ILSI Europe was pleased to participate at the CEFood Conference. The latest work of the Food Intake Methodology Task Force was presented.
SESSION: Food Quality and Safety
TITLE: Identifying Practical Ways of Determining Uncertainties in Food Intake Assessments
SPEAKER: Dr Marc Kennedy (The Food and Environment Research Agency – FERA, UK)
A clear understanding of the strengths and limitations of any scientific risk assessment is vital for risk managers to be able to make informed and appropriate decisions. Therefore, the communication of the uncertainties that underlie such assessments of risk is critical. Dietary exposure assessments should include a systematic examination of all potential sources and types of uncertainty, to maximise the likelihood that important uncertainties are recognised and evaluated. However, many food intake assessments follow standard screening procedures that are intended to produce conservative estimates of exposure and do not always provide an analysis of uncertainties.
In addition to emphasising the importance of uncertainty assessment, there is a need for the development of a method or process that will enable the uncertainties to be communicated in a clear and consistent way that decision makers understand and will be able to make use of in their evaluations. Food intake assessments are an important part of the risk and benefit analysis of foods in general, both for food ingredients (e.g., nutrients, additives, flavourings) and for substances that are present unintentionally (such as pesticides and contaminants). This means that a clear understanding of the uncertainties involved in this analysis is important in providing a realistic and clear picture both for day-to-day business and for policy decision-making by industry and consumer stakeholders. Having such a clear picture available is vital in order to maintain a high level of consumer protection while still allowing sustained innovation.
It is essential to provide a scientific basis and to develop a consensus for the description of uncertainties and their classification in order to generate realistic food exposure assessments; and consequently, support a solid basis for policy decision-making. For this end the European branch of the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI Europe) established an expert group within the frame of its Food Intake Methodology Task Force, which intends to:
- Uncover and map uncertainties;
- Identify practical ways of assessing uncertainties;
- Identify methods to characterise the degree of uncertainty;
- Develop approaches to communicate uncertainties.
Key words: Uncertainties, Intake assessments, Risk assessment, Exposure assessment
For more information about this event, please visit http://keyevent.org.