Filed Under: Snacks

Just when you thought the holidays were safe –

A nationwide study carried out in Germany has found that gingerbread contains seven times the amount of acrylamide found in French fries. Acrylamide, you’ll remember, is that pesky chemical that’s formed when starchy foods (including sugar-rich veggies) are cooked at high temperatures.

Although very high doses of acrylamide cause cancer in lab rats, there’s no scientific evidence that humans are at any risk. In fact, some scientists believe that people are naturally immune from its effects.

Still, activists and their trial-lawyer buddies are planning a legal assault on food companies, justifying their strategy by insisting that acrylamide is a human carcinogen. The latest evidence, however, suggests that acrylamide levels vary widely even within samples of the same food. The longer starches are cooked, the more acrylamide we ingest.

The notoriously truth-deprived Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is apparently quite desperate to prove that French fries will kill us all. CSPI is trumpeting the findings of Clark University’s Dale Hattis, the only credentialed scientist anywhere to claim that acrylamide poses a real threat to humans. CSPI’s take: “[I]t causes several thousand deaths in the U.S. each year.”

Unlike CSPI, we’re still awaiting reliable evidence. The next best thing, though, comes from the (ACSH) and the Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter. ACSH recently released a Rutgers University report that determined: “Acrylamide has not, even in high exposure occupational settings, been shown to cause cancer in humans.” The Tufts Letter declared last month that “the final verdict on acrylamide is far off” and that acrylamide-heavy foods “have been consumed for centuries, with the human life span only getting longer during that time.”

So go ahead: enjoy that gingerbread! And tell the public-health Grinches to go back to Who-Ville.

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