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Organic potato chips: Crispy nibbling fun with harmful substances

Photo: Rolf Vennenbernd / dpa-tmn

Acrylamide, mineral oil hydrocarbons, glycidol: consumer advocates of the magazine "Öko-Test" have detected three carcinogenic pollutants in organic potato chips. Of the seven organic chips tested, only the Dennree brand received the grade "very good". The remaining six organic products failed the test completely because of the pollutants. Grade: "inadequate".

The manufacturers did not provide the magazine with any explanations as to how the pollutants got into the chip bags. However, the testers have a suspicion: Since the use of germination inhibitors is prohibited in organic farming, the potatoes would have to be stored in a very cool place, they say. This leads to the accumulation of sugar in the tubers, which forms higher acrylamide contents during frying.

However, this is not enough as a sole explanation. This is because some bio-chips exceeded the applicable EU values so much that the difficult storage conditions could only be one of several factors, it said.

Likewise, some manufacturers have room for improvement in quality control. This is because detected glycaeol kaloids such as solanine are usually found in the green and germinated parts of the potatoes. They cause nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

In the case of conventional potato chips, the test results were significantly more positive. In a total of 13 test candidates, no product was acrylamide-free – but the manufacturers seem to have a better grip on the problem with the carcinogenic substance. After all, 6 out of 13 conventional potato chips received the grade "good".