Potato Chip Hazards Cited in Acrylamide Report

The California-based Environmental Law Foundation filed notices with the state's attorney general late last week that would require potato chip manufacturers to add labels to their products warning consumers about the high levels of acrylamide they contain.

Formed when starchy foods are baked or fried at high temperatures, acrylamide is considered a cancer-causing chemical by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment and manufacturers that sell their products without such warnings are in violation of California Proposition 65.

From this point, Attorney General Bill Lockyer has 60 days to decide to pursue the case. If he doesn't, the foundation will file lawsuits against the companies, including PepsiCo (various Lay's baked chips brands), Proctor & Gamble (Pringles), Kettle Foods (Kettle Chips) and Lance Inc. (Cape Cod Chips). Of course, the reaction from the chip makers was predictably defensive, considering the FDA's position on acrylamide is ambivalent at best.

Perhaps, the FDA wouldn't be nearly so noncommittal if they had reviewed a report developed by the foundation that listed how far various chip brands exceeded the state's required warning levels for acrylamide. Here's a sampling of the offenders:

  • Cape Cod Robust Russet: 910 times
  • Kettle Chips (lightly salted): 505 times
  • Kettle Chips (honey dijon): 495 times
  • Pringles Snack Stacks (pizza-flavored): 170 times
  • Lay's Baked: 150 times

That's why chips -- and fried foods in general -- made my popular list of some of the worst foods you can possibly eat, and should avoid at all costs.

Environmental Law Foundation June 16, 2005 Free Full Text Report

Yahoo News June 17, 2005

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