The idea is this: Cooking starchy foods – things like potatoes and bread – at over 120°C causes something called the “Maillard reaction”, which is what makes the lovely brown colour and flavour, but also creates chemicals that help the formation of “acrylamides”.
High doses of acrylamides have been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals. They’ve also been known to cause health problems in humans who work with it in industry. So the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has begun a campaign called “Go for Gold”, recommending people cook their roast potatoes or toast to a golden-brown colour, rather than a deeper brown or black, to reduce the amount of acrylamide in their diet. They also recommend that people don’t keep their potatoes in the fridge, because that helps create chemicals which, when cooked, form acrylamides.
None of the information is new – the FSA was saying similar things about acrylamides last year.
It’s just the Go for Gold campaign itself that’s new.