Background

A lot of debate has surrounded the use of animal studies in nutrition and food safety, especially regarding identifying when they are mandatory and when they can be replaced by alternative methods. There is a global call from regulatory and governmental bodies (JRC and EFSA for example) and also from animal welfare stakeholders to ensure that animal testing is reduced and used only when necessary. The development of new alternative methods to animal testing offers new opportunities for food safety, nutrition and efficacy studies.

Objectives

The task force is composed of stakeholders from industry, academia and regulatory / governmental bodies who will review and assess the recently developed methods. They will provide evidence-based science on their potential use and limitations and evaluate when these methods could replace animal testing.

Expected Impact

The anticipated impact will be substantial for all tripartite stakeholders. The project will help to balance the need for reliable data with the urge to adapt food safety, nutrition and efficacy studies to modern methods. Ultimately, the project will reduce the use of animal testing where appropriate.

For more detailed information, please contact Dr Lucie Geurts at lgeurts@ilsieurope.be.

Task Force Members

Dr Paul Hepburn – Chair Unilever UK
Prof. Horst Spielmann – Co-Chair Freie Universität Berlin DE
Dr Rocío Fernández Cantón – Vice-Chair Monsanto Europe BE
Dr Andy Bennett FRAME Alternatives Laboratory UK
Dr Markus Fehr DSM CH
Dr Nicola Höfer Südzucker Group DE
Dr Cyrille Krul The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) NL
Prof. Marcel Leist Centre for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT) Europe DE
Dr Katrin Schütte European Commission BE
Dr Benjamin Smith Firmenich US
Dr Constanze Stiefel WALA Heilmittel DE
Dr Clémentine Thabuis Roquette Group FR
Dr Vassilis Triantis FrieslandCampania NL
Dr Johanneke van der Harst Danone NL
Dr Jan Van Der Valk University of Utrecht NL
Dr Lucie Geurts ILSI Europe BE

Expert Groups

Holistic Approaches to Develop Alternative Strategies That do not Rely on Additional Animal Testing

Background

During the last decade, a shift in the mind-set of experts in toxicology and related sciences has been noticeable towards a science which is no longer only based on deterministic whole-animal approaches. The different stakeholders in nutrition and food safety are however currently not aligned on when animal studies are mandatory or when they can be replaced by alternative approaches.

Objectives

This first activity intends to cover food safety (toxicology), efficacy studies and nutrition. Through a holistic approach, it aims to identify existing approaches that can be applied to the current regulatory frameworks that continue to address the scientific question at hand, whilst avoiding the use of animals. Where possible, case studies involving applied tools should be used as examples.

Activity

This activity will be built around the following points:

  • Look into food safety, efficacy and nutritional regulations and summarise these existing regulations (including genetically modified crops, novel foods, nutritional claims…);
  •  Develop an overview of the existing tools or methodologies that could be applied to food safety, nutrition and efficacy assessments and do not involve animal testing;
  •  Verify whether these tools and methodologies can be applied to the current regulations in food safety and nutrition.

Expected Output

This project will identify existing tools and approaches which are not reliant on generating data in animals to address those requirements. The results of this activity are expected to be shared with national and international authorities, most probably through a workshop. Case studies would be introduced as well as a roadmap for future situations. Outputs of this activity will be disseminated via a peer-reviewed publication.

Expert Group Members

Holistic Approaches to Develop Alternative Strategies That do not Rely on Additional Animal Testing

Dr Andy Bennett FRAME – University of Nottingham UK
Dr Markus Fehr DSM CH
Dr Rocío Fernández Cantón Monsanto Europe BE
Dr Paul Hepburn Unilever UK
Dr Lisette Krul The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) NL
Dr Jochem Louisse Wageningen University NL
Dr Katrin Schütte EC – DG Environment BE
Prof. Horst Spielmann Free University of Berlin DE
Dr Maria Tabernero Urbieta IMDEA Food Institute ES
Dr Vassilis Triantis FrieslandCampina NL
Dr Johanneke van der Harst Danone NL
Prof. Bob van de Water Leiden University NL
Dr Lucie Geurts ILSI Europe BE