Analysis of FDA data on Acrylamide in Our Everyday Diets: A Focus on Chips and Snacks

Posted by Liliana Cantrell on


In recent years, the presence of acrylamide in food has become a significant concern. Acrylamide is a chemical that can form in some foods during high-temperature cooking processes, such as frying, roasting, and baking. Given its potential health risks, understanding its presence in our diets is crucial.

The FDA's Study on Acrylamide Levels

Between 2011 and 2015, the FDA conducted a comprehensive survey, collecting approximately 2500 food product samples to study acrylamide levels. This survey followed up on earlier studies and aimed to provide a broader understanding of acrylamide presence in various foods, with a particular focus on chips and snacks.

Key Findings in Chips and Snacks

Our analysis of the data reveals some intriguing insights into acrylamide levels in chips and snacks. Here's a brief overview:

  • Average Level: The average acrylamide content in these products was found to be 194.68 ppb (parts per billion).
  • Variability: There was a significant variation in acrylamide levels among different products, as indicated by a high standard deviation of 583.14 ppb.
  • Range: Acrylamide levels ranged from as low as 5 ppb to as high as 8440 ppb.

Highlighted Products and Brands

  • Highest Levels: The product with the highest acrylamide level was "Sweet Potato Chips with Sea Salt Crinkle Cut" at 8440 ppb. Other products with high levels included "Popchips Potato Sea Salt" and "MiCostenita Papitas Casera Homemade Potatoes".
  • Range of Levels: We observed a variety of products across the spectrum of acrylamide levels. For example, "Tom's Original Potato Chips" and "Kettle Brand Real Sliced Potatoes Sea Salt" represented the mid to high range (310-380 ppb), while products like "T.G.I Friday's Mozzarella Sticks" and "Hot Pockets Hickory Ham & Cheddar" represented the lower end of the spectrum (5 ppb).

The boxplot further illustrates the spread and outliers in the data. The median level is significantly lower than the mean, reflecting the skewness of the distribution towards lower values with some notable exceptions.

Understanding the Impact

While acrylamide is a natural byproduct of the cooking process, its potential health implications cannot be ignored. The high levels found in some chips and snacks underscore the need for continued research and potential regulatory actions to ensure food safety.

Moving Forward

As consumers, it's vital to be informed about the contents of our food. The FDA's ongoing efforts to monitor and study acrylamide levels play a crucial role in our understanding of food safety. Meanwhile, brands and retailers should consider acrylamide levels while bringing new products to shelves. 

Liliana Cantrell

← Older Post Newer Post →