Acrylamide in food products-chiefly in commercially available potato chips, potato fries, cereals, and bread-was determined by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Samples were homogenized with water/dichloromethane, centrifuged, and filtered through a 5 kDa filter. The filtrate was cleaned up on mixed mode, anion and cation exchange (Oasis MAX and MCX) and carbon (Envirocarb) cartridges. Analysis was done by isotope dilution ([D(3)]- or [(13)C(3)]acrylamide) electrospray LC-MS/MS using a 2 x 150 mm (or 2 x 100 mm) Thermo HyperCarb column eluted with 1 mM ammonium formate in 15% (or 10% for the 2 x 100 mm column) methanol. Thirty samples of foods were analyzed. Concentrations of acrylamide varied from 14 ng/g (bread) to 3700 ng/g (potato chips). Acrylamide was formed during model reactions involving heating of mixtures of amino acids and glucose in ratios similar to those found in potatoes. In model reactions between amino acids and glucose, asparagine was found to be the main precursor of acrylamide. Thus, in the reaction between nitrogen-15 (amido)-labeled asparagine and glucose, corresponding (15)N-labeled acrylamide was formed. The yield of the model reaction is approximately 0.1%.