Exploring new toxicological safety assessment technologies for the food industry

Strategic Vision

The task force lays the groundwork for researchers interested in the advances in food safety assessment.

Background

The application of new tools in assessment of toxicology in food area is not always straightforward as those tools are not designed to measure toxicity per se. The task force aims to be at the forefront on the progress on food safety assessment to contribute towards safe food ingredients.

Objectives

  • Investigate how new approaches can be applied in risk assessment relevant to the development of safe food and food ingredients.
  • Propose guidance on the utility, development and application of novel methodologies to assess hazard and risk in the food chain.

Achieved Results

  • The task force organised the workshop ‘The Use of AOPs in Safety Evaluation of Food Additives’ on 26-27 February 2018 in Brussels, BE, which was an opportunity to discuss the potential use of AOPs for hazard identification, risk and safety assessment of food additives.
  • The task force has an accepted manuscript (Kramer et al. 2019, ‘Characterizing the coverage of critical effects relevant in the safety evaluation of food additives by AOPs’) and three more are going to be submitted by the end of 2019.

Scientific Impact

  • The results of the task force are well disseminated in a wide range of international meetings and congresses (ESTIV, EUROTOX).
  • The publications on ‘Considering New Methodologies in Strategies for Safety Assessment of Foods and Food Ingredients’ (B.J. Blaauboer et al., 2016) has received over 24 citations.

For more detailed information, please contact Angeliki Stavropoulou at astavropoulou@ilsieurope.be or Belinda Antonio at bantonio@ilsieurope.be

Task Force Members

Expert Group

Application of Adverse Outcome Pathways (AOPs) for Foods and Food Ingredients in Risk Assessment NEW

Background & Objectives

  • Explore the potential role of AOPs for safety evaluation in the food area.
  • Understand the coverage of existing AOPs for food ingredients / food additives.
  • Identify the necessary additional information required to enable AOPs to be implemented for quantitative risk assessment and regulatory use to support the shift from animal testing to non-animal approaches in food safety risk assessment.

Output

  • The outcome of the activity is expected to provide guidance for industry and risk assessors in the food sector to maximise the utilisation of emerging toxicological science that is more human relevant and less animal-dependent.
  • The group has a first peer-reviewed publication that provides insights in coverage of critical effects of food additives by AOPs.
  • A second peer-reviewed publication is going to be submitted by fall 2019, concerning the application of existing AOPs in safety evaluation of food additives.

Exploitation of ToxCast Data on Food Chemicals for Safety Risk Assessment

Background & Objectives
ToxCast chemicals have been reviewed and clustered into groupings of similar chemicals according to functional and structural characteristics.

Associations between groupings and toxicological profiles observed in ToxCast assays may have implications for risk assessment.

Explores opportunities to understand how ToxCast21 data and methods could be used in safety risk assessment for foods.

This activity aims to contribute to the development of alternative approaches for safety assessments in food industry.

Output
This activity is expected to deliver two manuscripts on the use of ToxCast data in the safety evaluation of food chemicals.

You can find the direct link to the first publication here.

Expert Group Members

Application of Adverse Outcome Pathways (AOPs) for Foods and Food Ingredients in Risk Assessment? NEW

Exploitation of ToxCast Data on Food Chemicals for Safety Risk Assessment

Publications

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Process-Related Compounds and Natural Toxins Task Force

FOOD RELATED CONTAMINANTS

Mineral Oil Hydrocarbons may unintentionally contaminate food through different routes across food chains and the lifecycle of food contact materials.

Gaps in the knowledge about mineral oil hydrocarbons (MON) still exist despite the recent advances in the research field.

A workshop to identify those gaps was organized by the European Branch of the International Life Science Institute.

Some of these were identified to be:

  • the lack of validated and standardized analytical methods for relevant food matrices, and
  • gaps in assessing the risk for consumers' health.

The consensus is that the lack of standardized, validated analytical methods able to assure good inter-laboratory reproducibility is the main gap underlining most of the existing difficulties to understand MOH.

In order to conduct adequate substance identification and quantification for input into risk assessment, the need for confirmatory methods that provide a detailed characterization of the unresolved complex mixtures needs to be solved.

The limited number of surveys covering a wide range of foods and enough samples to detect major sources of contamination other than packaging in paperboard also hinders reliable exposure estimation.

Fig. 4. Decision tree to identify auxilary methods. Adapted from Bratinova & Hoekstra, 2019. ALOX: Al2O3.
Decision tree to identify auxilary methods. (Adapted from Bratinova & Hoekstra, 2019)

Industry sectors represented in the workshop

  • Food & Drink
  • Mineral Oil/Waxes
  • Testing Laboratories
  • Analytical Instruments
  • Food Contact Materials
  • Cosmetics
  • Petroleum
Scientific abstract Expand Background
In recent years there have been significant advancements in the understanding of mineral oil hydrocarbons (MOH) in foods and their potential risk to health. However, important gaps in knowledge remain, such as the lack of validated and standardized analytical methods for relevant food matrices and gaps in assessing the risk for consumers' health. Scope & approach
A workshop was organized by the European Branch of the International Life Science Institute to identify knowledge gaps in analytical methods, assessment of exposure, hazard characterisation, and risk assessment of MOH. This work captures the outcome of the workshop and builds upon it by combining the perspectives of the participants with an updated review of the literature to provide a roadmap for future management of the topic. Key findings and conclusions
Most participants to the workshop agreed that the key issue underlying many of the knowledge gaps in the field of MOH risk analysis and management is the lack of standardized, validated analytical methods able to assure good inter-laboratory reproducibility and to enable understanding of MOH occurrence in foods. It has been demonstrated that method EN 16995 used for MOH determination in vegetable oils and fats is not reliable below 10 mg/kg of food. There is also a need for confirmatory methods that provide a detailed characterization of the unresolved complex mixture observed from one-dimensional chromatographic methods. This is required to enable adequate substance identification and quantification for input into risk assessment. A major gap in the exposure estimation is the limited number of surveys covering a wide range of foods and enough samples to detect major sources of contamination other than packaging in paperboard. Data on concentration of MOH fractions in human body needed to determine internal exposure estimates is scarce. Data relating concentration in tissues with personal data, lifestyle, food intake and the use of cosmetics are needed to clarify the complex system of distribution of MOSH in the body and to possibly establish relationship between external and internal exposure. Additional toxicological studies to better characterize the hazards of relevant MOH are required for a better human health risk assessment. Keywords Expand

Mineral oil hydrocarbon, Risk assessment, Exposure assessment, Food contaminant, MOSH, MOAH

Number of participants in the workshop 61 from Academica, Public organisations, and Industry. EN 16995 used for MOH determination in vegetable oils and fats is not reliable below 10 mg/kg of food. Main indetified gaps in the knowledge of Mineral Oil Hydrocarbons 8

To enable human risk assessment, the performance of toxicological studies on the relevant MOH mixtures and possibly their components is required.

This work was conducted in collaboration with the Packaging Materials Task Force.

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