Some foods simply taste better when they’re kept cold – but putting potatoes in the refrigerator is potentially harmful
The FSA warn that potatoes are the most important food to keep out the fridge
When it comes to storing food, there is always conflicting advice or old wives’ tales about the best thing to do.
You might think that colder is better – after all, fridges are for keeping food fresh – and you could be tempted to put all your perishable groceries in there.
But there’s one food you should never refrigerate, according to the Foods Standards Agency .
The FSA website explains: “The most important food not to keep in the fridge are potatoes.
“When these are stored in the fridge, the starch in the potato is converted to sugar. When baked or fried, these sugars combine with the amino acid asparagine and produce the chemical acrylamide, which is thought to be harmful.”
Baking refrigerated potatoes could produce the chemical
Raw potatoes should be stored in a cool, dry place – just not in the refrigerator.
What is acrylamide?
This is a chemical used in industrial processes such as the production of paper, dyes and plastics. Traces can generally be found in consumer products, such as food packaging – but it has also been found in foods.
Why is it dangerous?
A quick online search of acrylamide immediately tells you that the chemical has been linked to cancer.
The cancer.gov website explains: “Studies in rodent models have found that acrylamide exposure poses a risk for several types of cancer.”
What is it found in?
Potato chips and French fries have been found to contain higher levels of the substance compared with other foods.
Keep them in a cool, dry place
Should I stop eating certain foods?
The FSA says: “The Agency does not advise people to stop eating any of these foods, but you should follow Department of Health advice from the NHS Choices website on eating a healthy, balanced diet.
“We also recommend that, when making chips at home, they are cooked to a light golden colour. Bread should be toasted to the lightest colour acceptable.
“However, manufacturers’ instructions for frying or oven-heating foods should be followed carefully.”
If you’re making chips, make sure they are cooked to a light golden colour
Should we be worried?
According to cancer.gov, “the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations stated that the levels of acrylamide in foods pose a ‘major concern’ and that more research is needed to determine the risk of dietary acrylamide exposure.
Although the chemical has been linked with cancer in studies with rodents, human studies are still incomplete.