Food Standards Agency changes rules on what can be kept in the fridge

Storing potatoes in the fridge was previously thought to increase risk of cancerous chemical

Maryam Zakir-Hussain
Monday 27 February 2023 09:54 GMT
Potatoes can now be stored in the fridge, food experts say
Potatoes can now be stored in the fridge, food experts say (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Potatoes can now be stored in the fridge, food experts have said as they U-turn from years of warning about the dangers of chilling the humble spud.

It was previously believed that storing potatoes in the fridge had harmful effects on health due to the production of acrylamide, a chemical that is thought to increase the risk of cancer.

Experts believed this chemical was formed as starches turn into sugars in the cold temperatures.

However, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has recently advised that potatoes can be kept in the fridge, and doing so can actually increase their shelf life.

The food watchdog explains on its website: “We previously advised consumers against the storage of raw potatoes in the fridge at home as it was thought this could lead to the formation of additional sugars (known as cold sweetening), which can then convert into acrylamide when the potatoes are fried, roasted or baked.

“A recent study, which has been reviewed by the Committee on the Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT), has shown that home storage of potatoes in the fridge doesn’t materially increase acrylamide forming potential when compared to storage in a cool, dark place.

“So, if you wish to help avoid food waste, you can choose to store either in the fridge or in a cool, dark place,” it adds.

The updated guidance will be welcomed by households who are dealing with supermarket rationings which is expected to last weeks.

Tesco and Aldi are limiting customers to three units of tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers as a precautionary measure, while Asda is also limiting customers on lettuce, salad bags, broccoli, cauliflower and raspberries, and Morrisons has set a limit of two items per customer across tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and peppers.

Retailers believe the problems stem from poor yields on the continent and north Africa, and that supplies will improve in the coming days or weeks.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in