Four food manufacturers agreed to a settlement that will have them reducing the levels of a carcinogen in their products.
Frito-Lay; Kettle Foods, maker of Kettle Chips; Lance Inc., maker of Cape Cod Chips; and Heinz, which produces Ore-Ida frozen french fries and tater tots, agreed to reduce the levels of acrylamide in their products over the next three years, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The companies also agreed to pay $2 million in penalties.
Acrylamide forms when potatoes and other starchy foods are cooked at high temperatures. It is used industrially for treating sewage, and according to the AP studies have shown the chemical causes cancer in lab animals and nerve damage to workers exposed to high levels.
And you thought you were just getting BBQ flavoring with your chips.
The settlement is the result of a lawsuit initiated by former California state attorney general Bill Lockyer, who sued fast-food chains and potato chip companies, saying they had failed to warn California consumers about the dangers of acrylamide, according to the Chronicle.
Some companies had already taken the initiative to get rid of the substance in their products. In January, Procter & Gamble agreed to reduce acrylamide by 50 percent in Pringles potato chips. McDonald's, KFC, Wendy's and Burger King, according to the article, agreed last year to post warnings about acrylamide in chips and fries.
The FDA is still studying the chemical, and advises consumers not to over-brown fried potatoes when cooking them to reduce levels of acrylamide.
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