IF YOU like your potatoes on the crispier side, you might want to reconsider — because that extra crunch could give you cancer.
A new study by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), the British Governments food safety watchdog, revealed that toast and roast potatoes that are ‘crispy’ contact high-levels of cancer causing chemicals.
The study investigated the amount of acrylamide — which is a cancer causing toxin — in foods like roast potatoes, chips and toast.
The new research indicates that roast potatoes and chips need to be cooked to only “a light golden colour” and bread should be toasted t the “lightest colour acceptable”. Basically, the crispier the potato, chip or toast, the higher levels of acrylamide the food contained.
The chemical is formed when a food is subjected to temperature above 120C, because of a reaction between amino acids, sugar and water found within bread and potatoes.
In the research, the palest and least cooked toast contained 9 microgrammes per kilo, while the crispiest toast contained almost 19 times more — 167 microgrammes.
Professor Guy Poppy, the FSA’s Chief Scientific Adviser said that “the risk assessment indicates that at the levels we are exposed to from food, acrylamide could be increasing the risk of cancer.
“We do not advise people to stop eating particular foods but … when making chips at home, they are cooked to a light golden colour”.
How should I cook my potatoes?
Researchers recommended the following cooking methods when roasting potatoes to avoid higher levels of cancer-causing chemicals:
1. Parboiling potatoes first before roasting them — considered the best method for producing crispy ‘roasties’ anyway — because the process reduces the free sugars that generate acrylamides
2. Storing potatoes in a cupboard rather than fridge. Low temperatures can increase the amount of sugar and sweetness in the potato, leading to more acrylamide when cooked
3. Cooks should not ‘fluff up’ parboiled potatoes before roasting them because in doing so it increases the surface area which in turn increases levels of acrylamide