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Canada seeks anti-cancer additive comment

OTTAWA, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Health Canada is asking the public for comment on putting the cancer-fighting enzyme asparaginase in baked and fried food.

McCain's, Frito Lay and other companies are urging the Canadian government to approve the food additive that cuts down on the levels of L-asparagine -- a precursor of acrylamide -- which forms in starchy food that is baked or fried including bread, crackers, cookies, French fries and potato chips, the Toronto Star reported Tuesday.

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In 2002, a Swedish study discovered high levels of what was considered a probable carcinogen, acrylamide, formed in some food after high-temperature frying or baking.

In 2005, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization approved adding asparaginase to potato chips, French fries and packaged cookies, the Star reported.

A year ago, food industry groups including the Baking Association of Canada, McCain Foods and Frito Lay Canada told the government it approved of adding the food additive and asked Ottawa to "treat the approval of all tools with the potential of reducing acrylamide formation in food as a high priority."

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