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Cancer Concern?

By: Sahar El-Hodiri
By: Sahar El-Hodiri

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Can foods like bread, potato chips and french fries cause cancer?

Scientists in Europe find a surprisingly high level of a cancer causing substance when these foods are cooked at very high temperatures.

So far, three European studies have come to the same conclusion.

When you bake or fry starchy foods like potatoes, they can form a cancerous substance.

That's what the World Health Organization is discussing at a three day emergency meeting.

A Swedish study found baking or frying starchy foods like potatoes or breads forms high levels of acrylamide, a substance believed to increase our risk of cancer.

Kathy Gilmartin with the American Cancer Society says the findings are preliminary, and only show the health risk in animals.

Gilmartin says, "What America needs to do and what people in Kansas need to do is to take a step back and wait. We need far more research and far more studies need to be done to guarantee that this is not a human carcinogen."

Since the Swedish study, scientists in Britain and Norway have published simliar findings.

And they're getting the attention of the Food And Drug Administration.

An FDA spokesperson says, "This is a significant finding, but we need to take a closer look to see if it's really a concern. We're currently doing limited testing on food implicated in European studies, no definite time frame on when results will be in."

The data so far is limited as to how acrylamide forms in food, and what it can do to our health.

That's why this week scientists from around the world are taking a closer look.

Until there's more definitive research, the FDA says we should continue it's current dietary guidelines: eat a balanced, healthy diet.

The World Health Organization will release findings from it's summit on Thursday.


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