Once again the media gets it wrong
Posted by Southern Man on Jul 26, 2002 at 10:52
French fries and potato chips may be doing more than just clogging our arteries and padding our guts. The first peer-reviewed study of acrylamide levels in foods suggests the suspected carcinogen forms in dangerous levels during the cooking of potatoes.
The study reports that fried, oven-baked and deep-fried potato and cereal products contain high levels of acrylamide. Researchers at Stockholm University summarized evidence of acrylamide's presence in foods and performed a detailed analysis of acrylamide during heating.
Why isn't the headline "BREAD WILL KILL YOU!!!" The study shows that bread has levels of this carcinogen far higher than legally allowable in water. Why single out french fries?
Political correctness isn't just about personal relationships. There are politically correct foods and "right-wing conspiracy" foods. Bread is always good especially if home baked and french fries are always bad.
And the solution is…"I would say that boiling at 100 degrees Celsius is the only safe cooking method," said Margareta Törnqvist, Ph.D., lead author of the paper. In potato-based foods, even cooking at a moderate temperature of 120 degrees Celsius began the process of acrylamide formation. But Törnqvist is hesitant to promote mild cooking because it carries its own set of dangers -- namely food-borne diseases like Salmonella.
Sounds like the cure is far worse than the disease. But let’s step back a moment. Since we have been eating “excessive” levels of acrylamide for tens of thousands of years (since we learned to cultivate wheat and make bread) maybe the animal studies that showed it to be a potent carcinogen didn’t mean that it was a potent carcinogen in humans? Or, if it is, maybe we just have to live with some small risks if we expect to live our lives outside of a cave? In any case the bias of the reporting of this story should be far more educational than the study itself.