AOAC’s Acrylamide Working Group develops voluntary consensus standards for acrylamide in high heat processed food products.


Acrylamide (CH₂=CHC(O)NH₂) is a low molecular weight organic compound widely used in many manufacturing processes and industrial products. In 2002, acrylamide was recognized as a contaminant in certain foods. It is not a food additive, but forms naturally during high-temperature cooking processes such as frying, roasting, and baking. Processed foods most commonly susceptible to acrylamide formation are those made from plant-derived products involving potatoes, grains, nuts, cocoa, and coffee.

Toxicology studies, analytical method development, and food surveys have been conducted to determine exposure levels based on diet and impact on public health. A 2002 joint FAO/WHO report recognized the potential toxic effects of acrylamide in food, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified it as a probable human carcinogen (Group 2A).

Current Analytical Methods and Recognized Challenges

Since 2002, several methods have been developed and used for routine acrylamide analysis of various foods, including the European standard method EN16618:20157 and the method developed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The disparate regulatory landscape, move towards establishing regulatory maximum levels and lower benchmark levels, expansion of food matrices identified as susceptible to acrylamide formation, and challenges faced by testing laboratories and food producers reinforce the need for development of consensus performance standards and adoption of official methods of analysis.

This AOAC working group effort addresses the growing need for a more robust method that would provide broad applicability and ensure greater analyte recovery while minimizing noted matrix-derived interferences – all necessary elements for providing greater accuracy in acrylamide quantification.

Get Involved

The Acrylamide Working Group, chaired by Drs. Katerina Mastovska, Eurofins, and Aurelien Desmarchelier, Nestlé, has been meeting since February 2022. AOAC continues to seek volunteer subject matter experts to join this working group. Click the “Get Involved” button below to express interest in joining or to stay up to date on working group activities.

Benefits for Participating

For Method Developers:

  • Influence the development of consensus standards, which will be used by AOAC Expert Review Panels to evaluate your candidate methods for possible adoption as AOAC Official Methods of Analysis
  • AOAC Official Methods of Analysis serve as the benchmark for trade resolutions, instill consumer confidence, and contribute to consumer safety

For Food Manufacturers and Food Distributors:

  • Ensure the project’s priorities meet your needs through AOAC’s unique standard development process
  • Encourage the development of Official Methods which provide the highest level of analytical confidence for determination of acrylamide levels in a wide range of food types
  • Provide a validated analytical means needed to meet regional and internationally adopted regulatory requirements
  • Protect producers and consumers alike, maintain the reputation of products, and ultimately improve the quality and safety of the food supply

For All:

  • Create much-needed reference methods for commodities that do not currently exist
  • Generate reliable data for effective compliance-driven quality control of food materials and products

Questions? Contact Allison Baker, AOAC Coordinator for Standards and Official Methods, at [email protected] or (240) 801-8658.