Coffee beans and coffee cup acrylamide in coffee

Acrylamide in Coffee

Acrylamide is regulated in California by Prop 65 — Acrylamide in Coffee is becoming a topic of concern. ATS performs compliance testing to determine Acrylamide content in samples like coffee.
About Acrylamide

Acrylamide is a naturally occurring chemical compound that results from the high-temperature preparation of plant-based foods high in carbohydrates and low in proteins. As such, it appears in various food items like french fries, breakfast cereals, and toast. Manufacturers also use it in grout, cement, and other industrial binders where it serves to thicken the materials. Furthermore, smoking exposes people to acrylamide in significant doses.

Although it often features in everyday life, acrylamide is a potentially dangerous compound; it is one of many chemicals regulated by the 1986 California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act.

Proposition 65

More often referred to as Proposition 65, this law prohibits companies from dumping significant amounts of chemical compounds known to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity into public water sources. Secondly, it charges the state with maintaining an official list of those offending chemicals, updated yearly as new information becomes available, to ensure company compliance with the law.

Finally, Prop 65 mandates that businesses operating within the state of California provide sufficient warnings to consumers when they would be exposed to regulated chemicals. Those warnings take the form of labels, which are posted on any product or workplace that would expose consumers to a regulated chemical.

Administered by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), Prop 65 holds businesses responsible for labeling their products; this means that they must be aware of the chemical content of their product and respond accordingly. Businesses not complying with the law may be fined a hefty fee of $2500 per infraction per day.

Acrylamide in Coffee: What's the Connection?

Coffee is another product that can potentially contain acrylamide. The high-temperature roasting process that primes coffee beans for brewing is known to yield significant amounts of acrylamide. High-profile court cases regarding acrylamide in coffee have made their way into the public consciousness, increasing requests for Prop 65 compliance testing on coffee products for acrylamide content.

Acrylamide content will vary among coffees according to preparation methods, but since there is no known method for removing all acrylamide content from coffee, any of these consumer products may be subject to the Prop 65 labeling mandate.

For many companies, the most expedient way for them to find out how much of a regulated substance like acrylamide is in their product (or whether present at all) is to send a sample to a testing lab like Applied Technical Services.

Product Labeling Exemptions

Safe Harbor Levels (SHLs), state-recognized doses at which negligible risk is associated with human exposure, qualify exemptions to Prop 65’s labeling mandate. These values are expressed as the No Significant Risk Level (NSRL) for chemicals that can cause cancer, and Maximum Allowable Dose Level (MADL) for chemicals that can cause reproductive toxicity. Products or workplaces that expose consumers to doses of regulated chemicals that are demonstrably lower than their SHL do not have to be labeled.

Acrylamide has been listed separately as both a cancer-causing chemical and a reproductive harm chemical, meaning it has two different SHLs associated with it: 0.2 and 140 micrograms per day, respectively. ATS has the tools and the method to discover acrylamide at these low detection limits to help clients determine Prop 65 compliance.
Testing for Acrylamide
ATS uses Gas Chromatography / Mass Spectroscopy (GC/MS) to locate specified compounds in samples. This method can identify chemicals of interest, such as acrylamide, and determine their prevalence in the composition of the sample at the parts-per-billion level. We use this information to help toxicologists determine whether client products need to be labeled according to Prop 65.
ATS and Prop 65 Testing

For over 50 years, ATS has delivered testing, inspection, and engineering consulting services of unequaled quality. We proudly serve clients from around the world who come from many different industries.

The ATS chemistry lab returns accurate results within a quick turnaround window because of our powerful equipment operated by knowledgeable staff. Our team of chemists is thoroughly experienced in using GC-MS to perform Prop 65 compliance testing. If you need to know the acrylamide content of your coffee product, contact us today for a thorough analysis of your sample — we take a closer look.

ATS partners with manufacturers/importers, legal professionals, toxicologists, and consumer advocacy groups to ensure Proposition 65 compliance.

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