• There are two potato varieties with lower probable carcinogen levels
  • The fries made from these varieties are not golden but are whiter
  • Participants of the taste test rated the traditional and new fries similarly except for the color
  • Educating consumers is the key to introducing safer-to-eat french fries

Many people around the world love french fries but previous studies have shown that frying potatoes at high temperatures can naturally form high levels of acrylamide, a chemical considered as a probable carcinogen that is also present in cigarette smoke.

However, would people accept safer-to-eat french fries if they don't look like the golden french fries that we know?

Safer-To-Eat French Fries

There are two potato varieties that have shown to produce lower levels of acrylamide compared to the industry standard Russet Burbank when fried: AF4296-3 and Easton. This is good news for lovers of french fries who are worried about the potential health impacts of eating french fries. However, the fries produced from these varieties are actually much lighter compared to the golden fries most people are used to.

In the past, it took years for consumers to embrace safer-to-consume products such as low-fat milk. So, the question now is how people would accept these much lighter fries.

To find out, the researchers of a new study fertilized Easton, AF4296-3 and Russet Burbank tubers at four different application rates, then, processed them into french fries. Forty seven participants then tried the 12 samples and rated them based on factors such as aroma, taste, and texture.

Incredibly, the rates for all three varieties did not differ much except when it came to the whitish color of the new, safer-to-eat varieties, which the participants rated significantly lower. However, when the participants were informed about the acrylamide content of the fries, the overall purchase intent and liking for Russet Burbank fries decreased.

Golden French Fries

The study shows that, if people could only look past the whitish color of the new varieties, they could actually enjoy safer-to-eat french fries without having to sacrifice the taste, texture and aroma that they are used to. However, educating consumers is the key to achieving safer french fries consumption.

“Education may be needed to inform consumers about the merits of whiter french fry color as a trade‐off for reduced exposure to acrylamide, which is a probable dietary carcinogen,” the researchers wrote.

This means that it is important for consumers to be more knowledgeable about the acrylamide content of the french fries they are buying so that they would not reject the whiter fries just because of its color.

“It took years to convince consumers to switch from whole milk to low-fat or skim milk; hopefully changing consumer acceptance of these fries will not take as long,” study co-author Mary Ellen Camire said. “French fries, like any fried food, should be consumed in moderation. Our goal is to supply consumers with a satisfying fry that is lower in acrylamide. ”

The study is published in The Journal of Food Science.

French Fries
Many people love french fries, but studies have discovered that potato fries contain a potential carcinogen also found in cigarette smoke. Pixabay