Acrylamide is a chemical produced when potatoes and other foods high in carbohydrates are fried or baked at high temperatures. It is particularly high in fried potatoes, cookies, pastries, bread, rolls, and toast. Acrylamide has also been shown to cause cancer in mice and rats.
The possibility that it also can cause cancer in humans has been unclear.
However, an analysis of a large number of Swiss and Italian cancer patients matched with similar patients without cancer but admitted to the same hospitals showed no connection between the amount of acrylamide in their diets and several different cancers, including colorectal cancer.
In the study, 2,280 cases of colorectal cancer matched to 4,765 controls. After adjusting statistically for other known colorectal cancer risk factors, the odds of getting colorectal cancer were almost identical for those with the highest intake of acrylamide foods and those with the lowest.
In a report in the [*International Journal of Cancer*](http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/abstract/110559366/ABSTRACT) researchers from concluded,
This uniquely large and comprehensive data set does not show any consistent association between intake of acrylamide and the risk of breast and several other common cancers
In 2002 Swedish scientists unexpectedly found [acrylamide in food](http://www.slv.se/templates/SLV_Page.aspx?id=4119) prepared at high temperatures, especially potato chips and french fries.
Early this year the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended that [acrylamide levels in food should be reduced](http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/notes/2005/np06/en/index.html) because of it is carcinogenic in animals.
In 2003 the FDA in [*Turning Up the Heat on Acrylamide*](http://www.fda.gov/fdac/features/2003/103_food.html) warned consumers not to overcook food but to be sure to cook it well enough to destroy bacteria and virusesthat might cause illness. They also urged balance among food choices including carbohydrates with fiber.