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FDA finds cancer-causing chemical in cooked potatoes

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Photo: Video by IdahoOnYourSide.com

FDA finds cancer-causing chemical in cooked potatoes

By Jake Melder. CREATED Nov 15, 2013

Idaho's most famous crop is in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. The FDA says cooked potatoes could give you cancer.

We all like french fries or chips with our burger, but the Food and Drug Administration is warning us to lay off. That is because a chemical called acrylamide is created when potatoes hit the fryer.

In California, they take the warning seriously enough to put a label on potato chips. It says this product can cause cancer and reproductive problems.

The FDA says acrylamide forms in many carbohydrates when they are cooked at a high temperature. Cereal, bread, coffee and of course potatoes all of them make acrylamide at high temperatures.

The news comes as no surprise for the Idaho Potato Commission, which has been aware of acrylamide for a decade.

"We're definitely keeping an eye on it,” said President and CEO of the Commission, Frank Muir. “We're doing research. We're trying to identify is there concern and if there is a concern what can we do to reduce that concern."

The Commission is currently working on making new potato varieties that have less acrylamide-making compounds.

There have been no tests on how acrylamide affects humans. Results have been based on animal testing.

A local potato farmer isn't convinced.

"It's maybe hurt an animal - probably a little bitty mouse, huh?” commented Marv Flavel, who operates a farm in Kuna. “It's not going to change the way I eat. I was raised on them. I'll just stay with it."

Don't throw out all your potatoes there is a safe way to prepare them.

"So our foods are golden brown in color, not really dark, dark brown,” said Seanne Safaii, a Professor of Foods and Nutrition and the University of Idaho. “No overcooked not over-fried but really a light golden color. We know when it gets to that darker brown, that's when acrylamide is formed."

The message is, as always, eat foods in moderation. Watch what you eat and make sure the food you make or the food you buy is prepared properly.