Acrylamide in human diet, its metabolism, toxicity, inactivation and the associated European Union legal regulations in food industry

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2020;60(10):1677-1692. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2019.1588222. Epub 2019 Mar 25.


Nowadays acrylamide is known not only as synthetic material used in industry, but also as carcinogenic, cyto- and genotoxic compound which forms during heat-induced process (due to Maillard reaction) mostly in foodstuff such as potato, bakery, plant derivatives products and coffee. The International Agency for Research on Cancer in 1994 declared acrylamide as a probable carcinogenic agent in humans. After metabolic process, acrylamide is distributed to all organs and tissues in human body. Acrylamide is classified as human neurotoxin, because this effect was observed in humans occupationally exposed to this compound. Acrylamide was found to cause apoptosis by mitochondrial dysfunction. Methods of acrylamide inactivation by microorganisms and bioactive diet compounds have also been reviewed. Moreover, there is still deficit of the European Union legal regulation concerning acrylamide mitigation strategies in food. Regulation 2017/2158 from 20 November 2017 is a step in the right direction when it comes to ensuring food safety and maximum levels of acrylamide in foodstuffs, however when exceeding those, it should result in elimination of such food from the market.

Keywords: Acrylamide; antioxidants; inactivation; legal regulations; microorganisms; toxicity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acrylamide / metabolism*
  • Acrylamide / toxicity*
  • Diet
  • European Union
  • Food Contamination / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Food Industry / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Humans


  • Acrylamide