Crisps, biscuits and baby food show raised levels of chemical linked to cancer
London , Jan 24:Tests on best-selling crisps, biscuits and baby food showed raised levels of a chemical linked to cancer.
The health alert comes just 24 hours after an official watchdog warned of the risks of eating burnt toast and roast potatoes.
The latest products on the danger list include Kettle Chips, Burts crisps, Hovis, Fox’s biscuits, Kenco coffee, McVitie’s and products from Cow & Gate.
According to the Food Standards Agency, 25 products have raised levels of acrylamide.
Animal studies suggest the chemical can trigger DNA mutations and cancer.
The link to acrylamide was also behind the warning over fried, roasted and toasted foods such as potatoes and bread.
The agency cautioned that any risk to humans related to lifetime consumption and not occasional eating.
However a renowned statistician yesterday insisted the link to cancer in humans from acrylamide was extremely weak.
M&S said all the products highlighted in the research had since been shown to have low levels of the chemical.
Acrylamide has been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as ‘probably carcinogenic in humans’ and the World Health Organisation has concluded that exposure to the chemical in food ‘indicates a human health concern’.
Professor Spiegelhalter said: ‘Adults with the highest consumption of acrylamide could consume 160 times as much and still only be at a level that toxicologists think unlikely to cause increased tumours in mice.
‘People may just consider this yet another scare story from scientists, and lead them to dismiss truly important warnings about, say, the harms from obesity.
‘To be honest, I am not convinced it is appropriate to launch a public campaign on this basis.’
However Steve Wearne, the FSA’s policy director, said: ‘All age groups have more acrylamide in their diet than we would ideally want.
‘As a general rule of thumb when roasting or toasting, people should aim for a golden yellow colour, possibly a bit lighter, when cooking starchy foods like potatoes.’