Following the news that the popular chocolate spread Nutella might contain a cancer causing substance, now there is concern about toast. Acrylamide, a substance that forms on carbohydrates when they are cooked at high temperatures, is suspected as a "probable carcinogen." And it doesn't stop with toast. Burnt potatoes, whether fried or roasted can have high levels of acrylamide as can some cereals. Even coffee beans, when roasted show high levels. What's left for breakfast?
The British Food Safety Agency has issued a warning about toasting, broiling or frying carbs at high temps until they are dark brown. While the agency isn't saying to give up these foods entirely, they do advise a reduction overall. Acrylamide has been shown to cause tumors in lab mice, however humans would have to consume very large amounts, over a period of years and years to approach the same level of risk. For now, the FSA in Britain is just asking people to be more aware of how their food is cooked. It's causing some concern however, since some people are very worried and fearing the worst, while others are building up a distrust of scientific warnings that seem overblown.