Potato chip companies have agreed to settle a California lawsuit that charged them with not warning consumers about a cancer-causing chemical in their snacks, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Frito-Lay, Kettle, and the company that makes Cape Cod potato chips will lower the levels of acrylamide in their products and pay the state around $2 million.
Acrylamide is produced when potatoes are cooked at high temperatures, as in frying. To meet state guidelines and avoid a warning label, Kettle, for instance, will need to reduce levels by 87%. The chemical is used industrially to treat sewage and its presence in food was unknown until a 2002 study. The FDA has not regulated it yet but offers this advice: If you're frying potatoes at home, don't brown them too much. (Read more California stories.)