A new month, a new regulation. This month, its Regulation (EU) no 2017/2156, or the more commonly known Acrylamide.
I know you probably don’t know Acrylamide that well, but don’t worry, it seems not a lot of people do either.
In a survey within the city I’m located, not one business out of the 100’s I contacted knew anything about acrylamide or the regulation due to come into force.
Even more concerning is through contact to the local enforcement agencies, not one of them knew about this regulation either. One actually referred me to the FSA who then referred me to trading standards. Who then referred me back to my local enforcement agency.
So if no one knows anything about it, should I really be prepared?
The answer in short is yes. Remember that ‘Ignorance of the law is no defence’. And above all, following the regulation could save lives and provide healthier meals for the consumer overall
So what is Acrylamide?
Acrylamide is a white odourless substance that is formed by amino acids and sugars… obviously these are just words for most chef’s and workers.
It basically occurs naturally in starch rich foods (including coffee beans) and can become harmful when cooked over 120’C for a prolonged period of time.
The main culprit is potatoes, but it does extend to other root vegetables and baked good that also contain starch. To reduce the risk of acrylamide in foods businesses can follow the FSA guidance in relation to this new Regulation.
Store raw potatoes out the fridge, an ideal temperature would be 6’C. cooked potatoes are fine to be stored in the fridge.
Read the instructions on products that pose a risk. Things like hash browns, fries, chips supplied to your business will have had to provide effective cooking methods with their products so that it meets the new regulations.
Go For Gold is the most simple rule. no longer are the days of overcooked roasts or dark coloured chips.
In theory it shouldn’t pose too much change for businesses. It can be as simple as the recent allergen changes we had to do. All it takes it the right preparation.
I did have a client who asked me about cooking chips in their small business:
“I work in a small kitchen with fryers that start at 130’C. How can I blanch and produce chips for my customer base which follows this regulation?”
As I said, its preparation. Other than blanching in the fryer at 130-145’C, you could blanch your chips in a pan of water. Granted this may create more work for you, but its important to adapt first rather than risking it. If you have them, use your steamers to blanch the chips and if your fryer supports it, blanch at 100’C . If your still not sure, you could contact your local environmental agency food team for advice, or contact the FSA directly. Remember to find a solution rather than just identifying the problem itself.
This regulation came into forces on Wednesday 11th April 2018.