business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Berkeley Daily Planet reports that the controversy about acrylamides – the chemical produced when carbohydrate-rich food are cooked at high temperatures, and which some believe are carcinogenic – is about to hit the headlines. Again.

It was two years ago that Swedish researchers made the connection between acrylamides and cancer, a connection that has since been confirmed by some of their counterparts in the UK, Switzerland and Japan. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and World Health Organization (WHO) haven’t sounded the alarm quite as loud, though they have described acrylamides as “a major concern.”

Now, because they sell French fries that are thick with acrylamides, both McDonald’s and Burger King are being sued in California by the Council for Education and Research on Toxics (CERT) under Proposition 65, which requires that labels that “help consumers make informed choices about products” be used on products “known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.”

CERT apparently hopes that if it can win in court with McDonald’s and Burger King, it will force other fast food purveyors to label their French fries and other acrylamide-rich products.
KC's View:
What’s the over/under on when Alar creeps back into the headlines?

Actually, we shouldn’t make light of this. If acrylamides indeed cause cancer – and there’s certainly enough evidence to suggest that they might – it certainly makes sense to deal with the issue.