Published online: Mar 24, 2008 Alan Harman
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A new British report says rinsing or soaking raw french fries in water before frying might reduce levels of acrylamide.

Researchers at Leatherhead Food International, the Department of Food Biosciences, the British Potato Council's Sutton Bridge Experimental Unit and the Food Standards Agency says washing or soaking potatoes for 30 minutes reduced acrylamide by between 23 percent and 38 percent.

Findings were reported in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

Acrylamides are created in small amounts during production of french fries and potato chips. It has been linked to cancer in rodents.

The British researchers were looking for simple measures that could be used to reduce acrylamide formation in home-cooked french fries, using potatoes from three cultivars stored under controlled conditions and sampled at three time points.

Apart from reducing acrylamide levels, the washing treatment resulted in fries that were lighter in color after cooking.

"Pre-treatments such as soaking or washing raw french fries in water reduce acrylamide and color formation in the final product when cooking is stopped at a texture-determined endpoint," the researchers report.