Chips give you cancer (and skinny fries are the worst)

Chips give you cancer (and skinny fries are the worst)

Professor Guy Poppy, the agency's chief scientific officer, said: "If you are saying "I don't want to moderate the amount of roast potatoes I can have" you can reduce the amount of acrylamide you are going to take in by not having them as crispy or fluffy on the outside as you used to like".

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) added people must change their eating and cooking habits as such well-roasted foods including bread contain a harmful chemical called acrylamide at high temperatures that is produced naturally.

Certain guidelines like cooking the food to a more golden yellow colour, storing potatoes in a dark place above 6-degree celsius and to include vegetables, fruits, starchy carbohydrates in the daily diet are recommended by the food scientists.

Acrylamide is found in high levels in a range of favourite foods including breakfast cereals (except porridge), chips, potato products (such as waffles or children's potato shapes), biscuits, crackers and crispbread.

Research in animals has shown that the chemical is toxic to DNA and causes cancer - so scientists assume the same is true in people, although as yet there is no conclusive evidence. The reaction as part of a process, known as the Maillard reaction, which browns food and creates flavour. Wearne said that boiling, steaming or microwaving is one way to limiting browning and therefore levels of acrylamide. "This is about managing risk across your lifetime".

"To be on the safe side, people can reduce their exposure by following a normal healthy, balanced diet - which includes eating fewer high-calorie foods like chips, crisps and biscuits, which are the major sources of acrylamide".

It is not possible to eliminate acrylamide altogether - and it's present in other walks of life, such as the print on shopping receipts and tobacco smoke, the FSA says.

GO FOR GOLD - as a general rule of thumb, aim for a golden yellow colour or lighter when frying, baking, toasting or roasting starchy foods like potatoes, root vegetables and bread.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) recommends carefully following cooking instructions and avoiding browning. Instead, raw potatoes should be stored in a dark, cool temperature above 6C.

People should also not keep potatoes in the fridge, the FSA said, as this can increase the level of acrylamide.

'The amount of acrylamide in food has the potential to increase the risk of developing cancer for all ages during a lifetime of exposure'.

"Manufacturers also provide clear instructions on-pack for consumers and catering customers to follow when cooking foods at home or in commercial kitchens".