Microwaving chips before you fry them can reduce acrylamide levels, according to researchers at the University of Mersin, Turkey.
Their study, published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, showed that microwaving potato chips prior to frying helped reduce levels of acrylamide - a potentially carcinogenic substance formed during frying, baking and roasting - by up to 60%.
“Microwaving French fries before cooking takes little time and in fact,microwave pre-cooked samples appeared to have a more acceptable colour [after frying], probably due to the more gentle heat treatment they experienced during frying,” said lead author Koray Palazoglu.
While food manufacturers had worked hard to reduce exposure to acrylamide from processed food, with more than 200 research projects launched in recent years to tackle the problem, there was no single solution, said the Food and Drink Federation.
However, “considerable progress has already been made by the industry in reducing acrylamide levels in, for example, potato crisps (by 30-40%), potato chips (by 15%), and crispbread (by 75%),” said a spokeswoman.
Acrylamide hit the headlines in 2002 when scientists at the Swedish Food Administration first reported high levels of acrylamide in processed foods cooked at high temperatures.
Acrylamide is believed to form as a result of a reaction between amino acids and sugars found in foods reaching temperatures above 100°C during cooking.