Confusion surrounds today’s implementation of new European Union (EU) legislation about acrylamide after the body failed to publish final guidance for operators.
However, UKHospitality has today published interim guidance to help food businesses, which it will update once clarity is provided by the EU.
Under the legislation, operators in the UK need to put in place practical steps to manage acrylamide within their food safety management systems.
Acrylamide is a chemical substance formed by a reaction between amino acids and sugars. It usually occurs when foods with a high starch content, such as potatoes, root vegetables and bread, are fried, roasted or baked at high temperatures.
Acrylamide is a carcinogen and has the potential to cause cancer in humans.
Dr Lisa Ackerley, UKHospitality’s food safety expert, said: “Over the last 18 months UKHospitality has been working with the FSA, FSS and other stakeholders to produce practical guidance for caterers on the acrylamide regulations, which have been implemented today. Unfortunately, the EU guidance is not yet finalised, meaning some critical areas of clarification are still required as to scope and interpretation.
“It is regrettable that despite our considerable efforts we have been unable to produce a final document for the hospitality sector in time for the implementation of the regulations. UKHospitality is committed to guaranteeing that not only we but also our members have full confidence in the integrity of the guidance.
“Until there is total clarity about which businesses fall under the more onerous part of the regulations, and what foods fall into scope, we unfortunately are not able to provide the industry with the much-needed guidance they require to be confident they are complying with the new regulations.
“UKHospitality trusts that enforcement officers, who themselves will be relying on our guidance, will be mindful of this when considering taking any enforcement action until we all know where we stand when the EU publishes its guidance.”
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls, said: “UKHospitality is dedicated to ensuring its members have the practical and easy-to-use guidance they need to make informed and confident decisions. As with our Catering Guide, this guide is set to be assured by Cornwall Council – the primary authority for the hospitality industry.
“We hope that the EU guidance will be finalised sooner rather than later so that businesses can get to grips with the new legislation and will not be unfairly penalised and given reasonable time to understand and implement any necessary changes needed.”
The interim guidance can be found here.