Fast Food/Quick Service Restaurants, Health/Nutrition/Food Safety, Trends

UK: Fast food chains introduce new controls on storage and cooking of potatoes after acrylamide warning

McDonald's have announced they will change the way their fries are prepared Fast food companies including McDonald’s are taking steps to reduce levels of a cancer-risk chemical in their fries. All the major chains, including KFC and Burger King, have been told by the Food Standards Agency of the dangers of acrylamide. The agency has this week issued warnings about levels of the chemical in fried and toasted food, as well as crisps, biscuits and baby food. Acrylamide forms on starchy food such as potatoes and bread when they are roasted, fried, baked or toasted at high temperatures. Skinny fries are likely to have more acrylamide than chunky chips because they have a greater surface area. McDonald’s has responded by introducing controls on the storage and cooking of the potatoes and fries it sells. At the same time, the British Hospitality Association has issued guidelines to restaurants, pubs and hotels on how to curtail levels of acrylamide. Bosses at McDonald’s in the UK have reduced acrylamide to low levels by using varieties of potato that have less starch and so are less likely to generate the chemical. They are making sure they are not stored in cold conditions and they are capping the temperature used to cook fries. More

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