ACRYRED’s challenge is to establish a multi-disciplinary research and communication network on reducing acrylamide formation, involving the entire value chain from grains to consumer products.
Acrylamide in food is considered a potential health hazard. It may lead to increased risk of cancer. Acrylamide forms during industrial food processing and home cooking. For years, the cereals processing industry has been engaged in reducing acrylamide formation through production process optimisations and establishment of guidelines.
The 2017 EC Regulation on acrylamide sets benchmarks on acrylamide levels in food, which are considered to be either challenging or insufficient, depending on who is asked. However, if no drastic action is taken, future regulations may threaten the availability of cereals brands.
ACRYRED’s challenge is to establish a multi-disciplinary research and communication network on reducing acrylamide formation, involving the entire value chain from grains to consumer products. If asparagine levels can be reduced through better breeds and farming practices, downstream acrylamide formation in cereals-based products can be reduced significantly. The urgency to resolve the problem is compounded by the fact that there is no grain of guaranteed low asparagine concentration commercially available to meet requirements for different food categories. Further, the processing industry does not have a reliable tool to measure the level of free asparagine contained in raw material.
ACRYRED brings together plant breeders, the agricultural grain farming community, grain traders, European food processors, toxicologists, public regulators and consumer interest groups to establish non- GMO research requirements on asparagine formation in plants, as well as investigate new economic models that encompass the full supply chain. The Action will also elaborate new approaches to inform catering/hospitality and consumers about responsible cooking of cereal-based foods.
The purpose of the ACRYRED Action is to understand the potential for mitigating acrylamide formation in foods produced from grains by establishing a multi-disciplinary research and communication network which brings together plant breeders, the agricultural grain farming 3 community, global grain traders, European food processors, toxicologists, academic researchers from relevant disciplines, public regulators, and relevant consumer and health interest groups.
In setting up the network of proposers, attention has been paid to involve researchers with expertise in each of these areas, including experts who may not previously have realised the significance of their work for the acrylamide issue; for example experts in fungal pathogens and plant/pathogen interactions. This is one obvious area where the networking approach will increase the critical mass of experts working on the topic.