- The Center for Environmental Health plans to file a lawsuit in California's Superior Court after finding high levels of acrylamide in a Walgreens store brand animal crackers, according to Food Ingredients 1st. The boxes featured Disney “Jungle Book” characters.
- The CEH has sent California state officials, Walgreens and other companies notices of intent to take legal action over not warning consumers about the high levels of acrylamide in the products.
- The appearance of acrylamide in food has been a serious concern for 15 years, since scientists first discovered the cancer-causing chemical in many common products.
The National Cancer Institute describes acrylamide as a chemical used primarily as a building block in making substances used in the treatment of drinking water and wastewater, including sewage. These dangerous chemicals are also found in consumer products, including caulking, food packaging and adhesives.
The CEH has pledged to take legal action against Kellogg’s and other companies that produce cookies that were found to contain high levels of acrylamide. Under state law, legal action can be filed any time 60 days after notification has been given, CEH Media Director Charles Margulis told Food Dive by email.
While acrylamide has not become a household word, it’s one that consumers should become familiar with. Manufacturers should also become informed and do what they can to alleviate any problems. Acrylamide can be naturally present in uncooked, raw foods in very small amounts. For any real risk, it must be present in foods in greater amounts, which do not occur unless those foods have been cooked.
Increased concerns in 2016 led the Food and Drug Administration to issue recommendations to consumers for reducing their exposure to acrylamide-tainted foods. It also released an informative document giving food companies guidance on how to reduce the chemical in their products.
Europe has worked more on the acrylamide issue than the United States. Tests have found high acrylamide levels in many products, including baby biscuits and holiday gingerbread cookies. Addtionally, some chefs have changed their potato-cooking methods because acrylamide is more naturally prevalent in food like roast potatoes and burnt toast.