The Committee on Toxicity (COT) was asked to consider the toxicity of chemicals in the diets of children aged one to five years old, in support of a review by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition on government recommendations on complementary and young child feeding.
Both committees advise the Food Standards Agency.
A draft of the COT’s statement on potential risks from acrylamide in the diet of infants and young children has been released ahead of its meeting on September 1 2016.
The COT claimed that while there had been efforts made to reduce acrylamide in food over recent years, evidence did not sufficiently show there had been a decrease in dietary exposure.
Acrylamide is created when starchy foods are cooked at very high temperatures and is found most prevalently in potatoes, snacks and cereals.
In a discussion paper, COT reviewed research from the most recent study into acrylamides, the 2014 Total Diet Study (TDS).
The TDS selected foods from 24 UK towns based on food consumption data, preparation of the food consumed and pooling of related foods into 27 food groups.
However, COT came to no conclusion on the impact of acrylamides and will continue to review the evidence.
In 2014, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) warned that acrylamide posed a bigger cancer risk to consumers – particularly children – than previously thought.
European and national authorities already advise food manufacturers to reduce the amount of acrylamide in foods as much as possible and to develop dietary and food preparation advice for consumers.
An EFSA draft opinion confirmed previous animal-based studies on the effect of acrylamide in the diet.
Limited and inconsistent
However, the studies on the effects of acrylamide on humans have so far provided limited and inconsistent results, said the organisation.
There are currently no government dietary recommendations for infants and young children relating to acrylamide.
A Food and Drink Federation (FDF) spokesman said that while acrylamide cannot be completely eliminated from foods, due to it being naturally formed when some foods are cooked, its members had been working to reduce acrylamide formation.
“The food industry has been instrumental in creating an Acrylamide Toolbox which provides guidance on how to reduce acrylamide in specific foods,” said the spokesman.
“We will continue to work with regulators in the UK and Europe to ensure the best possible understanding of how this substance is formed in foods.
“FDF supports the current proposals for mandatory industry codes of practice, which we feel are the most proportionate and least disruptive regulatory option for large and small businesses alike.”