On 24rd February FRUCOM participated in a stakeholder forum on acrylamide.
According to the Commission, the issues for discussion are:
·The establishment of new possible benchmark and maximum levels for foodstuffs
This stakeholder forum included participants from the European Commission, the Member States, industry and other members of the food supply chain.
Food safety is number one priority and a shared responsibility with policy makers and other partners in the food supply chain. The opinions of the participants were quite divided and no common agreement could have been reached.
Some participants agree that benchmark levels could be refined. However, some agreed that there is no justification to set new Maximum Levels, since they are not suitable for acrylamide due to its uniqueness (acrylamide levels are affected by climate and environmental conditions).
For some food groups the current mitigation measures have shown to be effective. If Maximum Levels would be set it could create disproportionate impact for end users such as food service and restaurants. However, some foodstuffs do not have mitigation measures available i.e. coffee.
However, some participants would agree on setting up tighter Maximum Levels to ensure higher food safety for the consumer.
Most of the participants agree that it is reasonable to establish stricter measures for products produced especially for babies and infants.
The P95 value has increased during past years. This raises questions and needs to be looked in detail.
All in all, all parties make every effort to reduce the amount of acrylamide in their products. However, the amount of acrylamide is difficult to measure and it needs more research. Some participants even stated that for the same sample they observed different amounts of acrylamide from different laboratories using the same method.
The Commission is going to assess all the comments and is currently waiting for the EFSA opinion. The Member States will discuss about the EFSA opinion mid-March. However, it is to be expected that multiple meetings will be needed to come to a conclusion. The Commission welcomes all input about acrylamide. There will be a next stakeholder forum/feedback session on acrylamide later this year.