Many biscuits, crisps and wafers being sold in EU countries contain higher doses of a cancer-causing chemical, the Consumers Association has warned in a statement calling on Brussels to introduce mandatory standards for arylamide.

Acrylamide is found in starchy foods which are subjected to temperatures of 120 degrees Celsius or higher. This means it can be found in products such as crisps, biscuits, toasted bread, chips and even coffee. Lab tests have indicated that it increases cancer risk in animals, giving scientists cause to believe it does likewise when consumed by humans.

Following heated debate about acrylamide, in 2016 the EU introduced benchmark levels of the chemical which food producers had to remain below. 

However, these levels are ambiguous and not obligatory - and  tests suggest a number of producers are ignoring them.

One-third of biscuits sampled contained acrylamide levels beyond those recommended, for instance, with 13 per cent of biscuits and children’s wafers also in excess. Vegetable oil crisps were found to contain acrylamide levels twice those of standard ones.  

The European Consumer Association (BEUC) is now calling on the European Commission to make guidelines obligatory and more stringent. Malta’s Consumer Association has joined those calls and urged Maltese authorities to test local products for the chemical.

“We also urge Maltese MEPs to use their pressure to ensure consumers are better protected,” it said in a statement.


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