For those of us who love are food a little bit too overdone this health alert is for us. I love all my fried foods a little too brown I suppose . Even when it comes to food like rice especially jollof, I am notorious for scraping the burnt bits at the bottom.
Apparently it is quite risky! This is because Starchy foods, such as bread, yam, rice and potatoes, can produce high levels of the compound acrylamide if cooked at high temperatures — above 120 degrees Celsius, or 248 degrees Fahrenheit and for too long.
This compound is what makes these foods golden in color. If overly cooked, they become brown, or black, resulting in excess levels of acrylamide and previous studies in mice have linked acrylamide to cancer risk.
It’s enough of a concern that Britain’s Food Standards Agency has began urging people to minimize their exposure to acrylamide.
The British agency found the highest concentrations in snacks, potatoes — particularly fried potatoes — and cereals, such as breakfast cereals.Acrylamide also forms in coffee when the beans are roasted.
Other research also indicated potato chips and French fries have higher levels of acrylamide than other foods.
At the other end of the spectrum, little or no acrylamide forms in dairy, meat and fish, or foods that are steamed or boiled.
The FSA has some recommendations on avoiding acrylamide “As a general rule of thumb, aim for a golden yellow colour or lighter when frying, baking, toasting or roasting starchy foods like potatoes, root vegetables and bread,”
it also recommends not storing raw potatoes in the fridge, as this will increase overall acrylamide levels. Store them in a dark, cool place -- just not a freezing place.
At the same time, it acknowledges: “there is more to know about the true extent of the acrylamide risk.”