Acrylamide forms naturally in many plant-based, high-carbohydrate foods when they are heated. Although acrylamide was first discovered to be present in food by the Swedish National Food Authority in 2002, we now know that acrylamide in foods is not new. Acrylamide has been present in the human diet for as long as people have been baking, grilling, roasting, toasting or frying foods.
Acrylamide is present in many different foods regularly consumed around the world. For example, it is found in 40 percent of the calories consumed in the average American diet - in foods ranging literally from soup to nuts, and including baked and fried potatoes, cereals, coffee, crackers, olives, bread, asparagus, prune juice, dried fruit and many others. Acrylamide is produced by cooking foods, irrespective of whether the food is made at home, in a restaurant or in a commercial setting. This widespread presence makes it highly unlikely that acrylamide can be completely eliminated from one's diet.
While no health authority has recommended consumers change their eating behavior because of acrylamide, there are prudent measures to reduce acrylamide formation in many products. Food manufacturers and restaurants continue to explore and implement these solutions. Similarly, easy-to-follow advice is available for those consumers who want to reduce the formation of acrylamide while cooking at home.