Functional Technologies Corp. has developed, tested and filed patent applications for yeast technology that reduces the formation of acrylamide, a carcinogen formed in baked, toasted and fried foods.

Since 2002, acrylamide has emerged as a critical issue for producers of bread, cookies, crackers, breakfast cereal, French fries, potato chips and other food and beverages.

The Vancouver, B.C.-based company will be partnering with companies in the yeast and food processing/manufacturing industries to accelerate its proprietary yeast strain product development and commercialization. Preliminary discussions have already been initiated with some prospective partners. However, given the potential of the large volumes of yeast required for numerous applications, the company believes there is sufficient scope to work with multiple partners. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) categorizes acrylamide as a Group 2A carcinogen. Additionally, California health officials recently proposed that acrylamide be listed as a known reproductive toxicant, under Proposition 65, in addition to its inclusion as a carcinogen since 1990. Acrylamide also has been recently added to the candidate list for inclusion on the European Union’s Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) following a unanimous decision by an expert EU health panel. Importantly, national food safety regulatory bodies and the food industry have been cooperating closely on approaches aimed at reducing acrylamide levels in processed foods.

“Acrylamide is a high-priority concern among consumers, the food industry and health regulators around the world,” says Garth Greenham, president and COO of Functional Technologies. “Preliminary lab testing is positive and we’re very excited to utilize yeast, with its long history of use and familiarity in the food industry, to help resolve this important health concern.”

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