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21 Community ‘Go for Gold’ to reduce acrylamide consumption THE FOOD STANDARDS

AGENCY (FSA) has launched a new campaign, teaming up with Olympian Denise Lewis, to help people understand how to minimise exposure to a possible carcinogen called acrylamide when cooking at home. Acrylamide is a chemical that is

created when many foods, particularly starchy foods like potatoes and bread, are cooked for long periods at high temperatures, such as when baking, frying, grilling, toasting, and roasting. The scientific consensus is that acrylamide has the potential to cause cancer in humans. The FSA has teamed up with

Olympic gold medallist and mother of four Denise Lewis to empower people to make small changes to how they cook, to help minimise acrylamide consumption in the home: Go for gold – as a general rule

of thumb, aim for a golden yellow colour or lighter when frying, baking, toasting or roasting starchy foods like potatoes, root vegetables and bread. Check the pack – follow the

cooking instructions carefully when frying or oven-heating packaged food products such as chips, roast potatoes and parsnips. The on-pack instructions are designed to cook the product correctly. This ensures that you aren’t cooking starchy foods for too long or at temperatures which are too high. Eat a varied and balanced diet

– while we can’t completely avoid risks like acrylamide in food, eating a healthy, balanced diet that includes basing meals on starchy carbohydrates and getting your five-a-day will help reduce your risk of cancer. Don't keep raw potatoes in the

fridge if you intend to roast or fry them – storing raw potatoes in the fridge can increase overall acrylamide levels. Raw potatoes should ideally be stored in a dark, cool place at temperatures above 6°C. Commenting on her involvement

with the 'Go for Gold' campaign, Denise Lewis said: "As a mum, the well-being of my family is my top priority, particularly when it comes to the meals I cook for them at home. With so many factors to consider, it's great that the FSA is helping people to understand the changes we can make to reduce acrylamide in the food we eat regularly at home.” The FSA is launching the ‘Go for

Gold’ campaign following findings from its Total Diet Study. The results confirm that people in the UK currently consume higher levels of the chemical than is desirable. Steve Wearne, Director of Policy

at the Food Standards Agency, commented: "Our research indicates that the majority of people are not

aware that acrylamide exists, or that they might be able to reduce their personal intake. We want our 'Go for Gold' campaign to highlight the issue so that consumers know how to make the small changes that may reduce their acrylamide consumption whilst still eating plenty of starchy carbohydrates and vegetables as recommended in government healthy eating advice. “Although there is more to know

about the true extent of the acrylamide risk, there is an important job for government, industry and others to do to help reduce acrylamide intake. This campaign is part of the FSA's wider work to reduce the level of acrylamide that people consume. “The FSA is continuing to work

closely with the food industry to reduce acrylamide in the food you buy, including the development of practical tools like an industry toolkit and codes of practice which will be embedded throughout the food chain.”

81% of Welsh people superstitious A STUDY has revealed that

more than four fifths of Welsh people admit to being superstitious – the second highest percentage in the UK. Only people hailing from the north-

west of England are more superstitious than the Welsh, according to data compiled by online lottery company Lottoland. The poll, which followed the

first Friday 13th of the year, asked respondents their thoughts regarding superstitions, and whether or not they played a part in their lives. The top five superstitions in the

UK were avoiding walking under scaffolding and ladders (81%), counting magpies (76%), not opening umbrellas indoors (71%), avoiding breaking mirrors (67%) and the number 13 (62%). In Wales, most respondents said

that they avoided walking under ladders and scaffolding. However, it was not clear whether this was a result of an ingrained superstition or basic common sense. Of the self- confessed ‘superstitious’

respondents, more than half (53%) admitted that at least one or more of their

superstitions were most likely to have developed in their childhood, as a result of a parent or grandparent's personal beliefs. A further 22% confessed their superstitious tendencies manifested after an incident or experience they’d previously gone through. Next, in order to decipher which

of the UK regions were the most and least superstitious, as well as the most prevalent superstitions held within each area, researchers looked into the percentage of respondents from each part of the UK that stated they were superstitious, as well as the most common belief held amongst residents of that region:

• North-West – 83% (Count the number of magpies)

• Wales – 81% (Avoid walking under scaffolding/ladders)

• South-East – 81% (Never crack a mirror)

• Northern Ireland – 79% (Avoid walking under scaffolding/ladders)

• London – 77% (Avoiding the number 13)

• North-East – 76% (Never crack a mirror)

• West Midlands – 74% (Count the number of magpies)

• East of England – 73% (Never open an umbrella indoors)

• Yorkshire and Humberside – 73% (Never put new shoes on the table)

• Scotland – 72% (Count the number of magpies)

• East Midlands – 70% (Avoid walking under scaffolding/ladders)

• South West – 68% (Never crack a mirror)

Dan Hawkins, of www.Lottoland., said: “Whilst many Britons would no doubt laugh off the idea of the supernatural, ghosts or psychic abilities, it is very interesting and telling just how many traditional superstitions are actually still ingrained in the minds of Britons, and part of their daily lives. “Many superstitions can be traced

back to an older relative holding on to superstitions throughout their childhoods, whilst some are manifested as a result of a previous experience, and the internal need to protect oneself from any future harm.”

‘Go for Gold’ campaign: Supported by Olympian Denise Lewis

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