FCRA is actively engaged in research programmes designed to expand scientific and technical knowledge in food chemical risk assessment. Some recent examples include:
Technical review of EFSA Food Additive Intake Method (FAIM)
On 5th October 2012 the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) circulated a proposed Food Additives Intake Model (FAIM) template for consultation. The FAIM Template was designed to allow food additive users and producers to perform simple screening of potential exposures associated with current use levels in foods. Industry stakeholders agreed to sponsor a technical review of the FAIM method in order to help understand better its data, methods of working, underlying assumptions and possible consequences of its use. A copy of the report and the Annex can be downloaded here:
GUIDEA – Guidance for Dietary Intake Exposure Assessment
GUIDEA was initiated in 2009 by the ILSI Europe Food Intake Methodology Task Force, and is a practical guide for conducting intake/exposure assessments. It is intended to be an important reference source for stakeholders, providing concise guidance on the planning, conducting, reporting and interpretation of exposure assessments. It was launched in October 2012. To participate in GUIDEA visit: http://www.ilsi-guidea.org
FACET – Flavourings, additives and contact materials exposure task.
The concept behind this project was the creation of a probabilistic food chemical exposure system, sustainable beyond the project life, which covers representative regions of the EU and which will meet, to the highest possible standard, the needs of the EU regulatory authorities in the protection of consumer health. David Tennant was the Work Package leader on regional modelling. For more information visit: http://ihcp.jrc.ec.europa.eu/our_activities/food-cons-prod/chemicals_in_food/FACET and http://www.ucd.ie/facet/
Microbiological cross-contamination risk assessment.
A project undertaken in collaboration with the University of Wales Institute to incorporate the results of observational analysis into a risk prediction model. The model takes information about the frequency of cross-contamination events (e.g. contaminated hand touches a tap) in an institutional kitchen and combines these with infectivity, food consumption and other data to identify the most probable routes for cross contamination in an event-tree structure.
UK Interdepartmental Guidelines on Exposure Assessment
UK government departments have unique solutions to estimate risks to the public from chemicals in situations such as the workplace, from landfill sites, pesticides, food chemicals and drinking water contaminants. David Tennant was invited by the Interdepartmental Group on Health Risks from Chemicals to work with a workshop of departmental experts to draft guidelines setting down principles for exposure assessment. The guidelines, which have been reviewed by government expert advisory committees and edited by the Medical Research Council Institute for Environment and Health, were published in 2004.
Cumulative Exposure and Aggregate Risk
In recent years there has been a growing awareness that risk assessment methods should take account of simultaneous exposure to chemicals from different sources (e.g. from drinking water, food and the environment). The US-based LifeLine group has developed a new exposure assessment system, through collaboration with EPA, which does this. FCRA have supported these developments by beta-testing the system. LifeLine is a very sophisticated system that could be adapted to use UK or EU data to provide aggregate exposure estimates in a European context.