Acrylamide (ACR) is a possible human carcinogen, with neurotoxic properties. It is a heat-generated food toxicant particularly found in carbohydrate-rich foods. Its occurrence is of global concern and constitutes a major challenge to food safety, due to its presence in several thermally processed foods worldwide. Since its discovery, ACR has been recognized as one of the most widely investigated heat-induced food contaminant, and several reports on its formation and occurrence since its discovery have been reported. However, information on the extent of ACR occurrence in foods consumed in different parts of Africa is rather too limited. This is particularly a concern considering that most carbohydrate-based foods, subjected to varying degrees of thermal processing, are consumed as staple diets almost on daily basis in the continent. As such, African populations may be exposed to high levels of ACR daily. Thus, this chapter covers the formation, occurrence and health impact of ACR in foods. It further summarizes previous studies looking at ACR reduction and mitigation strategies, especially those that may be applicable in the continent. Adequate sensitization of the populace about the prevention of ACR as a food contaminant is essential to ensure the safety of heat-processed carbohydrate-rich foods in the continent.
Part of the book: Acrylic Polymers in Healthcare