Burnt toast, roasted potatoes can cause cancer: FSA

Burnt toast, roasted potatoes can cause cancer: FSA

The U.K. Food Standards Agency (FSA) has launched a campaign to warn people about increased risk of cancer linked to eating burnt toast, over-roasted potatoes or other starchy foods cooked at high temperatures.

The campaign, launched on Monday, is based on longstanding evidence from various animal studies conducted in the past. Though it is yet to be proved in human studies, many health experts have warned that overcooked starchy foods, such as over-roasted potatoes, can increase risk of cancer due to high levels of a compound called acrylamide.

The acrylamide compound makes foods like bread and potatoes turn golden in color when the foods is baked, fried toasted or roasted. Formed from simple sugars like glucose, acrylamide reacts with an amino acid called asparagine, when starchy foods are cooked at temperatures higher than 120 degrees Celsius. It may be noted here that amino acid asparagine is found naturally in such starchy foods.

If you cook a starchy cooked for too long at high temperatures, these foods simply turn from golden to brown and finally black in color. In the process, they produce higher-than-accepted levels of acrylamide, which increases the risk of cancer.

Steve Wearne, the director of policy at the FSA, said in a statement, “Our research indicates that the majority of people are not aware that acrylamide exists, or that they might be able to reduce their personal intake.”

The Food Standards Agency’s newly launched “Go for Gold” campaign urges people to cook their foods only until gold, and not to let food to turn darker in color. The main aim of the campaign is to raise awareness among the public.

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