The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Nov. 14 issued a draft guidance document on acrylamide in foods and is soliciting comments on the document. Officials specified that the "Draft Guidance for Industry: Acrylamide in Foods" contains nonbinding recommendations and is being distributed solely for comment purposes.

FDA's notice of availability published in the Nov. 14 Federal Register provided the following useful background information:

"The draft guidance, when finalized, will represent our current thinking on acrylamide in foods. It does not create or confer any rights for or on any person and does not operate to bind FDA or the public. An alternative approach may be used if such approach satisfies the requirements of the applicable statutes and regulations.

"The draft guidance is intended to provide information that may help growers, manufacturers, and food service operators reduce acrylamide in certain foods. Acrylamide is a chemical that can form in some foods during certain types of high-temperature cooking, and is a concern because it can cause cancer in laboratory animals at high doses, and is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen. Reducing acrylamide in foods may mitigate potential human health risks from exposure to acrylamide. The draft guidance is intended to suggest a range of possible approaches to acrylamide reduction and not to identify specific recommended approaches.

"In particular, the draft guidance is intended to give information to manufacturers on selecting and handling raw materials, modifying processing practices, and choosing ingredients, so as to reduce acrylamide in potato-based foods (such as fries, sliced potato chips, and fabricated potato chips) and cereal-based foods (such as cookies, crackers, and breads). The draft guidance also discusses acrylamide reduction in coffee. The draft guidance also is intended to give information to manufacturers for placing preparation and cooking instructions on frozen French fry packages. Lastly, the draft guidance is intended to give information for foodservice operations on preparation of potato-based and cereal-based foods."

In its announcement, the FDA urged interested parties to submit either electronic or written comments by Jan. 14, 2014, "to ensure that the agency considers your comment on this draft guidance before it begins work on the final version of the guidance." Electronic comments may be submitted via; written comments should be submitted to:

Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305)
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061
Rockville, MD 20852.

All comments should be identified with the docket number FDA-2013-D-0715.

Those wishing to ask questions about the draft guidance may contact Lauren Posnick Robin at the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), 240-436-1700.

Click here to download the entire "Draft Guidance for Industry: Acrylamide in Foods" (PDF: 278KB).