Biomedical Rationale for Acrylamide Regulation and Methods of Detection

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Acrylamide is the product of the Maillard reaction, which occurs when starchy, asparagine-rich foods including potato or grain products and coffee are fried, baked, roasted, or heated. Studies in rodents provide evidence that acrylamide is carcinogenic and a male reproductive harmful agent when administered in exceedingly high levels. A 2002 study identified acrylamide in popular consumer food and beverage products, stimulating the European Union (EU) and California to legislate public notice of acrylamide presence in fried and baked foods, and coffee products. The regulatory legislation enacted in the EU and California has scientists working to develop foods and processes aimed at reducing acrylamide formation and advancing rapid and accurate analytical methods for the quantitative and qualitative determination of acrylamide in food and beverage products. The purpose of this review is to survey the studies performed on rodents and humans that identified the potential health impact of acrylamide in the human diet, and provide insight into established and emerging analytical methods used to detect acrylamide in blood, aqueous samples, and food.