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EU Drops Law to Limit Cancer-Linked Chemical in Food After Industry Complaint

Leaked documents show that industry complaints influenced the European Union (EU) to drop its plan to place limits on acrylamide, a product of processed foods that is linked to cancer, The Guardian reports. Acrylamide is found in fried, roasted and some oven-baked foods such as potato chips, breakfast foods, baby biscuits and instant coffee.

The food industry has fought regulation of acrylamide and warnings on it for years, even though animal studies have shown that exposure to acrylamide increases the risk of several types of cancer, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer considers it a "probable human carcinogen.”

Acrylamide is formed from a reaction between sugars and an amino acid (asparagine) during high-temperature cooking, and may be a primary hazard of processed foods. A study published in 2007 linked higher dietary acrylamide intake with an increased risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer in postmenopausal women, particularly among non-smokers. It’s also linked to nerve damage and other neurotoxic effects, including neurological problems in workers handling the substance.

To reduce your exposure to this chemical, avoid foods that are processed, fried or heavily-cooked — and beware: baked chips may even be worse than fried. The safest thing, of course, is to avoid processed foods altogether, as they deprive you of valuable nutrients and only add to chronic health problems such as obesity and heart disease. By opting for foods that will benefit your health, such as raw, preferably organic and/or locally-grown vegetables, organic grass-fed meats, healthy oils, raw dairy, and raw nuts and seeds, you can change your health for the better.
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