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Roasted Potatoes and Burnt Toast: Cancer Magnet?

The Food Standards Agency in the United Kingdom is now warning the public against eating over-roasted potatoes and burnt toast. These they say pose a threat to the development of cancer. Similarly, the agency also warns against eating starchy foods that were cooked in high temperatures. The warning is based on a 2002 study which was done on animals; this has not been proven in human studies yet. However, there may be a basis to the warnings.

Overcooked starchy foods are now considered potentially dangerous because of the compound acrylamide. In earlier mouse studies, this was observed to have increased the risk of cancer. Acrylamide forms when foods are cooked in high heat or above 120 degrees. This compound is responsible for the golden color in baked, toasted, roasted, or fried potatoes and bread. When cooked even further, these foods can go from golden to brown, and eventually to black. The longer that these are cooked in high temperatures, the more of the compound acrylamide are formed. As the levels of the compound increase, the risk of cancer also increases.

That is why the FSA is now calling the public to stop when the color turns golden. The agency is now aiming to increase awareness regarding this information on acrylamide.
While the research is no longer new news, the agency thinks that a lot of people still do not know about acrylamide. Director of policy in FSA, Steve Wearne hopes that with the campaign, consumers would make it a choice to make some changes in reducing their acrylamide consumption.

The campaign encouraged to aim only for golden brown when baking, frying, or toasting. It also encourages people to read the label and follow only the recommended cooking instructions. This also tells people to eat a balanced diet.

Experts are telling people to heed the advice despite the lack of human studies. They pointed out that this may never become available since it could become a challenge to expose people to acrylamide.

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