The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is extending the comment period for the agency’s notice requesting comments, scientific data, and information on acrylamide in food to January 25, 2010. 

In August, the Federal Register published a notice with a 90-day comment period to gain more data and input on acrylamide in food, an issue that is receiving more attention from the public health community as of late.

Acrylamide is used to make glues, papers, cosmetics and in general construction–but research also shows that the chemical, which is likely a carcinogen, shows up in certain starchy foods that are prepared at high temperatures.

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), food and cigarettes are the two major sources of exposure to acrylamide.

Potato chips, french fries, baguettes, and other starchy foods cooked at high temperatures have been found to have high levels of the substance.

Though scientists believe acrylamide likely presents some level of risk to public health, the exact effects of exposure remain unclear. According to NCI, the scientific evidence is still incomplete. “Although studies in rodent models suggest that acrylamide is a potential carcinogen, additional epidemiological cohort studies are needed to help determine any effects of dietary acrylamide intake on human cancer risk.”

Those interested in submitting comments to the Federal Register can do so at Written comments should be directed to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5100 Paint Branch Pkwy, College Park, MD 20740.