UK scientists give cancer
risk warning on overdone chips, toast
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[January 23, 2017]
By Kate Kelland
LONDON (Reuters) - Potatoes and bread
cooked at high temperatures for a long time could increase the risk of
cancer in people who eat them regularly, British government scientists
said on Monday.
The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) said a substance called
acrylamide, produced when starchy foods are roasted, fried or
grilled for too long at high temperatures, has been found in animal
studies to increase the risk of cancer.
In a statement that drew criticism from some independent experts,
the FSA said that, to reduce the danger, consumers should cook these
foods at lower temperatures and eat them when they are cooked to a
golden color rather than browned.
"The scientific consensus is that acrylamide has the potential to
cause cancer in humans," it said.
"As a general rule of thumb, aim for a golden yellow color or
lighter when frying, baking, toasting or roasting starchy foods like
potatoes, root vegetables and bread."
But some experts said there were far more well-established and
significant foods and habits linked to cancer risk - such as
smoking, drinking and being overweight - and consumers should focus
on changing those above all else.
"Evidence from animal studies shows that acrylamide has the
potential to interact with the DNA in our cells, so could be linked
to cancer," the charity Cancer Research UK said in a response to the
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"However, evidence from human studies has shown that, for most
cancer types, there is no link between acrylamide and cancer risk."
The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on
Cancer, classifies acrylamide as a "probable human carcinogen",
putting it in the same risk category as using anabolic steroids,
eating red meat, drinking very hot drinks or working as a
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