Possible carcinogenic found in coffee from 20 brands
A contaminant identified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), under the World Health Organization (WHO), as a possible carcinogenic for humans has been found in 59 freshly made coffee samples of 20 brands, including Luckin and Starbucks, a recent test by the Fujian Province Consumer Council revealed.
Acrylamide is classified as a "Group 2A probable carcinogen" by the IARC.
The test involved a variety of coffee types, with the substance found in all of those tested, which also included drinks from Tims, KFC, McDonald's and Costa, according to the council.
The companies are yet to respond to media inquiries.
Thirty samples were bought from vendors, while the rest were ordered online.
Acrylamide is not a food additive, and there is no standard on the intake limit of acrylamide in China.
Previous online postings from Shanghai and Fujian disease control and prevention authorities have quoted medical studies that one would have to consume as much as 10 kilograms of coffee to reach the maximum intake of acrylamide for an average adult weighing 50 kilograms.
To reduce the daily intake of acrylamide, one would avoid baked and deep-dried food as much as possible, but cutting on coffee wouldn't be nearly as effective.
The substance forms through a natural chemical reaction between sugar and asparagine, an amino acid, in plant-based foods – including potato and cereal- or grain-based foods. It forms during high-temperature cooking, such as frying, roasting and baking.
In research studies, high levels of acrylamide caused cancer in laboratory animals, but the levels of acrylamide used in these studies were much greater than those found in human food, according to the US Food and Drug Administration.
In addition, of four coffee samples ordered and marked as sugar-free, two were found to contain an excessive amount of sugar based on the sugar-free standard, according to the council.