1. Lineback, David R. PhD
  2. Jones, Julie Miller PhD


The presence of acrylamide in foods was first reported in April 2002. Because the chemical has been classified as "probably carcinogenic" to humans, and following confirmation of these initial findings, this immediately became a worldwide problem. Acrylamide occurs in many foods common to diets globally. It is formed during the heat preparation of carbohydrate-rich foods containing the reducing sugars glucose and fructose and the amino acid asparagine, which are common to the plant ingredients used in the preparation of many foods. It is not present naturally, nor is it added. It is formed in many common foods during the Maillard browning reaction, which produces their color, flavor, and aroma during the heating process. In the years since then, the extent of formation in foods, the mechanisms by which it is formed, the exposure in human populations, and many continuing investigations into methods for reducing its contents in foods have occurred. The central issue of concern is whether there is a potential adverse health implication for consumers from the amounts of acrylamide consumed in common diets. Data are still not sufficient to fully answer this, so there are no current recommendations regarding changes in dietary intake. Current dietary advice advocates following dietary guidelines to eat a variety of foods, prepared in a variety of ways, and to focus on reducing saturated fat and salt and eating adequate amounts of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. This review updates the current status of the issues of acrylamide in foods including the data available and the questions still existing