Health Canada is proposing adding an enzyme, asparaginase, to fast food which breaks down asparagine. Asparagine, is a non essential amino acid, and is one of the key ingredients in the production of acrylamide. Besides being proposed as an ingredient in making french fries, asparaginase is also used to treat leukemia by starving the cancer cells of nutrients.
I see a few problems with this.
1. While in rodents there is the potential to develop cancer, the affects of acrylamide on humans are less clear. Some studies indicate a link while others show the levels to be low enough to not be a problem. Why are we adding a chemical to something that may not be a problem?
2. There is a warning with asparaginase treatment of severe allergic reaction, sometimes fatal. Prior to administering asparaginase to a cancer patient a doctor may perform a skin test to check for an allergic reaction. How will restaurants know who may have an allergic reaction to this enzyme? How would the customer know they may react to this chemical?
3. Any five year old can tell you that fast food is not healthy. And french fries are probably one of the worst things on the menu if you do eat there. Why is our government looking to make unhealthy food seem less harmful for us?
If there is the potential for the acrylamide from french fries to be carcinogenic then there really should only be one solution. Avoid french fries. It's not rocket science. Find the negative. Eliminate the negative. Experience better health.
What do you think? Should the government do what it can to make harmful foods less unhealthy for us? Or should the goal be to educate people from a young age of the all the downside from consuming these kind of foods.
ps...for all my friends in Quebec, poutine are totally different and not to be smeared by the above rant :)