The latest food scare involves a thing known as acrylamide, a chemical created when things are burnt to a crisp. The bad news for us is that food researchers have found stronger links between nice burnt crispy foods and cancer, with the FSA suggesting that blackened toast, overly roasted potatoes and darker homemade chips are worse for us than previously thought.
The scare comes with some sensible home cookery advice. The FSA says that roast potatoes and chips should be cooked only until they reach a "light golden colour," while toast, the staple diet of 85 per cent of the male population, should only be toasted until it reaches "the lightest colour acceptable" to minimise the acrylamide risk.
It's not a new thing; acrylamide has been on the cancer risk scale for years, and is such a worry that the FSA has a huge hub on the subject that warns chefs and toast enthusiasts of the dangers. Here it has some calming advice, saying that it's "not possible to draw any definitive conclusions about the cancer risks of acrylamide in food" due to the many variations of how we all cook.
However, FSA scientific adviser Guy Poppy has some new thinking on the matter, warning that: "The risk assessment indicates that at the levels we are exposed to from food, acrylamide could be increasing the risk of cancer. We do not advise people to stop eating particular foods but when making chips at home, they are cooked to a light golden colour."
The FSA's research suggests that the difference between light and dark roast potatoes is quite staggering, with blacker, crispier potatoes having up to 80 times as much acrylamide as the lighter versions. Christmas = ruined. May as well just have instant mash. [Good Food]