Acrylamide (C3H3ONH2) is a chemical that is produced naturally in certain foods when they are cooked at high temperatures. It is also manufactured industrially for use in the production of polyacrylamide gels, which are used for various purposes, including the treatment of drinking-water and wastewater. Acrylamide is known to cause cancer in animals and, in high doses, can cause nerve damage in humans.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have established an international network on acrylamide in food. The network’s aim is to allow all interested parties to share relevant data as well as information on ongoing investigations.

The network is operated by the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN), a collaborative multidisciplinary research and education programme jointly administered by the US Food and Drug Administration and the University of Maryland. JIFSAN is a WHO Collaborating Centre for Risk Analysis and Food Contamination Monitoring and a member of the FAO Network of Centres of Excellence for Food Quality, Safety and Nutrition. The establishment of this network was one of the recommendations to come out of the June 2002 FAO/WHO Consultation on the Health Risks of Acrylamide in Food.

The website includes:

  • A database of researchers/data providers;
  • References for research published elsewhere;
  • Information updates about the current status of research efforts; and
  • WHO/FAO updates on information relevant to the health risk of acrylamide in food.

Any interested party may submit information, and it is hoped that governmental agencies, research institutions, industry and others will share information via the network. The network is intended to be a global resource and inventory of ongoing research on acrylamide in food. It encompasses formal research, surveillance/monitoring and industry investigations, etc. It is also designed to serve as a discussion forum for active researchers and others in the field. It aims to identify gaps and overlaps in available research/information, and make suggestions for how these could be addressed. Information on these aspects will be posted on the website.


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