Electronic Sensor Technology (ESNR.PK Newbury Park, CA) announced today 22 August 2013 that it had developed a method to use the zNOSE, a high speed, highly sensitive gas chromatography instrument to measure Acrylamide in foods. The test is as accurate as those obtained using an HPLC but can be run significantly faster, and at lower cost. Electronic Sensor Technology's zNOSE detects Acrylamide concentrations in foods to three significant figures at parts per billion concentrations in less than one minute per test.
The EST test methodology employes the FDA approved sample preparation process and methodology but couples it with EST's high speed gas chromatography instrument. Samples are processed quickly, with 3 digit precision. Faster and less expensive than using an HPLC.
Acrylamide is an organic chemical that has long been used for industrial purposes. Polyacrylamide is used as a paper making aid, as a soil-conditioning agent, in ore processing, in sewage treatment, and occasionally as an additive for water treatment (FSA, 2002). Acrylamide is a known lethal neurotoxin (median lethal dose in rabbit = 150 mg/kg) and animal carcinogen.
In 2002 acrylamide was found in cooked starchy foods. This finding has prompted concerns about the carcinogenicity of those foods.
Food Safety authorities in the United States, Canada, the European Union, China and other countries are concerned about and drug regulatory and safety authorities are concerned about the amount of acrylamide consumed through foods. The EU is taking the lead in setting maximum acrylamide levels in foods.
Acrylamide arises in food when asparagine, an amino acid, is heated with sugars such as glucose. Joseph Levitt, Director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) at the Food and Drug Administration states acrylamide is "a natural byproduct of the cooking process." The cooking processes that produce acrylamide are baking, frying, grilling, and toasting, or any cooking method in which temperatures are greater than 120°C or 248°F.
High-carbohydrate foods baked or fried at high temperatures (greater than 120°C or 248°F) contain the highest levels of acrylamide. FDA surveys show that eight food items contribute the most to peoples intake of acrylamide: potato chips, french fries, breakfast cereals, toast, soft bread, cookies, and brewed coffee.