The levels of acrylamide that people consume are usually estimated using dietary survey data and laboratory-cooked samples.
These often fail to fully take account of consumer behavior and the new research has been designed to address this gap in knowledge.
Consumers often do not follow manufacturer’s instructions and this could lead to higher levels of acrylamide for some people, according to UK’s Food Standard Agency (FSA) Science Report by chief scientific advisor, professor Guy Poppy.
The findings show that domestic ovens are not entirely reliable when it comes to setting temperature.
Consumers were also found to have a low awareness of the risks of acrylamide.
The report is the second in a regular series of science updates from Poppy, which focuses on chemical risks in food.
The major topic discussed in the report is acrylamide, the chemical contaminant that forms in certain foods during cooking.
The FSA has been working with the food industry to reduce levels of acrylamide in processed foods and has long-standing advice to consumers on how to minimize the risks when cooking at home.
The report looks at how the chemical was first identified, what the risks are to consumers, and how the agency and industry are reacting to this risk.
“The background to the research that identified acrylamide in food provides an interesting example of how chance observations can be important in scientific discovery,” says professor Poppy.
“That initial finding has prompted much additional research into how and where acrylamide forms in food, expert assessment of the risks, and consideration of how best to protect the health of consumers.”
“Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of some of the microbiological risks associated with food.”
“I hope that this report helps to demonstrate that we are working with other government departments and our expert advisory committees to take a holistic approach to food safety that also addresses chemical risks,” he said.
“All of this work supports our aim to deliver food we can trust.”