Wednesday, 20 September 2017


The European Commission is not going to ban Belgian frites, as a spokesman told journalists in response to criticism of an initiative aimed at regulating the way they are made.

The commission is proposing that the potatoes should be blanched first to prevent the formation of acrylamide, an allegedly carcinogenic compound that can form in the frying process. It is consulting producers on a code of practice to reduce acrylamide intake.

On the other hand, Belgium says European commission’s proposal to change cooking process for safety reasons will spoil chips’ taste.

A similar risk to that posed by the frite is apparently also found in roast potatoes, biscuits, porridge, coffee and bread. The European Food Safety Authority has said children are most at risk. In an appeal to food commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, Belgian tourism minister Ben Weyts urged a rethink for the sake of his country’s cultural integrity.

“It is important to be mindful not to take measures that have unintended and far-reaching consequences for our rich gastronomic tradition,” Andriukaitis wrote, in a letter to the food policy commissioner. “Our fries owe their flavor to the craftsmanship of our chippies, who fry chips raw and then fry them a second time. I understand that outside our country they have different cultures. But we have our own cultural tradition. It would be a shame if the European Union prohibited it.”

“The commission has no, repeat no, intention of banning the Belgian frite,” its chief spokesman Margaritis Schinas said. “The president [of the commission, Jean Claude Juncker] is very attached to the culinary heritage of European member states,” Schinas added . “Le frite c’est chic.” 

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