Improving scientific knowledge on food contaminants to ensure safer products

Background & Objectives

Food can be contaminated by unintentionally added process contaminants or by natural toxins (e.g. mycotoxins), which may be a risk to consumers’ health. It is therefore crucial to study them to improve the way to detect and quantify them and to develop tools for risk assesment, mitigation and prioritisation processes.

Impact

The Task Force’s Practical Guidance to Mitigation of Mycotoxins during Food Processing offers proven, easy to implement, and practical methods to mitigate mycotoxins per commodity. This document is useful to food operators and other stakeholders; as well as for official control agencies interested in improving their understanding of the global mycotoxin mitigation.
At the 2019 World Mycotoxin Forum the Guidance was recognised as a provider of “integrated solutions crucial for the efficient control and reduction of mycotoxins along food and feed chains”. Moreover, a 2013 Task Force’s publication (Berthiller et al, 2013) is quoted in the EFSA Risk assessment of ochratoxin A in food (EFSA scientific opinion, 2020). And in 2016, the Task Force’s publication (Karlovsky et al, 2016) assessing the impact of processing and detoxification treatments on mycotoxins has been accessed more than 21,000 times and cited 235 times, highlighting the quality of the Task Force work on mycotoxins.

Upcoming

A new activity on Process-Related Contaminants as an example for holistic dosimetry of endogenous and exogenous exposures will start in September 2020.
In Q1 2021, the Task Force will initiate another activity on benefit-risk assessment (BRA) for food. This activity will provide a better understanding of the value of BRA in terms of its place in risk analysis, including criteria to indicate when its use is recommended.
In addition, a web-seminar will be organised in November 2020 on the occasion of the 2020 edition of the University Seminars on Process-Related Compounds and Natural Toxins.

Expected results

The Expert Group on Mineral Oils Risk Assessment will deliver the final manuscript in Q4 2020. This manuscript summarises the perspectives expressed during the multistakeholder workshop organised in February 2019. The manuscript is also built to fill the current knowledge and research gaps for mineral oils in foods.

For more detailed information, please contact Dr Simeon Bourdoux at sbourdoux@ilsieurope.be or  Belinda Antonio at bantonio@ilsieurope.be

Task Force Members


* Scientific Advisor

Expert Groups

Mineral Oil Risk Assessment: Knowledge Gaps and Roadmap
In collaboration with the Packaging Materials Task Force

Background & Objectives
This activity is the continuation of the multi-stakeholder workshop held in February 2019.
The array of knowledge gaps on mineral oils in food, including the challenges posed by analytical methodologies and the numerous potential routes of exposure, were the starting point of the workshop. As such, the workshop objectives were to:

  1. Identify the fundamental knowledge gaps to understand the potential risks of mineral oils in food.
  2. Build a multi-stakeholder consensus on the scientific understanding of exposure assessment, hazard characterisation, risk assessment and analytical methods for mineral oils in food.

Output
This activity will result in a recommendation document that will determine potential best practices to align methods available for untargeted screening and future testing.
To develop it, the draft will be discussed at an international workshop organised back-to-back with the 7th International
Packaging Symposium.

Process-Related Contaminants as an Example for Holistic Dosimetry of Endogenous and Exogenous Exposures

Background & Objectives
The assessment of exposure is a key part of human health risk assessment. Such assessment requires understanding the totality of environmental exposures (also called exposome). To characterize this exposome is to understand the relative weight of both its internal and external components. Indeed, exposure to an agent may be caused by an external occurrence of the agent (e.g. on food) or the agent may be generated within the organism as a consequence of the metabolism.
This activity is a pioneering initiative to expand knowledge on the endogenous exposome (or the internal component) and to explore its use as a reference for a more holistic human health risk assessment of total exposure. To that end, process-related contaminants will be used as a working model to determine the respective weight of endogenous versus exogenous exposure.

Output
The aim of the activity is to understand the contribution of endogenous versus exogenous sources of process-related contaminants to total exposure in order to arrive at a more comprehensive risk assessment. A major objective is to identify research gaps which could prevent the use of this approach in risk assessment and potential leads to fill those gaps. The work the expert group will be summarised in a peer-reviewed publication and disseminated at international conferences.

Expert Group Members

Mineral Oil Risk Assessment: Knowledge Gaps and Roadmap

Workshop − Mineral Oil Risk Assessment: Knowledge Gaps and Roadmap
In collaboration with the Packaging Materials Toxins Task Force

Process-Related Contaminants as an Example for Holistic Dosimetry of Endogenous and Exogenous Exposure

Publications

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