In the latest attempt to scare people away from their favorite, somewhat unhealthy foods, the Food and Drug Administration reports that high doses of acrylamide—which develops when foods like french fries and potato chips are cooked under high temperatures—can cause cancer.
While it was originally determined that high amounts of acrylamide could cause cancer in laboratory animals, scientists are confident that it could harm humans as well. Acrylamide develops in foods thanks to a reaction known as the Maillard Reaction, which is typically used to give cooked foods more flavor. In addition to appearing in thoroughly-cooked french fries, the chemical can also be found in plastics, some cosmetics and cigarette smoke.
Don't run away from the fries just yet, though. Some argue that extreme doses of acrylamide would be required to give humans cancer.
The FDA hasn't motioned for it to be banned, instead asking food service operators, manufacturers and growers to simply reduce the acrylamide levels in certain foods.