The Ministry of Health called for testing on fried "crisps" after public health officials in the European Union suggested that a substance formed during the high-temperature processing of starchy snacks and other foods increases the risk of cancer among consumers.
Radio Voice of Vietnam news website reported that the ministry’s Food Safety Department has asked the National Institute for Food Control to gather french fry samples from the leading fast food chain KFC and three bagged chip samples for testing.
The action was taken in response to a public consultation launched by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) following the publication of its draft scientific opinion on acrylamide in food.
EFSA issued a press release on July 1, after conducting animal studies, that said “acrylamide in food potentially increases the risk of developing cancer for consumers in all age groups.”
Acrylamide is produced during “everyday high temperature (+150°C) cooking in the home, catering and food manufacturing,” the agency said, naming coffee, fried potato products, biscuits, crackers and crisp breads, soft bread and certain baby foods as dietary sources of acrylamide.
On a body weight basis, children are the most exposed age groups, it said.
The consultation, developed by the agency’s Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain, gave a September 15 deadline for scientists and other interested parties to provide comment online.
Members of the panel will discuss the feedback with the contributors to the online public consultation at a public meeting later this year before finalizing their opinion.
The deadline for final adoption of the opinion is June 2015.
The panel also considered possible harmful effects of acrylamide on the nervous system, pre-natal and post-natal development and male reproduction.
Vietnam's health ministry also ordered the samples to be tested for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) compounds, which the EU Commission banned last December based on their carcinogenic and mutagenic properties, as well as their potential danger to reproduction health.
Test results are to be reported to the ministry by July 21.