Health Canada has recently asked the public for comments on a proposal from food manufacturers to add the enzyme- asparaginase to certain foods. The foods that would contain this additive are those that are eaten by millions of people every day. They include: Bread, Flour, Whole Wheat Flour, and other flours, French Fries, Potato Chips and potato-based products. In addition, the list also includes Breakfast Cereals, Biscuits, Cakes and Cookies. Why do manufacturers want to add asparaginase to these foods? Based on experiences of manufacturers in other countries who have used this enzyme to fortify these foods, countries such as Australia, Sweden, Netherlands, Denmark, Russia, Singapore, China, Switzerland and the United States, have found that asparaginase actually prevents the formation of acrylamide. Acrylamide tends to form when foods (see earlier list) are heated to high temperatures of 120 degrees celsius or higher. By adding the enzyme asparaginase, it actually prevents the formation of acrylamide. Acrylamide is of concern due to its association with being a cancer causing agent. Many of the baked foods listed earlier, tend to be high in this concerning compound. Even if you don’t eat cakes, cookies, potato chips etc, or any junk food at all, you can still ingest high amounts of acrylamide just from your own cooking and baking at home. So adding this enzyme to baked goods looks like a pretty good idea to me! We will follow this story and see how it unfolds.
In Health and happiness, Your Weekly Coach,
Phyllis Reid Jarvis