Since the acrylamide exposure in UK is considered as too high, the FSA started the campaign “Go for Gold”. Its aim is to reduce the acrylamide contents in foodstuffs. However, weak points have been visible from the beginning:
- The campaign focuses on consumers and caterer. But on the basis of the Total Diet Studies the FSA revealed that the exposure is heavily determined by packaged food. It remains to be seen whether FSA will launch a third part of the campaign to address also the producers.
- Media coverage suggests that the FSA has only half-heartedly launched the campaign. During the introduction, authority representatives played down the risk of acrylamide.
FSA not convincing
Immediately critics spoke up. A statistician, for example, who felt inspired to explain that the difference between human exposure and the dose that leads to significantly higher cancer rates in experimental animals, is so large that people do not need to be worried. A blogger recommended burnt toast as harmless – without any ironic undertone. Other comments sounded defiant: It is anyway impossible to ban dark toast. Until this point the PR department of the FSA should have been prepared and could have intervened. The arguments were not new, mostly only old wine in new bottles. The FSA should have enough counterarguments.
But then something happened that was very surprising, probably even for the strictest critics. Photos showed up on Instagram on which the FSA head proudly presented the dark roasted results of his cooking skills. Without giving the impression that he was not happy with it. Gloating media coverage followed immediately.
It is obvious that the campaign needs a little miracle to be successful after all. It is alarming that the user cannot find any more information about “Go for Gold” on the start page of FSA, just a few weeks after its introduction.