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Avoid the Burnt Food Intake

Acrylamide is used worldwide to synthesize polyacrylamide. Polyacrylamide is used in various applications. Polyacrylamide is used to flocculate or coagulate solids in a liquid, such as in the wastewater treatment industry. Polyacrylamide is also used by the plastic, cosmetics, paper and textiles industries. However, do you know that acrylamide is also present in starchy foods when cooked with high temperatures?

Acrylamide is likely to have long been present in food. However, this issue arose after a group of researchers in Sweden in 2002 reported the presence of acrylamide in various baked and fried foods.  Previously, sources of acrylamide exposure in foods and beverages were known to be low, i.e., through migration from food packaging materials and through water treatment.

Acrylamide is produced when a protein in food called asparagine reacts with natural sugars in food. The reaction occurs when the food is cooked using high temperatures. The formation of acrylamide depends on the nature of food and cooking methods. Typically, cooking methods, such as frying, baking, and grilling, involving temperatures above 120 ° C will result in acrylamide. Boiling and steaming methods will not produce acrylamide in food. This process toxicant is formed in high quantities in plant-based foods. The risk of acrylamide formation in dairy products, meat, chicken and fish is lower.

Therefore, the fried foods should be removed immediately when it turned into golden yellow. For toasted bread, it's appropriate when the colour of bread turned to light brown. The portion of charred toast and dark brown colour should be avoided altogether because they contain higher levels acrylamide.  The darker the colour of the cooked food, the more acrylamide is present. The entire article can be read in Dewan Masyarakat, August 2015.

This article was written by Dr. Maimunah Sanny. She is an Associate Professor at the Department of Food Science, Faculty of Food Science and Technology, Universiti Putra Malaysia. She is also a Research Associate at the Laboratory of Food Safety and Food Integrity, Institute of Tropical Agriculture and Food Security, Universiti Putra Malaysia. She can be contacted via this email address: s_maimunah@upm.edu.my 

Date of Input: 20/12/2018 | Updated: 26/02/2019 | noordiana

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