The European Commission (EC) has adopted recommendations for member states to monitor acrylamide levels in food as a way to obtain a consistent reduction of the known carcinogen found in a number of food categories.

The recommendations, adopted June 2, 2010, urge member states to provide acrylamide monitoring information to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) by June 1 of each year starting in 2011.

The new recommendations call for member states to measure acrylamide levels based on sampling procedures developed in 2007 and suggest that sampling be carried out before products’ expiration date and “at market level,” which means in supermarkets, smaller shops, bakeries, “French fries outlets,” and restaurants “where there is good traceability,” or at production sites. The recommendations set the minimum number of samples that each member state should analyze across 10 categories: ready to-eat French fries; potato crisps; pre-cooked French fries and potato products for home cooking; soft bread; breakfast cereals; biscuits, crackers, crisp bread and similar products; coffee and coffee substitutes; baby foods, other than processed cereal based; processed cereal-based foods for infants and young children; and other products. See Official Journal of the European Union, June 2, 2010.