DSM has launched an enzymatic solution which is said to prevent the formation of acrylamide in high-pH applications such as corn chips, biscuits, and crackers.
Called PreventASe, the solution is suitable for a broad range of applications and optimised for higher-pH applications. It can reduce acrylamide in processed foods “by up to 95%”.
DSM said that global awareness about acrylamide is on the rise. Earlier this year, legislation was introduced in the European Union (EU) forcing manufacturers to regulate the amount of acrylamide in their products for the first time.
The EU has established ‘benchmark’ levels of acrylamide for various food products, ranging from 350 micrograms (μg) of acrylamide per kilogram for biscuits and cookies to 750μg per kilogram for potato crisps and 850μg per kilogram for instant soluble coffee.
Acrylamide is a by-product of the cooking process used in the production of a variety of foods including baked, fried, roasted or toasted bread; snack products like potato chips; and some other products such as coffee. Fried potato products like fries, potato chips and hash browns have been found to contain the most acrylamide while toasted bread can have up to ten times as much acrylamide as untoasted bread.
Acrylamide is a proven carcinogen and poses severe health risks, especially for children, whose diets tend to be more heavily weighted towards bread, cereals and potato-based snacks than that of adults.
DSM stressed that food manufacturers are acting fast to reduce acrylamide in their products, but face a challenge to deliver acrylamide-reduced versions with the same taste and texture their consumers know and love.
The problem is particularly prevalent in applications that contain ingredients like chemical leavening agents or masa (corn which has undergone a lime treatment) such as savoury crackers, biscuits, tortilla chips, and corn chips, and are therefore more alkaline (up to pH 9).
PreventASe and PreventASe XR are asparaginases that convert free asparagine present in many foods, thereby preventing the formation of acrylamide without impacting taste, texture or shelf life.
Fokke van den Berg, business director for Baking at DSM, said: “The global conversation about acrylamide is heating up, and DSM is working with our customers to address this challenge for the food industry.
“An advantage of using asparaginase to tackle acrylamide is it requires negligible changes to a product recipe or production process. With PreventASe and now PreventASe XR, DSM is enabling acrylamide reduction in the widest range of snacks and baked goods.”