On November 20, 2017, the European Commission adopted Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/2158 establishing mitigation measures and benchmark levels for the reduction of the presence of acrylamide in food ("Acrylamide Regulation"). As described in the Acrylamide Regulation, acrylamide is a chemical substance formed by a reaction between asparagine and sugars. It typically occurs when certain carbohydrate-rich foods are cooked at high temperatures (over 120°C) in a process of frying, roasting, or baking. The Acrylamide Regulation is based on the European Food Safety Authority's ("EFSA") scientific opinion of 2015, in which the EFSA concluded that the presence of this contaminant in food can potentially have toxic effects, including genotoxicity and carcinogenicity, in human beings.
The new Acrylamide Regulation will apply on or by April 11, 2018. Once the new rules become applicable, food business operators will, inter alia, be required to adopt the acrylamide mitigation measures as part of their food safety management procedures. Guidelines providing clarification on the enforcement of the new Regulation are expected to become available in 2018.
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