Most people are probably aware that industrial potato chips are not a healthy vegetable snack. Anyone who picks up the organic version on the supermarket shelf in the hope that at least there won’t be any harmful substances in the bag of chips will have to be disappointed by these test results: The magazine “Ökotest” has found that many organic potato chips are heavily contaminated.

In the test, six out of seven organic products scored “unsatisfactory” due to high levels of pollutants. The conventional products were significantly better in comparison: of the non-organic products, only 3 out of 13 were “unsatisfactory”. However, the test winner proves that organic chips don’t have to be bad: Dennree’s organic chips are the only product in the entire test that Ökotest rated “very good”. For better comparability, only paprika chips were examined.

Apart from the test winner, all bio-chips revealed a major problem with acrylamide in the laboratory test. The substance is produced during frying and is considered potentially carcinogenic. In animal experiments with acrylamide in feed, an increased risk of genetic changes and tumors was found, writes the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety. The exact risk to humans has not been conclusively clarified.

None of the potato chip candidates in the test were completely free of acrylamide. While many products only contained trace amounts, the acrylamide content was increased or significantly increased in six of the seven organic products. The analysis showed that three organic varieties even exceeded the current EU guidelines for acrylamide in potato chips. When it comes to conventional chips, only three products were devalued due to increased acrylamide levels. The fact that organic chips have a particular problem here could be due to the fact that the potatoes have to be stored differently than conventional products due to the lack of germination inhibitors, Ökotest suspects.

The organic products also performed worse when it came to other pollutants: the laboratory test detected increased amounts of saturated mineral oil hydrocarbons (MOSH) in five organic products and three conventional products. According to Ökotest, three organic varieties also contained the even more problematic aromatic mineral oil hydrocarbons (MOAH), which are also suspected of increasing the risk of cancer. And four organic products had increased levels of glycidol, which can be produced by contaminated sunflower oil.

In addition to the “very good” positive outlier for organic chips, Ökotest also rated six conventional chips as “good”. Of course, that doesn’t mean they’re healthy. But at least they were largely free of pollutants.