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Baby food may also contain acrylamide

03/2002, 09.12.2002

BfR calls for the especially careful manufacture of these products

Acrylamide may also be present in baby food. Studies by a Berlin laboratory confirm the corresponding findings of official food control. The data submitted to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment show that most of the meals examined and even self-prepared baby food contain very little acrylamide. However, there are exceptions: one of the children's wholemeal biscuit products examined was found to contain just under 400 microgram acrylamide per kilogram (µg/kg) biscuit. In one of the biscuit products examined for the preparation of broth, up to 160 µg/kg of the substance were detected. In the worst case this would mean that a toddler would take in as much acrylamide per kilogram bodyweight as a highly exposed adult.

The large number of products shows that it is possible for baby and infant formula to be produced with low levels of acrylamide. BfR calls for the levels of acrylamide to be reduced as far and as quickly as possible by means of good manufacturing practice. If information is available about products and their acrylamide contents, the Federal Institute recommends that parents opt for products with low levels.

Acrylamide is a substance which is used, amongst other things, for the production of plastics. Under certain circumstances, acrylamide may also be formed during the production and preparation of potato and cereal-containing foods from their natural ingredients. In animal experiments acrylamide has proved to be carcinogenic and mutagenic. It is not possible to reliably assess the actual cancer risk for human beings from the intake of acrylamide-containing foods. Nor are there any scientific reasons, at present, for doubting that there is also a carcinogenic risk for man.

The interim assessment of the Federal Institute shows that the risk for children is on the same level as for adults. If the data received reveals new aspects for risk assessment, BfR will inform the general public. Independently of this, the level of protection afforded to children should, in principle, be very high. For baby and infant food this means special quality requirements and for the manufacturers a special responsibility for their products.

Further information on acrylamide and on the assessment of the health risk can be found on our homepage (www.bfr.bund.de) in the section "Latest News".

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