The Food Standards Australia New Zealand conducted 24th Australian Total Diet Study and in its first phase found that though the level of three food chemicals - acrylamide, aluminium and perchlorates - were within safe limits, level of acrylamide needed to be checked.
The study included 94 commonly consumed foods and drinks. "The acrylamide is formed in natural chemical reactions between food components that also give us tasty browning and crunchy texture," says Professor Ian Rae, an honorary professorial fellow at the University of Melbourne.
AdvertisementAccording to the World Health Organisation, the chemical causes cancer in animals, but in humans the exposure "threshold" is not clear. The scientists said that acrylamide was mainly found in cereals and grain-based foods, followed by snacks, condiments, fried potato products and meat.
Another surprise was the finding that high levels of the chemical were found in fried beef mince, fresh and fried onions, while pre-packaged olives, chocolate-flavoured energy drinks, grilled asparagus, baked beans and prune juice also found a trace.
And the good news was that pizza and coffee did not have detectable levels of the chemical.
Chief Executive Officer of FSANZ Steve McCutcheon said, "Most foods had some levels of aluminium, with the highest levels found in cakes, pikelets and pancakes."