Officials Weigh Warning Public About Acrylamide in Food Products
The Los Angeles Times on Tuesday looked at efforts to label foods containing acrylamide -- a potential carcinogen -- in light of Proposition 65, which requires that products containing substances "known to the state to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm" have public notices about such risks. Acrylamide is found naturally in foods rich in carbohydrates, and baking, frying or roasting such foods at high temperatures can release the chemical. State scientists and legislators have been reassessing the risks of acrylamide and are considering requiring fast-food restaurants and food manufacturers to include a warning label on their products. In addition, private lawyers have "filed a flurry of lawsuits" calling for restaurants to issue warnings on fast food, according to the Times. Some 20,000 lawsuits have been filed as a result of Proposition 65. Some worry that the "pending decision on acrylamide will finally make a mockery of environmental health labeling, resulting in warnings so common that they will be rendered meaningless," the Times reports. Henry Miller, a former FDA official, said, "When you have too much information, and it doesn't discriminate, it does not inform." But David Roe, a consultant and co-author of the proposition, said that "history has shown that, when faced with the threat of labels, companies will devise creative ways to clean up their products," which he says was the intent of the law, according to the Times (Bustillo, Los Angeles Times, 4/6).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.