Fry smaller portions for a shorter time
- Don’t put oven fries in a deep fryer – they contain more sugar and produce more acrylamide
That’s it! Follow our simple tips and acrylamide levels will never run into the danger zone. That leaves you free to do what you do best – create the yummiest, taste-bud tantalising food for your guests to enjoy!
Are you always on the look-out for ways to keep your customers happy, healthy and coming back for more? Follow us and we’ll tell you all the secrets!
Jolanda Soons, Sustainability Program Leader