back to article Chips can kill: Official

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has grimly concluded that those tucking into fried potato products run an increased risk of damaged DNA and developing cancer. The culprit is the chemical acrylamide (AA), which "naturally forms in starchy food products during every-day high-temperature cooking (frying, baking, …

  1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    Acrylamide toxicity is nothing new

    Acrylamide forms in _ANY_ frying or baking of any vegetables. Nothing new here.

    I used to work with AA in the lab 25 years ago and there were quite a few warnings on the material sheet even then.

    Question as usually is quantity and how much did they stuff the rats with. We eat various toxic chemicals every day and we are species are still alive because there is a variety of compensation and repair mechanisms. A lot of the toxicity studies feed experimental animals an excessive amount of the target chemical which overwhelms the existing defences. That as an experiment is bogus - you are testing under conditions which are vastly different from the normal methabolism so your results are way off (just like in those studies that were used to convince us to replace Saccharine with Aspartam a couple of decades ago).

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: Acrylamide toxicity is nothing new

        So, is it analogous to methanol, Analogous to toxicity in general.

        The notable exception are heavy metals (stuff that accumulates), some neurotoxic chemicals (stuff that destroys nerve cells which do not regenerate).

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Acrylamide toxicity is nothing new

          "Analogous to toxicity in general."

          And this includes radiation exposure.

          Empirical proof: Aircrew aren't dropping like flies and they're the population routinely exposed to the highest levels outside of laboratory/specialist environments.

          You have to be spectacularly unlucky to develop cancers in the long-term from exposure to radioactive materials or direct exposure to ionising radiation. ex-smokers being a case in point - all that polonium fizzing away in their lungs and it they're still far more likely to develop cancer from the chemical effects of breakdowns than the alpha particles (lead, bismuth and mercury - whilst the alpha particles usually just kill cells)

          (Disclosure: My employer ran a multi-year study on ionising/particle radiation exposure levels in aircraft. It turned out to be much higher than anyone had estimated)

          Anecdote: The old laboratories used by Rutherford at Oxford had a cluster of cancers which caused panic about residual radioactives. After years of trying to find what had been missed it was finally determined that the culprit was mercury compounds coming out of the woodwork - sourced by broken thermometers in the days predating the lab's used in radioactive research.

    2. Antonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Re: Acrylamide toxicity is nothing new

      @VRH

      Exactly. While that list of damage observed in rats was certainly impressive and alarming I'm confident that we (and the medical profession) might notice a dose of blindness and liver failure with our morning toast. So the implications are obviously being inferred ("extrapolated") from rats which must be either vastly more sensitive to AA than us or receiving significantly greater exposure. Wouldn't be "the media" if the facts weren't at least partially ignored for the sake of another good sensation.

      @80sC

      Not a great analogy. While the immediate toxicity of ethanol is transient, the metabolites are pretty nasty. The ethanal first stage metabolite isn't something you want scudding about and causes all sorts of damage, releasing cascades of other damaging nasties... not at all unlike AA. The genetic, neurological, etc damage resulting from both these agents is insidious and cumulative. But as VRH implied, *EVERYTHING* (absolutely, without a single exception, *EVERYTHING*) we consume is toxic AT SOME CONCENTRATION and invariably contains all manner of other compounds which are also themselves invariably toxic AT SOME CONCENTRATION. So THE POINT is: How much of these agents is necessary to cause significant (extraordinary - in it's most literal sense) damage? *ALL* this kind of dietary news shit is *ALL* *ALWAYS* a matter of thresholds. Scares like this which (deliberately?) miss THE POINT are utterly worthless and potentially damaging themselves. Let's all have a bread *SCARE* now shall we?

      Shame on you El Reg.

      Need a "FFS" icon --->

      1. Roq D. Kasba

        Concentration

        I believe even tap water is lethal if inhaled at high enough concentrations.

        1. DropBear Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Concentration

          "I believe even tap water is lethal if inhaled at high enough concentrations"

          Not only that, tap water is quite lethal even consumed the usual way. In sufficient quantity, that is. And no, I'm not kidding at all - people died.

          1. Graham Marsden
            Holmes

            The chief cause of death in laboratory rats...

            ... is laboratory scientists...!

            1. John H Woods

              Re: The chief cause of death in laboratory rats...

              When I was a scientist (a theoretician, my lab coat was reserved for teaching practicals and looked like I'd stepped out of a laundry detergent commercial), I was told that there were plans afoot to replace lab rats with lawyers, because:

              1) There's only a finite number of rats in the world

              2) Lab scientists can get attached to their rats

              3) There's some things a self-respecting rat just won't do

              1. Daniel von Asmuth Bronze badge
                Boffin

                Re: The chief cause of death in laboratory rats...

                Animal-friendly scientists should keep their rats on a low-chip diet with the result that the creatures will behave more scientifically.

              2. Duffy Moon

                Re: The chief cause of death in laboratory rats...

                If we replace "lawyers" with "politicians" (especially Tory ones), you have yourself a deal.

            2. Thorne

              Re: The chief cause of death in laboratory rats...

              Scientists are now switching from rats to lawyers because they won't form any emotional bonds to lawyers and there are some things that a rat won't do........

          2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: Concentration

            Not only that, tap water is quite lethal even consumed the usual way. In sufficient quantity, that is. And no, I'm not kidding at all - people died.

            Yup. Browsing various sources at the NIH and CDC website suggests hyponatremia mortality is most often seen in post-operative patients during hospital recovery, but there are a number of documented cases among athletes (e.g. marathon runners) and in the military.

            Deaths due to dehydration are still a lot more common than those due to overhydration (not surprisingly, since there are many causes of dehydration - illness, infirmity, and not having any water around), but hyponatremia is definitely a real thing.

    3. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Acrylamide toxicity is nothing new

      Acrylamide warnings seem to hit the mainstream press every five years or so, and they don't seem to have differed very much over the last few cycles.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Acrylamide toxicity is nothing new

      I remember the crap spread about carcinogenic nitrosyls forming due to a theoretical reaction in the stomach between nitrites and digestive hydrochloric acid, this was later proven to be bunkum by researchers.

      Also in the news, shock horror as oxygen is know to produce carcinogenic free radicals !

      Anyone get the impression these scare stories are often helpful in securing a research grant ?

      1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

        Re: Acrylamide toxicity is nothing new

        "shock horror as oxygen is known to produce carcinogenic free radicals !"

        Aye, oxygen is a nasty poison. Especially in a monoatomic form. Reacts with pretty much anything it comes in contact with, often forming even stronger poisons in the process.

        Yet so essential for sustaining life. That's one hell of a paradox.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Acrylamide toxicity is nothing new

          Yet so essential for sustaining life. That's one hell of a paradox.

          I suppose it is, in a poetic sense. But it's really not surprising. Life depends on a wide variety of chemical reactions to 1) store and release energy and 2) build and dismantle complex molecules (for purposes other storing and releasing energy, such as creating physical structures and managing information). That means it depends on having reactive elements available.

          As atmospheric oxygen concentrations increased, it was highly improbable that something wouldn't evolve to tolerate and make use of the stuff, because once some mutation permitted that, it gave the organism a significant advantage in that niche. A bigger bang for its buck, shall we say.

          And, yes, the gradual change from a reducing atmosphere to an oxygen-rich one was tough on the early microbes that had evolved to live in the former. But such, as they say, is life.

    5. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Acrylamide toxicity is nothing new

      Replying to my own post (yes I know - very bad sport):

      WAAAAIT a minute. Acrylamide should be soluble in cooking oil. Vegetable oil is reasonably polar and during cooking will also have non-zero water content. So while acrylamide dissolves better in polar solvents (water, methanol, etc) it should still dissolve in cooking oil as well. So, as the chemical reaction in question occurs on the _SURFACE_ of the exposed starchy material it should extract significant quantities of acrylamide and retain it for a while.

      This also means that there is a hell of a difference between cooking something in a frying pan and dumping the oil, cooking in a frier (same oil over multiple cookings) and an industrial install which pretends to extract stuff from the oil and keeps on using it until it is gutter level.

      What exactly did these guys test (I bet they tested a standard Fast Food frier used to Gutter Oil level). That has many things in it which are way worse than acrylamide anyway.

      1. Grikath

        Re: Acrylamide toxicity is nothing new

        I once attended an Environmentalist lecture where the speaker was ranting about the Dangers of polycyclic aromatics in the environment. He was rather... exreme in his views, and quite boring to boot.

        At the post-lecture chinwagging, he was still raging on a bit so we made him a nice cup of Earl Grey.

        I'm pretty sure that up to this day he still has not figured out why we were trying to control our grins so much.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Acrylamide toxicity is nothing new

        My lad worked in an internationally known fast food franchise for a while. They were taught that after a while the oil in the french fries vat would become carcinogenic and so they regularly tested it. At that point I was impressed, less so when he said that the franchisee would wait until the toxins very significantly exceeded the permitted concentration.

    6. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: Acrylamide toxicity is nothing new

      Presumably it was tested the same way that passive smoking was found to be harmful - in doses of 200,000 cigarettes being burned at once, in a 9'x9'x9' room.

  2. iLuddite

    and again...

    Cue - 1,000 new fear mongering fad diets.

    1. spaceyjase

      Re: and again...

      Aye, a diet eating fewer chips and crisps sounds like a terrible idea.

  3. msknight Silver badge

    I believe the bacon...

    ...issue is the one that convinces me that it is not a case of reaching my grave in the safest manner possible, but one of screeching in to the wooden jacket at a rate of knots, Martini glass in hand, screaming, "Wow! What a life!" ... See you at Wimpy....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I believe the bacon...

      +1

      I have no desire to live a tiresome and insipid life just so I can "live" to be 105 and die dribbling into my cornflakes (unsweetened, with skimmed milk, natch).

      1. Antonymous Coward

        Re: I believe the bacon...

        Cornflakes Credas? Didn't you RTFA? Doubt you'll make it to twelve.

        ;)

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Elmer Phud

          Re: I believe the bacon...

          Maybe it's 'cos the ones that mother gives you don't do anything at all.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I believe the bacon...

            Maybe it's 'cos the ones that mother gives you don't do anything at all.

            So much for logic and proportion!

          2. VeganVegan

            Re: I believe the bacon...

            Feed your head, feed your head!

        2. DropBear Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: I believe the bacon...

          "Why do you consider being fit and healthy, and all of the benefits that brings, to be tiresome and insipid?"

          I can only guess that would be due to the implied conspicuous lack of chips, bacon, chocolate, Martinis, and all that host of other stuff I can't think of right now that's categorically off-limits if you're trying to "live as healthy as possible". The extra five minutes a day (if at all) that my life might get longer following that regimen doesn't begin to balance out the 24 hours of foul mood caused by being barred from all that good stuff. So no deal, sorry. You can't take your life into the grave with you - I'd rather spend it on something at least I actually get to enjoy.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

            1. Mark 85 Silver badge

              Re: I believe the bacon...

              Life is full of good stuff, you know! Plus, medical science is rapidly progressing towards eternal life, and you might miss out by just a couple of years!!!

              I realize you used the troll icon, but why would anyone want eternal life? One has to be careful what they wish for. I say this because the Nanny State is increasing it's powers. Don't do this.. do this... think of <fill in blank>, we need to keep you safe so... On and on... pretty soon, one won't be able to take a crap without the toilet reporting analysis to some agency.

              1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                Re: I believe the bacon...

                "pretty soon, one won't be able to take a crap without the toilet reporting analysis to some agency".

                As opposed to reporting back to Google then

                1. PNGuinn
                  Stop

                  Re: I believe the bacon... @Terry 6

                  No.

                  The internet connected crapper will talk to the internet connected fridge to discuss your diet first, then get google to target you with "healthy" ads... as well as reporting to some agency.

                  The luddite in me would probably reprogram the porcelain with a large sledge hammer - and get myself into serious trouble with the health police.

                  I would have used the joke icon but there are too many controlling nanny state idiots out there who would think this sort of thing a good idea. Now THAT does scare me.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: I believe the bacon...

                "pretty soon, one won't be able to take a crap without the toilet reporting analysis to some agency."

                It is already happening with Smart Pipe!

                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJklHwoYgBQ

                For people that give a crap about their health. Become a down streamer now.

          2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

            Re: I believe the bacon...

            I'm not sure that going without all the supposedly unhealthy stuff really *does* make you live longer. It just *seems* longer ...

            1. Captain DaFt

              Re: I believe the bacon...

              "I'm not sure that going without all the supposedly unhealthy stuff really *does* make you live longer. It just *seems* longer ..."

              "I once gave up drinking martinis for a day, it was the longest two years of my life!" - Jackie Gleason

    2. BlartVersenwaldIII

      Re: I believe the bacon...

      Bravo and well said, and spoken also like someone who had a thoroughly good time enjoying warm weather, sunshine, barbecued bacon and a delectably crafted assortment of fine alcohol at the weekend.

      You know you're too used to martinis when you pick up and swill thirstily from a glass of water and you're halfway through it before you realise it's actually neat gin that someone couldn't fit in the cocktail shaker.

      "I never go jogging, it makes me spill my martini"

  4. Tromos

    More research is required...

    ...especially into the effects of the great British breakfast.

    Just let me get on with it, OK?

  5. Anonymous Coward
  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Eat healthily,

    Excercise, die anyway.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Elmer Phud

        Re: Eat healthily,

        Nah, 'quality' usually means 'bloody expensive'.

        Many prefer to get out of thier faces then a decent fry-up.

        I could live a 'clean' life but I'd be an even sadder bugger than now.

      2. Captain DaFt

        Re: Eat healthily,

        "But have a better quality of life before you die, I think that is the point."

        Ah yes, those extra five to ten years crapping all over my senile self in a nursing home, definitely something to practice self denial for!

    2. Captain DaFt

      Re: Eat healthily,

      Just consult this handy chart:

      http://drboli.com/2015/03/12/human-mortality-predictor/

      Or, if you're in a hurry, my abridged version:

      Are you alive?

      Yes: You’re going to die.

      No: You’re lying, and you’re still going to die.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about that 'High Fructose Corn Syrup' then?

    This stuff seems to be in everything on the Right Hand side of the Pond these days.

    The use of this shite is far more worrying IMHO esp with the ever increasing rates of Type 2 Diabetes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What about that 'High Fructose Corn Syrup' then?

      "esp with the ever increasing rates of Type 2 Diabetes."

      But that increase in T2 diabetes is largely driven by obesity, with the content of the diet a smaller contributor than the net calorie value of the diet. Having said that, I suspect that the additional sugars those disgusting mega-calorie drinks sold by fast food outlets are probably a significant contributor to the problem (like a large McDonalds shake at 488 kcal). The fast food outlets could move to a diet-by-default approach, but seem to lack any initiative. A bit like their customers, in that respect.

      1. RachelG

        Re: What about that 'High Fructose Corn Syrup' then?

        Actually I think there's been recent research showing it might be the artificial sweeteners contributing to T2 diabetes in obese people. After all (and speaking from experience) obese people *do* make continual efforts to lose weight, and one of those efforts is to use stuff with artificial sweeteners.

        Nothing about any *specific* low-calorie artificial sweetener; rather the general effect of consuming something which your body is initially fooled into thinking is sugar, triggering a release of insulin to process said sugar - which never arrives in the gut. And then we wonder why our blood-sugar regulation goes on the blink...

        If you want something sweet, probably best to have something with normal cane sugar in it, or honey or somesuch. Just not too often.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. RachelG

            Re: What about that 'High Fructose Corn Syrup' then?

            Adopting a preference for savory foods is a much better long term plan.

            Dunno; for a point of anecdata, I've never had much of a sweet tooth, and reckon I got fat on rice, potatoes, and bread. Starchy carbs basically.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

              1. Jim Mitchell
                Boffin

                Re: What about that 'High Fructose Corn Syrup' then?

                The problem with rice is that has been recently found to concentrate things like arsenic. Yum!

                http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2015/01/how-much-arsenic-is-in-your-rice/index.htm

            2. David Roberts
              Boffin

              Re: What about that 'High Fructose Corn Syrup' then?

              Agree with you on the starchy carbs.

              Carbs turn to glucose and there is a limit to the amount your body can store.

              Any more, and insulin is used to flush it out of your blood into your tissues where it is stored as fat.

              Keep abusing insulin production in this way then if you have a genetic tendency you can end up diabetic.

              Remember that 80% of obese people do NOT develop diabetes, but 80% of T2 diabetics are overweight or obese on diagnosis.

              Sugar is now being recognised as a risk.

              Other carbohydrates are just one small metabolic step from sugar.

              1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

                Re: What about that 'High Fructose Corn Syrup' then?

                "Other carbohydrates are just one small metabolic step from sugar."

                Yet it's a beneficial step. It takes a decent amount of calories to break them up, and there may be some useful by-products to be gained in the process.

              2. R Callan
                Boffin

                Re: What about that 'High Fructose Corn Syrup' then?

                Nearly true,but a few minor changes required.

                When blood glucose levels (produced by the ingestion of almost any carbohydrate) increase insulin is produced. The higher the level of glucose the more insulin production. The glucose is then stored as glycogen. As the (high) level of glucose is rapidily reduced by the insulin there is a tendency for the glucose level to drop too far. This could be corrected by the production glucogon which is the hormone which converts glycogen back into glucose. However, glucogon is produced more slowly than insulin and the high level of insulin wants to convert the just released glucose back into glycogen. The resulting glucose-glycogon-glucose-etc. fight is solved by the person feeling hungry which is simply corrected by eating. But there is now far too much glycogen for the shor term storage to handle so it now is converted to the long term storage medium, fat!

                But the insulin-glycogen fight with the resuling hyper/hypo glycaemia is continuing which demands more food so...........etc.

                Simple carbohydrates are possibly the most dangerous food compounds available if taken in more than tiny quantities because they are so easily digested and absorbed and then generate the hormonal imbalance described above. Obesity can be possibly controlled by only eating slowly absorbed foods which require a lot of energy to digest, absorb and be converted into a useful energy source.

              3. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. PNGuinn
            Trollface

            Re: What about that 'High Fructose Corn Syrup' then?

            @ 1980scoder.

            So back to the Acrylamide diet then.

      2. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

        Re: What about that 'High Fructose Corn Syrup' then?

        "The fast food outlets could move to a diet-by-default approach, but seem to lack any initiative."

        In the Nordics, they are usually content to replace fries with a salad, and fizzy drinks with a proper juice, for no extra charge. Have to ask, though, it's not default.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: What about that 'High Fructose Corn Syrup' then?

      It's got about the same proportion of fructose in it as table sugar.

  8. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Didn't we have that back when Bush went hot with the "surge" idea?

    I thought the conclusion was that quantities of AA were overall maybe, possibly not that important. Because the heart will go first...

  9. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Warning - I'm no scientist but ...

    if it's due to reducing sugars, surely the way forward vis to coat each chip in sugar before frying them?

    Makes sence to me since deep fried Mars bars have no ill effects :-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not sure if that was a pun as you didn't deploy the appropriate icon and warned of nonboffinary... so... please forgive the pedantry if misguided... but..

      They're chemically "reducing" sugars (reducing = susceptible to oxidation)

      Not physically "reducing" sugars (reducing = diminishing)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    Rubbish

    ...chips are amongst the safest foods.

    Don't believe me? Show me how many people have died of food poisoning from freshly cooked chips? I bet it NONE.

    Therefore it's safer and healthier than those sslad things. FACT

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Rubbish

      Yup, you've got to watch out for those sslads. Vicious little critters, turn your back and they'll have the lettuce out of your BLT before you know it.

      Invest in sslad repellent now!

      1. Elmer Phud

        Re: Rubbish

        Sslad --hmmm, sounds a bit Russian to me . . .

        Beetroot, radish, carrots, 'red' cabbage -- nasty commie plot

    2. stucs201

      Re: Rubbish

      Be fair, no-one every burned their house down washing lettuce.

      Surely when done properly(*) the biggest risk in chips is the cooking method, provided you're careful about that you'll be fine.

      * Properly means a proper pan, filled with proper fat (beef dripping).

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. PNGuinn
        Thumb Up

        Re: Rubbish @stucs

        +1 for beef dripping. (Lamb's very nice too. Bonus points if the drip was the result of roasting something with plenty of onions.)

        I've noticed that food fried in animal fat actually consumes very little fat - and hits the plate with a light coating of delicious flavour whereas veg oil fried stuff seems to absorb large quantities of the stuff, and comes with strange bitterish aftertastes.

    3. kraut

      Re: Rubbish

      True, but how many people have caused house fires by cutting up salads?

  11. Ru'

    I'm more scared about dihydrogenmonoxide myself; lots and lots of people die from this every year, and yet they still allow it in practically every single foodstuff/drink, sometimes in huge concentrations (up to 100% in some drinks apparently).

    1. Elmer Phud

      And lumps of it can disrupt shipping!

      1. sisk Silver badge

        Don't forget the nasty burns caused by it's gaseous form!

  12. Chris G Silver badge

    Killer chips

    Don't come any closer! I've got chips and I know how to use them!

    Everything is potentially dangerous: a friend of mine once spent six weeks on crutches due to excessive vitamins.

    A pallet full slipped and crushed his foot.

  13. Six_Degrees

    They can have my chips when they pry them from my greasy, dead fingers.

    Oh, wait...that's pretty much what they're saying, isn't it?

  14. Elmer Phud
    Trollface

    Interfering EU officials!

    I refuse to heed calls that will mean me giving up the Chip Butty.

    (here follows the basis of a standrd KipperRant)

    Bloody EUSSR telling us what we can and can't do . . . (repeat until energy death of universe)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      Re: Interfering EU officials!

      Worse than the bloody Nazi's they are.

      Yes! I Win.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a load of rubbish. I for one have never seen any animals in the que at my local chippy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      " I for one have never seen any animals in the que at my local chippy."

      Speak for yourself, mate. At my local chip shop the entire evolutionary chain is represented, although higher life forms are fairly scant.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Poke your head through the door late one friday evening.

  16. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    I remember all this acrylamide crap in the 80s when we were not supposed to eat fried bacon or toast or anything that looked remotely palatable apart from Delia Smith (did I say that out loud?)

    I'm still here, overweight, half dead, blind and bald but still quite capable of downing half a bottle of whiskey before a KFC breakfast bucket and still having time for a fag before going jogging ...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "not supposed to eat....anything that looked remotely palatable apart from Delia Smith (did I say that out loud?)"

      You did indeed, and very brave of you too.

      Her recipes are good and dependable, but Mrs Smith doesn't do it for me. Lorraine Pascale on the other hand.....

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Captain DaFt

      "I'm still here, overweight, half dead, blind and bald but still quite capable of downing half a bottle of whiskey before a KFC breakfast bucket and still having time for a fag before going jogging ..."

      Whoa, now that's just irresponsible! You can seriously damage yourself with too much jogging! Just ask Jim Fixx... wait, no, he died jogging, didn't he?

      (Silly bugger, trying to outrun the Grim Reaper.)

  17. Little Mouse
    Boffin

    Antioxidants?

    Perhaps first dunking the chips in some kind of tomato-derived product could help offset some of the damage?

    1. Pedigree-Pete
      Pint

      Re: Antioxidants?

      Certainly contributes to one of my 5-a-day.

      Icon = other 4

  18. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge
    Joke

    never mind acrylamide !

    We need warnings on toxicity of dihydrogen monoxide (in excessive amounts), this stuff is literally everywhere!

    Never mind, I need some water to calm down...

  19. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Dosage

    When I was a kid there was a sweetener, Sodium Cyclamate, that was banned.

    Apparently studies demonstrated that, possibly, if rats were given enough of the stuff , mixed with saccharine, to be equivalent of hundreds of cans of fizzy drink a day for a prolonged period, a small percentage developed a "cancer."*

    No one seems to have compared the result to a control with say, sugar or pure saccharine, or that mixture.

    But they banned it.

    I still remember the packaging with "Cyclamate Free" printed on.

    * On Wikipaedia, I just checked, they say it was 8/240 lab rats, 350 cans equivalence of the stuff per day but don't say for how long or whether the tumor (bladder) was actually cancerous.

    1. x 7

      Re: Dosage

      its not banned now. Part of harmonisation of regulations following us joining the EEC/EU

  20. x 7

    The simple fact is that ALL types of cooking except for boiling and steaming, produce acrylamide. If a cooking technique makes the food go brown (the Maillard reaction at work) then acrylamide is being produced.

    Now considering that burning meat over fire was almost certainly the first cooking technique discovered by primitive man, acrylamide hasn't caused that much of an effect so far.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nonsense

      How many of those original primitive men are alive now eh? Yes, well there you go, proves the point I would say.

      In fact at least half of _all the people_ who have ever eaten acrylasmdn acrylssf that stuff are dead now, so that shows you how dangerous it is.

      Signed

      A scientist short of a research grant.

    2. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      "burning meat over fire was almost certainly the first cooking technique discovered by primitive man, acrylamide hasn't caused that much of an effect so far."

      It increased their lifespans considerably. More a-somethings, but less b-somethings.

      1. x 7

        "It increased their lifespans considerably"

        Precisely. I was waiting for someone to make that connection.

        And of course there is the point that we prefer to eat cooked food because we've evolved to eat it - because its safer. Those who eat cooked food live longer, have more children and win out in the Darwinian stakes - with those habits being passed down the generations.

        You also have the added bonus that cooked meat is more digestible in the human gut and therefore more nutritious - more energy released per kilo eaten than the raw stuff.

  21. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Hurumph!

      Noooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not donuts too... say it isn't so..

  22. Alistair Silver badge
    Coat

    OMG Tasty foodz can killz you

    Valar Morgulis.

    (and women too)

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. squigbobble

        Re: OMG Tasty foodz can killz you

        Valar Dohaelis.

        My friend in naming his currently unborn daughter Arya... better than Khaleesi, at least, or Sansa*

        *http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SanDisk_Sansa

        1. x 7

          Re: OMG Tasty foodz can killz you

          "My friend in naming his currently unborn daughter Arya...."

          are he and his wife blonde germans?

          1. squigbobble

            Re: OMG Tasty foodz can killz you

            He has mousey hair but no. No oblique Nazi references, I'm afraid.

  23. squigbobble

    Anyone remember the last time?

    When some goof found that acrylamide was poisoning cattle and decided to ring all the church bells. Shortly after someone found that humans can tolerate a much higher concentration (I think it was orders of magnitude) of acrylamides in our food, probably because we've been cooking it for so long.

  24. Tom 7 Silver badge

    No problem

    I'll have my chips with chicken or pies or chilli or lasagne. I leave that Maillard reaction for my pancakes and plum sauce.

    Sorted!

    1. x 7

      Re: No problem

      Sorry Tom, doesn't work that way

      Roasted chicken (or grilled / griddled...) the brown crispy bits are Maillard products

      Pies......the browning on the pastry is due to the Maillard reaction. So is the browning of the meat inside the pie

      Chilli - if you fry or grill the mince before adding it to the chilli you have a Maillard reaction. Just as you do if you fry the onions or other veg

      Lasagne - ditto, with the addition of the browning on the cheese topping is also due to the Maillard reaction.

      As I said before, if you cook food and it goes brown, then the Maillard reaction is at work. And hence you get acrylamide

  25. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    Hungry ...

    .... now. Off to chippy - bbs.

  26. 100113.1537

    Non-problem

    The Abstract to the report says this:

    "The Panel concluded that the current levels of dietary exposure to AA are not of concern with respect to non-neoplastic effects. However, although the epidemiological associations have not demonstrated AA to be a human carcinogen, the margins of exposure (MOEs) indicate a concern for neoplastic effects based on animal evidence."

    The levels given the Abstract for the BMDL10 (the dose where there is a 10% chance of any measurable effect) in mice were about 500 fold higher than the exposures listed as being experienced by people. Basically, if you eat about 100 times the amount of crisps or coffee that people usually do, you might be getting near the levels where there is some effect seen in rats. You also have to eat this much per day for a certain period of time - mice/rat studies can be as short as 14 days, but are commonly 28 days and above for chronic exposure studies.

    It really doesn't take a lot of reading to find the real story, so can we tone down the "chips can kill" screaming?

    1. Alistair Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Non-problem

      " Basically, if you eat about 100 times the amount of crisps or coffee that people usually do,"

      Its a damn good thing I *drink* my 35 cups of coffee every day.

      1. War President
        Meh

        Re: Non-problem

        " Basically, if you eat about 100 times the amount of crisps or coffee that people usually do,"

        Uh oh, never should have assimilated: "100 times the amount," is the usual amount around here (US).

  27. David Roberts
    WTF?

    Coffee?

    Nobody so far has explained how coffee is a high carbohydrate baked or fried item.

    See icon --->

    1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      Re: Coffee?

      Coffee beans are naturally rich of oils and carbohydrates, and they are heavily roasted before use.

  28. sisk Silver badge

    LIFE causes cancer

    If you start avoiding everything you could that causes cancer you're going to have a very dull, bland life. Heck, even AGING causes increased cancer risk. You can spend your life worrying about cancer and avoiding everything that increases your risk or you can just get on living and deal with the blows life sends you as they come. Personally I'll take the latter.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  29. Greg J Preece

    I look forward to having this study misquoted back at me on Facebook by alternate/weird diet nutters.

    1. sisk Silver badge

      Oy, don't get me started on the scientific misquotes I've been seeing on FB lately. I swear someone's glancing at headlines and making "This week in science" infograms without even understanding what they're writing.

  30. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    EFSA: Nil

    CFBD*: Ten Billion

    * - Chips Fried In Beef Dripping

    1. x 7

      Re: Bah!

      Interestingly, my local fish wholesaler reckons that in his distribution area - roughly a 40 mile radius - theres only one chip shop still using beef fat. As far as he's aware all the rest are using veg oil of some kind. Not sure of the exact number of shops, but you're looking at maybe 100-150

  31. TechicallyConfused

    Missing the point of this new warning

    People, people, people

    You are all missing the real point of this new warning. It is a slow research day for them and they need to secure their next round of funding. No one is going to pay cash money to them if they just say "We've been feeding rats a bunch of chips and the fat little ba**ards keep dying, we think it might possibly be this, or maybe it's because there legs don't touch the floor anymore."

    Don't eat eggs, do eat eggs, butter kills you, butter is good for you, no salt, eat salt, the world is flat, the world is round.

    The one and only sure thing about science (and apparently food science more than anything) is that we as a species know very little about it because we appear to change our minds on an annual basis as to what is good, what is bad, what works and what doesn't.

    BUT, these people need to feed their families and at the end of the day what they are doing, in their own way is no different to a car salesman flogging someone a car they don't need and can't afford. You just have to take everything they say with a pinch of salt.... umm, LOW Salt, no Salt. Oh hell I don't know.

    J

  32. James 36

    annoying

    this language in these articles always annoys me

    "Glycidamide is one of the main metabolites resulting from this process and the most likely cause of the gene mutations and tumours seen in animal studies"

    How likely is most likely ?

    please quantify the actual risk of injesting acrylamide so we can make an informed choice rather than just the usual you are all going to die fat and lonely unless you stop now

  33. cray74

    There's a fix!

    But no one wants to use it. The Simplot "Innate" genetically modified potato lowered the content of acrylamide-forming compounds. McDonalds, a major customer of the Simplot company, refused to buy Innates. Because, y'know, GMO.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019