Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Health Canada May Add Anti-Cancer Drugs to Junk Food

(National Post Summary)

Health Canada is taking a rather unconventional approach to combating the health risks associated with eating certain junk foods by proposing the addition of anti-cancer drugs to these foods.

Certain carbohydrate-rich foods, such as potatoes, when fried at high temperatures, not only produce a tasty (but not-so-healthy) treat - they also produce a carcinogenic compound called acrylamide as a by-product, which has been linked to cancers in animals and is considered harmful to humans.

Scientists have been looking for a solution to the acrylamide problem ever since the time of it's discovery seven years ago. Now, Health Canada is proposing the removal of the requirement for a prescription to administer the enzyme asparaginase, so that food manufacturers can add it into acrylamide-producing foods in order to curb the production of the carcinogen.

This process is considered safe, however some scientists question whether or not adding asparginase to foods will actually be a viable solution to the acrylamide problem or if it will just be a waste of money. Health Canada is currently seeking feedback on this proposal.

To find out more about acrylamide or Health Canada's Proposal, read the article "Health Canada proposes putting anti-cancer drug into french fries, potato chips" From the National Post (Dec. 21, 2009).