In response to lobbying by major figures in the U.K. food industry, European food safety authorities have backed off a plan to limit the use of a common, potentially cancer-causing chemical. In documents leaked this week, it was revealed that the EU dropped legislation that would restrict the usage of acrylamide in food, despite evidence that the ingredient could be linked to cancer.
Acrylamide—a chemical found in high levels in a variety of starchy foods, including potato chips, breakfast cereals, baby foods, instant coffee, and more—has previously been deemed an "extremely hazardous substance" by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, The Guardian reports. Across the pond, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has also declared that the chemical "potentially increases the risk of developing cancer in consumers of all ages."
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Despite recommendations to limit exposure to the chemical, and the EFSA's assertions that "any level of exposure to a genotoxic substance could potentially damage DNA," lawmakers have pulled back from strict regulations of the possibly hazardous ingredient.