Almost one in five crisp varieties contain high levels of a known carcinogen called acrylamide, a new report has revealed.
A review of 92 types of crisps from major UK snack brands and supermarkets found that some crisps – including snacks from Tyrrells, Aldi and Morrisons – exceeded the maximum recommended level of acrylamide.
The chemical is created when foods, particularly starchy foods like potatoes and bread, are cooked for long periods at high temperatures.
The new report, conducted by the Changing Markets Foundation, found that a sample of sweet potato crisps from Tyrrells had the highest level of acrylamide at 2486 micrograms per kilogram.
These levels are 2.5-times above the European benchmark, which is 1000 micrograms per kilogram and over 83-times higher than products with the lowest concentration.
Morrisons’ cheese and onion flavoured popped potato snacks came next, containing 2067 micrograms of acrylamide per kilogram, followed by the supermarket’s sea salted crinkle cut potato crisps which contained 1826 micrograms per kilogram.
Aldi also topped the list with its Passions barbecue flavour popped potato chips containing 1778 micrograms per kilogram.
In total, sixteen samples exceeded the recommended EU benchmark, with supermarket own brand products performing worse than major snack brands.
The worst performing supermarket brands were Morrisons and Aldi, the report stated, with three products above the benchmark each.
Crisps with the lowest amounts of acrylamide present included Pom Bear potato snacks, M&S ready salted potato rings and Walkers light curly potato snacks (cheese flavour).
A recent study from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) concluded that people in the UK currently consume higher levels of acrylamide than is desirable and identified fried potatoes as a major contributor to acrylamide exposure.
Earlier this year, it launched a campaign encouraging people to minimise exposure to acrylamide when cooking at home.
The FSA also previously conducted its own report and called out 13 products -including from Seabrook, Aldi and Asda – which exceeded the recommended acrylamide benchmarks.
Nusa Urbancic, from Changing Markets, said “The results published today reveal that several companies found to exceed dangerous acrylamide levels by the FSA haven’t done anything to address this problem.”
Urbancic called on health and food authorities to crack down on acrylamide levels in food, adding that strict regulations need to be enforced.
In response to the study’s findings, a spokesperson for Tyrrells crisps told The Telegraph: “Sweet potato crisps are made from wholly natural vegetables which incur varying changes in their carbohydrate composition in the course of harvesting at different times of the year.
“The FSA stated that studies on human subjects have provided limited and inconsistent evidence of increased risk of developing cancer through raised levels of acrylamide.”
The Huffington Post UK has reached out to Aldi and Morrisons and is yet to hear back at the time of publication.