A patented flavonoid extract may help neutralise the creation of the carcinogen acrylamide that forms in the cooking of certain types of starchy food, notably fried items such as potato crisps and French fries.

Researchers at the Department of Food Technology in Helsinki, Finland, added a special flavonoid – an antioxidant produced by plant metabolism and which gives them their colour – during the deep-frying of potato crisps and found that acrylamide levels were reduced by half.

The special flavonoid Flavomare(tm) is owned by SLK Companies in Helsinki, and contains mainly cathechins (compounds found predominantly in green tea) and quercitins (a flavonoid found primarily in apples, onions and black tea), according to food technology professor Lea Hyvönen.

Hyvönen said that the tests are so far limited but she believes the evidence indicates that the patented substance works to hinder the development of acrylamide.

Previous studies have indicated that flavonoids can have preventative effects on heart disease and cancers.