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Exonerated? Foods' acrylamide risks appear low

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10:23am, February 5, 2003

A new Swedish analysis downplays the likelihood that people will develop cancer from eating foods naturally tainted with acrylamide, a building block of many plastics and an animal carcinogen.

Acrylamide made headlines last year when researchers reported that the compound routinely forms during high-temperature cooking, such as frying and baking, especially of potatoes, breads, and other starchy foods (SN: 8/24/02, p. 120: Cooking Up a Carcinogen). Four separate chemistry studies linked the creation of acrylamide to common flavor-enhancing reactions between certain amino acids and sugars (SN: 10/5/02, p. 213: Hot Spuds: Golden path to acrylamide in food).

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