We improve scientific knowledge on exposure and mitigation of contaminants in food and help ensure safer food products

Background

Consumers are often exposed to naturally occurring contaminants and process-related compounds in their diets. It is therefore crucial to build scientific knowledge / understanding on how these compounds are formed, to improve how we detect and measure them and to assess their safety.

Objectives

The task force aims to maintain and improve public health by advancing the scientific understanding of such substances and assessing the magnitude of their impact on human health. Some main areas of focus include consideration of toxicity, exposure, mitigation impact and analytical aspects.

Impact

Two highly successful publications were produced as a result of a cutting-edge workshop organised in 2011 on MCPD and glycidyl esters (9-10 November 2011, Brussels, Belgium). A wide range of stakeholders such as the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) were involved. They succeeded in resolving several analytical issues and helped gaining a better understanding of their impact on metabolism (B.D. Craft et al., 2013; C. Crews, et al., 2013).

The task force generated a comprehensive overview of current knowledge on plant metabolites of mycotoxins, also called masked mycotoxins (F. Berthiller et al., 2013). Aspects from analytical methods, occurrence in crops livestock, and mammalian metabolism up to toxicology were covered. The need for further data was highlighted. This publication was cited 172 times and the outcomes of this activity were presented at the 8th World Mycotoxin Forum (10-12 November 2014, Vienna, Austria).

What’s New

  • Latest results of the activity on ‘Mycotoxin Mitigation’ will be presented at the 9th World Mycotoxin Forum (6-9 June, 2016, Winnipeg, Canada).
  • New publication on ‘Impact of Food Processing on Mycotoxin Contamination’ published in Mycotoxin Research.
  • New activity proposal on ‘Combined Exposure to Mycotoxins’ under development.

For more detailed information, please contact Dr Pierre Dussort at pdussort@ilsieurope.be

Task Force Members

Ms Sue O’Hagan – Chair PepsiCo International UK
Dr Michele Suman – Vice-Chair Barilla G&R Fratelli IT
Prof. Gerhard Eisenbrand – Co-Chair University of Kaiserslautern DE
Dr Neil Buck General Mills CH
Mr Thomas Green Unilever UK
Mr Helmut Günther Mondelēz Europe DE
Dr Paul Hanlon Abbott Nutrition US
Dr Clare Hazel Premier Foods UK
Dr Matthias Heume ADM DE
Dr Hiroshi Honda Kao Corporation JP
Dr Brett Jeffery Mars Cocolate UK
Dr Gunhild Kozianowski Südzucker Group DE
Dr Yves Le Bail-Collet Cargill BE
Dr Gloria Pellegrino Luigi Lavazza IT
Dr Gabriele Scholz Nestlé CH
Dr Gerrit Speijers* Scientific Advisor NL
Dr Pierre Dussort ILSI Europe BE

 

Expert Groups

New Approaches to Exposure Assessment of Process-Related Contaminants in Food by Biomarker Monitoring

Objectives

The development of new approaches for assessing human exposure to chemical contaminants increasingly rely on biomarker monitoring in easily accessible body fluids such as urine, saliva or blood. The advent of methodologies to monitor biomarkers of diet-related exposure to process-related compounds is expected to allow for a significant step forward in risk assessment, as well as supporting decision-making and prioritisation for risk mitigation. The aim of this activity is to provide guidance on the development and application of biomarkers to assess exposure to process-related compounds in the food chain. It is intended to provide researchers working in the biomarker field with tools for designing studies and validating biomarkers. Moreover, important characteristics needed to identify biomarkers of added value for the risk assessment process will be suggested.

Activity

Biomarkers to assess and monitor systemic exposure to process-related compounds (like acrylamide, monochloropropanediol (MCPD) and glycidyl-esters, furan and acrolein) and / or their human key metabolites may include mercapturic acids, hemoglobin (Hb) adducts and DNA adducts. The expert group will develop case studies of systemic exposure with representative compounds. These case studies will be conducted based on the toxicological relevance of the compound (e.g. low margin of exposure (MoE)) and data availability in order to:

  • Review the published evidence on exposure biomarkers;
  • Propose an approach to develop and validate biomarkers to measure dietary exposure with the help of e.g. duplicate diet studies (duplicates of meals as consumed to be analysed);
  • Expand on existing knowledge, identify gaps and define requirements for further food contaminants with low MoEs (< 10 000).

Expected Output

The activity will review the existing published data on biomarkers of exposure and propose an approach to develop and validate biomarkers of dietary exposure to process contaminants with the help of, for example, duplicate diet studies. The activity will develop guidance to aid the design of biomarker studies that can inform risk assessment authorities especially in relation to decisions on the need for risk management measures.

Reactions and Potential Mitigation of Mycotoxins during Food Processing

Objectives

Mycotoxins are toxic, secondary metabolites produced by fungi that significantly affect the quality, safety and yield of important crops used worldwide for food and feed. Recent evidence suggests that some food production processes lead to the reduction of levels of parent mycotoxins in finished products compared to the corresponding raw materials / ingredients.

Activity

The activity is reviewing options to optimise or introduce additional food processing in order to reduce mycotoxin contamination of food and feed. The final goal is to minimise food and feed losses while maximising the safe use of crops.

Expected Output

The publication will suggest food processes that can lower or eliminate the (parent) mycotoxins. It will also summarise and analyse the data on different decontamination / detoxifying processes from food commodities. Finally, the impact of transformed mycotoxins leading to a lower mycotoxin concentration and a lower toxicity will be illustrated and discussed.

Expert Group Members

New Approaches to Exposure Assessment of Process-Related Contaminants in Food by Biomarker Monitoring

Prof. Ivonne Rietjens – Chair Wageningen University NL
Dr Gabriele Scholz – Vice-Chair Nestlé CH
Prof. Gerhard Eisenbrand University of Kaiserlautern DE
Mr Helmut Günther Mondelēz Europe DE
Dr Paul Hanlon Abbott Nutrition US
Dr Hiroshi Honda Kao Corporation JP
Ms Sue O’Hagan PepsiCo International UK
Dr Albrecht Seidel Biochemical Institute for Environmental Carcinogens (BIU) DE
Prof. Angela Mally University of Würzburg DE
Prof. James Swenberg University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) Gillings School of Global Public Health US
Dr Justin Teeguarden Pacific Northwest National Laboratory US
Dr Pierre Dussort ILSI Europe BE

Reactions and Potential Mitigation of Mycotoxins during Food Processing

Dr Michele Suman – Chair Barilla G&R Fratelli IT
Dr Gerrit Speijers – Vice-Chair Scientific Advisor NL
Prof. Franz Berthiller University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences AT
Dr Johan De Meester Cargill BE
Prof. Gerhard Eisenbrand University of Kaiserlautern DE
Prof. Petr Karlovsky University of Göttingen DE
Dr Isabelle Oswald National Institute of Agricultural Research (INRA) FR
Dr Irene Perrin Nestlé CH
Dr Pierre Dussort ILSI Europe BE

Publications

All Publications

The Role of Hazard- and Risk-Based Approaches in Ensuring Food Safety

Trends in Food Science & Technology. 2015;46(2) Part A:176-188. Supported by the following task forces: Emerging Microbiological Issues, Food Allergy, Food Intake Methodology, Novel Foods and Nanotechnology, Process Related Compounds and Natural Toxins, Risk Analysis in Food Microbiology, and Threshold of Toxicological Concern.

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