Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said the substance "may pose a risk to human health".
Health Canada is implementing a three-pronged risk management approach to cut the exposure of Canadians to the substance. A spokesperson said: "The approach includes pressing the food industry to develop and implement acrylamide reduction strategies for use by food processors and the food service industry; regularly updating consumption advice; and coordinating risk management efforts for acrylamide in food with key international food regulatory partners."
Food manufacturers have been making efforts to remove or reduce the chemical in their products following research carried out in 2002 where Swedish Food Administration scientists reported unexpectedly high levels of acrylamide in carbohydrate-rich foods and published evidence linking the chemical to cancer in laboratory rats.
The inclusion of the chemical on Health Canada's toxic list is part of the Canadian government's ongoing review of nearly two hundred chemical substances in widespread commercial use that have never before been subjected to thorough risk analysis.
The majority of acrylamide is used in the production of polymers which are then used to manufacture food packaging. But the primary source of exposure is from food sources - although the level is low, said Health Canada.
The chemical is produced when starchy foods are cooked at high temperatures. It forms by a reaction, known as the Maillard effect, between sugar and an amino acid called asparagine, which creates the brown colour and tasty flavour of baked, fried and toasted foods.
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