Kitchen suppliers claim they have seen little panic among operators following the implementation of new acrylamide guidelines earlier this year – either because they are already adhering to it or because they have innovative equipment in place.
Current regulation requires food businesses to identify potential sources of acrylamide and demonstrate that they have taken appropriate action to reduce the levels of it according to the principle of ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable).
There were fears that many catering businesses could fall foul of the guidelines, but suppliers claim the industry has taken it in its stride.
“In our experience, the introduction of the legislation surrounding acrylamide in cooking, particularly in regards to fried food, has had little impact on the industry,” said Michael Eyre, culinary director at industry supplier Jestic Foodservice Equipment, supplier of Henny Penny fryers.
“Many independent and multi-site operators had previous knowledge of the importance of oil management and with innovative technology readily available to implement best practice use, the guidelines simply reaffirmed existing awareness and, in most cases, compliance.”
As a natural by-product of the cooking process, particularly in starchy ingredients, acrylamide has always been present in food, and it is not possible to eliminate this.
However, by taking actions to identify and reduce the formation of the chemical substance, foodservice businesses can comply with the recent guidelines.
Shaune Hall, product development chef at Falcon Foodservice Equipment, said: “Potatoes and foods containing higher levels of carbohydrates are more at risk. It’s important to ensure that staff are properly trained, and that chefs are introducing more suitable cooking techniques, recipes and substitutes for carbohydrate heavy menus.”
It is known temperatures over 180°C increase the risk of acrylamide formation.
Steve Elliott, sales director for Valentine Equipment and Cuisinequip, suggests that fryer users should set the temperature of the fryer at the lowest level necessary for the particular product that is cooking.
“This will ensure that the outer layer is cooked at the same time as the middle of the food and avoids excess browning. The use of an oil tester machine to measure the level of TPMs is also advised. The oil is then discarded only at the correct time when the TPMs have reached the recommended levels. We find that many establishments are discarding their oil too soon and this could reduce their overall costs of oil.”