Potential food safety concerns in fried potato products in Kenya

Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya

Potential food safety concerns in fried potato products in Kenya

George O. Abong’1* and Jackson N. Kabira2

1Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Technology, University of Nairobi, P.O. Box 29053-00625, Nairobi (Kangemi), Kenya

2National Potato Research Centre (KARI), Tigoni, P.O. Box 338, Limuru. Nairobi, Kenya.

*Corresponding author: Email: georkoyo@yahoo.com; Phone: +254-735508558/700073386



Fried potato products, mainly French fries and potato crisps are consumed across all age-groups and socio-economic status. These products are sources of energy and provide between-the-meal snacks to many consumers all over the world, Kenya included. There exist different food preparation set-ups that process these products under different conditions while using a variety of additives. A number of safety issues have, however, risen in the past that can be linked to glycoalkaloids in raw potatoes used during processing. Quality and content of oil used for frying are increasingly being blamed for obesity and heart diseases in the changing lifestyles currently witnessed in Kenya. Presence of acrylamide, excessive use of flavor enhancers, colorants and food additives in general are some possible contributory factors under sharp focus as cases of cancer and high blood pressure spiral. Increased consumption of these products can as well lead to higher exposure of the population to possible carcinogens such as acrylamide and packaging migrants. This review analyzes the potential hazards in French fries and potato crisps processing chains taking into account the Kenyan context. The possible impact of these hazards to the general consumer is also discussed and potential areas of research and evaluation are indicated.


Key words: Toxicity, Glycoalkaloids, additives, acrylamide, oxidation products

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