Targeted solutions to reduce acrylamide

  • 29/October/2020
  • 3 min

Brenntag F&N experts describe the clean label formulations developed in the FA&DC of Padua reducing acrylamide in bakery products.

Acrylamide is a molecule naturally occurring in starch-based foods (chips, French fries, bread, biscuits and coffee) during high temperatures cooking. Acrylamide is formed from sugars and amino acids, especially from asparagine, it is present in many foods and originates from the "Maillard reaction", the process that gives food its typical "toasted" appearance and flavor.

Acrylamide is a genotoxic and carcinogenic substance. In 2015 EFSA stated that although a safe amount does not exist, it is possible to establish a quantity with negligible effects.
Supervising and avoiding acrylamide development in cooking is possible. To do this, it is necessary to follow some precautions regarding times, cooking methods and raw materials choice.

Reducing the levels of acrylamide in food

To improve the sweet and savoury bakery products affected by this problem, Brenntag Food & Nutrition experts provide know-how and a wide range of targeted ingredient solutions. Stefano Tavernelli, Sweet & Nutra Business Manager of Brenntag Food & Nutrition Italy, presents the range of possibilities that can be implemented: “A useful method to mitigate acrylamide risk is the right selection of leavening agents, for example, replacing bicarbonate or ammonium carbonate (responsible for raising the pH of the dough which leads to acrylamide development) with baking soda or carbonate, which would instead cause pH reduction. Other useful raising agents are potassium carbonate with potassium tartrate, disodium diphosphate with sodium bicarbonate, calcium carbonate or calcium sulphate. Another valuable choice contrasting acrylamide is longer cooking times at lower temperatures, in order to have the same final moisture content but with a lower acrylamide amount, therefore the final product will be less toasted.

The obligations and limits of acrylamide in food - Regulation (EU) 2158/2017

The Regulation distinguishes three types of companies with different control obligations, i.e. food sector operators who:

  1. produce and market food products.
  2. produce food, retail and / or directly supply local retail establishments only.
  3. produce food, carry out retail activities and / or directly supply only local retail establishments, and operate in facilities under direct control and under a brand or business license, as part or franchise of a 'larger interconnected company and according to the instructions of the food business operator that centrally supplies the products.

Food companies of the type referred to in points 1 and 3 must adopt measures to mitigate the levels of acrylamide and activate sampling and laboratory analysis methods to check the acrylamide limits of the food produced. Type 2 companies must adopt measures to mitigate the levels of acrylamide as reported in the annexes of the law, qualifying raw materials and suppliers, operating with suitable procedures and checking on-site the indicators of the presence of high quantities of acrylamide. All must adopt in the self-control manual, HACCP manual, their own prevention plan, procedures for attenuation of acrylamide levels and / or sampling for laboratory analysis of acrylamide. For more information, see the regulation itself.

The right food ingredient solutions

However, in order to significantly counter this harmful substance, it is often necessary to use ingredient solutions based on asparaginase. Stefano goes on explaining: “Our technicians have developed solutions tailored for different formulations. We have selected a strain of asparaginase enzymes particularly suitable for reducing acrylamide in bakery products because it maintains the taste, texture, appearance and organoleptic properties of the traditional finished products.

By adding the enzymatic solution before cooking, the asparagine originally present does not take part in the Maillard reaction and the formation of acrylamide is significantly reduced (about 90%) without altering foods typical appeal or appearance". The huge advantage of using asparaginase is that of reducing acrylamide during baking. Asparaginase acts on the asparagine amino acid, which is responsible for the formation of acrylamide. By bringing down the concentration of this amino acid it is possible to reduce the amount of acrylamide in the recipe.

Another important benefit is that asparagine is a clean label technical aid: it should not be declared on the final label because it is inactivated during baking. It also has the functional properties of the enzymes, such as activating more efficient processes and reducing costs; asparagine is a must have for every bakery production.

Brenntag F&N has developed a range of functional solutions based on enzymes and on asparaginase, capable of answering the many needs of the milling and baking industry. Our experts are at your disposal to improve flours properties, to develop new formulations for your bakery products, or to improve production processes.

"We help our customers to choose the right ingredient solutions, to verify and perform production processes first on a small scale in the bakery lab of our FA&DC in Padua, and then on a large scale in their industrial plants" clarifies Stefano.

We’ve got you covered

“Brenntag Food & Nutrition develops new applications and food ingredients solutions according to market trends and customers’ needs, selecting the right ingredients for quality foods, always looking for the healthier options. Every formulation is fully customizable according to client’s production needs, flavoring profiles, or local taste. Our daily challenge is supporting at best our clients in order to develop healthy, sustainable solutions which are also innovative and differentiating”, explains Nadia D’Incecco, Commercial Director Brenntag F&N Italy.

Get in contact for an innovative solution

Contact us and get the most out of your bakery products through the right enzyme systems. Get in touch with the Italian Brenntag F&N team to discover what our solutions and application knowledge in bakery and sweet formulations can mean for your new product development.

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