New Measures Announced For Control Of Acrylamide In Food

On Wednesday last week it was announced by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) that, from April 2018 food businesses in the UK will be required to put in place practical steps to manage acrylamide within their food safety management systems under new EU legislation.

The new legislation will establish best practice, mitigation measures and benchmark levels for the reduction of the presence of acrylamide in food. Under the new Regulation, UK Food Business Operators (FBOs), including pubs serving food, will be required to put in place simple, practical steps to manage acrylamide formation as part of their existing food safety management systems. This will ensure that acrylamide levels are as low as reasonably achievable in their food.

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has been working closely and proactively with the Food Standards Agency, Food Standards Scotland, British Hospitality Association and other trade bodies to develop new nationwide, catering industry guidance on the control of acrylamide. The guidance, which the BBPA has worked to ensure is not overly burdensome to pub businesses, is being developed for FBOs to comply with incoming new, European legislation (EU) 2017/2158.

From April 2018 Food Business Operators will be expected to demonstrate:

  • Awareness of acrylamide as a potential food safety hazard and have a general understanding of how acrylamide is formed in the food they produce
  • How they have taken steps to mitigate acrylamide formation in the food they produce, adopting the relevant measures as part of their food safety management procedures
  • Where appropriate, that they have undertaken representative sampling and analysis to monitor the levels of acrylamide in their products as part of their assessment of the mitigation measures
  • Appropriate records of the mitigation measures undertaken, together with sampling plans and results of any testing

The extent of measures being introduced are intended to be proportionate to the nature and size of the business and vary based on whether they are independent or local, supplying directly to consumers or into local retail or those who are larger, centrally controlled and supplied chains. Whilst the legislation includes a full list of food products, for pubs the new legislation applies to those outlets who supply the following as part of their food offer:

  • French fries, other cut (deep fried) products and sliced potato crisps from fresh potatoes
  • Bread
  • Fine bakery wares: cookies, biscuits, rusks, cereal bars, scones, cornets, wafers, crumpets and gingerbread, as well as crackers, crisp breads and bread substitutes

Once published, use of the catering industry guidance is included under the mitigation measures relevant to food businesses within the legislation. The application of the relevant acrylamide mitigation measures is not intended to lead to any significant changes in the quality and properties of foods.

Also included within the Regulation are benchmark levels (BMLs) intended to be used as generic performance indicators for the food categories. These are not maximum limits and are not intended to be used for enforcement purposes. BMLs are to be used by FBOs to gauge the success of the mitigation measures.

The BBPA is at the forefront of representation of food safety and compliance for the British beer and pub industries.

BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds comments:

“The BBPA is pleased to have been able to work closely with the FSA, and other bodies including the BHA to develop this new catering industry guidance and ensure that the measures are not onerous for small businesses in particular, for pubs. This is a clear example of how co-operation between agencies and trade bodies can bring about effective measures to comply with regulation”