Saturday 1 October 2016

Guidelines for cooking spuds to cut cancer risk

Published 16/03/2016 | 02:30

Store potatoes somewhere dark, cool and dry, and not in the fridge. Photo: Getty Images.
Store potatoes somewhere dark, cool and dry, and not in the fridge. Photo: Getty Images.

Irish diners need to observe the "golden rule" when it comes to eating foods such as roast potatoes or chips.

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The dinner staples should not be allowed to go brown during the high-temperature cooking process in order to prevent the chemical acrylamide from forming.

The Food Safety Authority pinpointed acrylamide as one of the chemicals in food that must be monitored to reduce the public's exposure to it.

Scientists have concluded that it is not possible to draw any definitive conclusions about the cancer risks of acrylamide in food, but say its consumption should be minimised.

Overall the watchdog's report, which analysed the most commonly consumed foods in Ireland for chemicals, said people are generally not at risk from chemicals in their food.

Apart from monitoring acrylamide there should also be surveillance of aflatoxins - natural chemicals produced by certain fungi.

In order to avoid acrylamide, bread should be toasted to the lightest colour. Manufacturers' instructions for frying or oven-heating foods should be followed carefully.

Store potatoes somewhere dark, cool and dry, and not in the fridge. If stored in a very low temperature the amount of sugar they hold can lead to higher levels of acrylamide when they are cooked.

Top chef Derry Clarke, who runs the l'Ecrivain restaurant in Dublin, suggested to the Irish Independent people could try par-boiling their potatoes for about five minutes before roasting them to cut down on the amount of time it takes to roast them.

"Dry them off and toss some oil on them," he recommended. He likes to roast potatoes at around 190-200 degrees. "Once par-boiled they cook much faster. It all comes down to common sense."

Irish Independent

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