What is it all about?

In April 2002 Swedish researchers shocked the world when they published the results of a study showing very high levels of chemicals called acrylamides in high starch/carbohydrate foods (such as chips and crisps) which had been fried at high temperatures. The Swedish research team showed that levels of acrylamide in such foods were up to 500 times higher than the level allowed in drinking water by the World Health Organisation. The results were of considerable concern because animal studies had shown that high levels of dietary acrylamides cause various types of cancers. Subsequent studies have verified the findings of the Swedish team.

In response to such concerns, in November 2017 the EU Commission passed a new law (the Acrylamide Regulation ) which requires food business operators to take various practical steps to reduce the amount of acrylamide in food. The Acrylamide Regulation came into effect on 11 April 2018.

The definition of food business operator is very broad and will catch practically any business that makes and/or sells food. However the law draws a distinction between:-

  • Food manufacturers that sell at a wholesale level.
  • Businesses that prepare food for sale to their customers such as restaurants and pubs.
  • Businesses that prepare food for sale to their customers such as restaurants and pubs, which operate under a single brand, where either the food is supplied centrally or the menus are set centrally.

There are different levels of obligations on each type of business. Below we explain the obligations on:-

Smaller Pub & Restaurant Chains - pubs and restaurants, which don’t get their food centrally provided or their menus centrally set.

Larger Pub & Restaurant Chains - pubs and restaurants which operate under one trade mark and which get their food from a source determined centrally or which use menus which are centrally set.

 

What you need to do

Smaller Pub & Restaurant Chains

The obligations on pub and restaurant chains are these :-

  • Select suitable low starch potato varieties for making chips.
  • Monitor storage and transport conditions of potatoes to prevent sugar content increasing.
  • Adopt a range of pre-frying potato treatment steps such as washing and soaking.
  • Blanch potatoes if appropriate.
  • Use frying oils and fats which allow frying to take place quicker and/or at lower temperatures.
  • Use frying temperatures below 175 °C.
  • Maintain frying oil quality by skimming frequently to remove fines and crumbs.
  • Check the colour of the chips by using e.g. an industry standard colour chart (for example Munsell’s USDA French Fry standard). This is because overcooked or burnt food has higher acrylamide levels.

Some of these measures are going to be very burdensome to adopt. For example the regulation recommends that pubs and restaurants soak raw chips in cold water for between 30 minutes and 2 hours before frying. For businesses with an unpredictable demand this is going to be very difficult to achieve.

Further pubs and restaurants should keep the acrylamide levels in chips down below 500 µg/kg and if those levels are exceeded they are obliged to adjust their processes and controls to get their acrylamide levels below this threshold.

Larger Pub & Restaurant Chains

The obligations on pub and restaurant chains are these :-

  • Select suitable low starch potato varieties for making chips.
  • Monitor storage and transport conditions of potatoes to prevent sugar content increasing.
  • Adopt a range of pre-frying potato treatment steps such as washing and soaking.
  • Blanch potatoes if appropriate.
  • Use frying oils and fats which allow frying to take place quicker and/or at lower temperatures.
  • Use frying temperatures below 175 °C.
  • Maintain frying oil quality by skimming frequently to remove fines and crumbs.
  • Check the colour of the chips by using e.g. an industry standard colour chart (for example Munsell’s USDA French Fry standard). This is because overcooked or burnt food has higher acrylamide levels.

Some of these measures are going to be very burdensome to adopt. For example the regulation recommends that pubs and restaurants soak raw chips in cold water for between 30 minutes and 2 hours before frying. For businesses with an unpredictable demand this is going to be very difficult to achieve.

Further pubs and restaurants are under a legal obligation to keep the acrylamide levels in chips down below 500 µg/kg and if those levels are exceeded they are obliged to adjust their processes and controls to get their acrylamide levels below this threshold.

Adopt standard operating procedures for frying and food handling and also use state of the art frying equipment with programmable frying cycles. Importantly they also have to monitor the levels of acrylamides in their fried food to verify that the mitigation measures which they adopt are effective in keeping acrylamide levels below the specified benchmark level.

How FriPura can help

FriPura’s tablets prevent the build up of polar compounds in cooking oil. These compounds act as surfactants and cause chips to have surface darkening and burning, which are both associated with higher acrylamide levels. The use of FriPura tablets, together with an appropriate colour chart, can help pubs and restaurants of all sizes ensure that their fried food not only looks more appealing but also has a range of colours associated with the low acrylamide levels.

Independent laboratory tests have also shown that FriPura’s tablets reduce the level of acrylamides in fried food by more than 13% . It is well-known that more acrylamides are formed during frying when the cooking oil has a higher total polar content and FriPura’s tablets reduce the overall total polar content of cooking oil, keeping it in its sweetspot for longer. Using FriPura tablets will significantly increase the chances of your acrylamide levels remaining below the 500 µg/kg threshold set by the Acrylamide Regulation.

If you would like to conduct a trial with FriPura to see how they can reduce your acrylamide levels and assist in compliance with the Acrylamide Regulation then please get in contact with us.

Savings Calculator

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Potential Savings

When you consider every fryer in every kitchen – your potential savings can add up pretty quickly.

Use our handy calculator to get an idea of how much less you could be spending on oil over the course of just one year.

*Calculations are for illustrative purposes only. Your specific circumstances and savings may vary. Contact us now to receive an accurate savings based on customer information received.

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