Proposition 65/Acryalamide

By Loretta Macktal, Executive Assistant to the Vice President, Government Relations

Capitol Update, Dec. 19, 2003 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has been holding public workshops this past year in search of clear guidance to facilitate Proposition 65 labeling compliance concerning acrylamide in foods.

Acrylamide was found in 2002 in foods. It's a concern because it is a potential carcinogen and genotoxin, based on high-dose animal studies, and a known human neurotoxin. Acrylamide is formed during many traditional high temperature cooking processes (grilled, roasted, baked or fried) of a wide range of carbohydrate-rich foods (snack chips, potatoes, asparagus, cereals, etc.) whether cooked at home or in a processing plant. Many of these foods are staples of a normal healthy diet.

There currently is an exemption from Proposition 65 for chemicals which naturally occur in foods, but not for chemicals which are formed as a result of cooking those same foods.

CMTA's major concerns are that:

* A review be conducted of the 0.2 micrograms/day No Significant Risk Level (NSRL) of acrylamide as published in regulation;
* Findings should be based on sound science;
* There be prevention of a potential flood of pointless lawsuits (food manufacturers, grocers, restaurants, etc.) which could undermine the intent of the law; and
* There be an exemption from Proposition 65 requirements rather than a warning which would unduly alarm the public and further dilute the effectiveness of current warnings.

At the present time, OEHHA is waiting for further guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
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