Scientists in the UK on Monday cautioned against cooking potatoes and toast to a blackened color, saying a by-product of the cooking process could cause cancer.
The by-product — acrylamide — is generated when food is cooked too long at high temperatures. Studies in rodents show exposure to the chemical compound acrylamide “poses a risk for several types of cancer,” according to the National Cancer Institute, but research on the effect on humans is incomplete.
The Food Standards Agency, a UK government entity, recommended avoiding browning starchy foods, and instead going for a light golden brown color.
A World Health Organization panel came to same conclusion, that acrylamide may pose a cancer risk, in 2002, and the Food and Drug Administration issued guidelines on how to reduce the chemical in foods in 2013.
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