A conceptual model illustrating the use of mindful eating for health promotion and sustainability.6 Mindful eating is the practice to enjoy food with understanding and compassion, by developing awareness of relationships between food and our body, our feelings, our mind, and the interconnectedness of all that is around us. The practice at individual and collective levels will help maintain our personal health and the health of our planet.
Mindfulness involves being fully present from moment to moment, with full awareness of one’s own emotional state and physical condition, as well as one’s surroundings.1-4 Mindfulness practice has been increasingly incorporated into the treatment of chronic diseases.4 Promising results have been observed in the management of depression, stress, physical function, quality of life, and chronic pain.4,5 Mindful eating generally refers to the application of mindfulness techniques to eating, which involves nonjudgmental awareness of internal and external cues influencing the desire to eat, food choice, quantity of consumption, and the manner in which food is consumed.
ORLANDO, Fla. April 22, 2016 – Today Agriculture Undersecretary Kevin Concannon announced strengthened nutrition standards for food and beverages served to young children and others in day care settings at the annual conference of the National Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Sponsors Association. Young children and adults in day care will now receive meals with more whole grains, a greater variety of vegetables and fruits, and less added sugars and solid fats. The science-based standards introduced in this final rule will elevate the nutritional quality of meals and snacks provided under the CACFP to better align with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and to be consistent with the meals children receive as part of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP).
“Research indicates that America's obesity problem starts young, with obesity rates in preschoolers more than doubling over the last three decades and one in eight preschoolers classified as obese,” said Concannon. “Since taste preference and eating habits develop early in life, CACFP could play a crucial role in the solution. This final rule marks another important step toward ensuring young children have access to the nutrition they need and develop healthy habits that will contribute to their well-being over the long term.”
The new meal patterns will improve access to healthy beverages, including low-fat and fat-free milk and water, and encourage breastfeeding for the youngest program participants. These standards reflect the nutritional improvements seen in children across the country since the passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.
CACFP provides aid to child and adult care institutions and family or group day care homes for the provision of nutritious foods that contribute to the growth and development of children and the health and wellness of older adults and chronically impaired disabled persons. Through the CACFP, over 4 million children and nearly 120,000 adults receive nutritious meals and snacks each day as part of the care they receive.
This is the first major revision of the CACFP meal patterns since the program's inception in 1968 and will require meals and snacks provided through the CACFP to better reflect the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the nutritional issues facing young children and adults today. These changes are a meaningful first step in improving CACFP participants’ access to nutritious foods. Since the inception of CACFP, the most prevalent nutrition-related health problems among participants have shifted from malnutrition to overconsumption, including calories, saturated fats, added sugar, and sodium. These vulnerable populations also tend to under consume of fiber and other essential nutrients.
The new standards were carefully designed to make significant, achievable, and cost-neutral improvements to the nutritional quality of the meals and snacks served through CACFP. USDA focused on incremental changes that balance the science behind the nutritional needs of the diverse CACFP participants and the practical abilities of participating centers and day care homes to implement these changes. By setting an implementation date of October 1, 2017, the final rule provides ample lead time for centers and day care homes to learn and understand the new meal pattern standards before they are required to be in full compliance. USDA will provide in-person and online trainings and is developing new resources and training materials, such as menu planning tools, new and updated recipes, and tip sheets, to ensure successful implementation of the new nutrition standards.
This announcement is part of USDA's continued commitment to ensuring children and families have access to a healthy diet. Over the past seven years, USDA has enhanced federal nutrition programs, providing a critical safety net for millions of American children and families. Some examples include, updated nutrition standards for school nutrition, the updated WIC package to include whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits and vegetables, expanding the scope of the SNAP nutrition education program, and supporting an unprecedented growth in the number of farmers markets that accept SNAP and WIC benefits. By expanding access to nutritious foods and increasing awareness about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, USDA programs have made a real difference in the lives of many, promising a brighter, healthier future for our nation.
The Child and Adult Care Food Program is one of USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service’s 15 nutrition assistance programs, which also include the National School Lunch Program, Summer Food Service Program, the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Together, these programs comprise America's nutrition safety net.
In New Zealand, FSANZ is responsible for standards relating to labelling, composition and contaminants. In Australia, FSANZ has a much wider scope. As well as labelling and composition, it also develops food standards for food safety, maximum residue limits (MRLs), primary production and processing as well as a range of other functions including the coordination of recall systems and assessing policies about imported food.
Governance of FSANZ.
FSANZ was set up under the Food Standards Treaty. It is governed by a Board, which works to the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council (Ministerial Council). The Ministerial Council is made up of New Zealand and Australian (both state and commonwealth) health ministers, as well as representatives from other portfolios.
You can find more information about FSANZ and the work it does on the FSANZ website.
Includes non-microbial contaminants such as pesticide residues, heavy metals, and other toxic substances. Learn about contamination sources such as the environment, cooking methods, and inappropriate agricultural practices.
Research Publications from Peer-Reviewed Journals: Chemical Contaminants USDA. ARS. Food Safety Research Information Office.
Research publications on chemical contaminants from peer-reviewed journals. Some publications may be early view or ahead of print. Citations and abstracts are available to all users while full-text availability depends on institutional access levels.
Chapter 23: Environmental Chemical Contaminants and Pesticides Seafood Network Information Center.
Chemical contaminants and pesticides in fresh or saltwater finfish, crustaceans, mollusks and other forms of aquatic animal life other than birds or mammals indicate potential hazards in human health. Topics included are control measures, FDA guidelines for federal tolerances and analytical procedures.
Chemical Contaminants DHHS. FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.
There has been a lot of interest in recent years about how consumers understand and use the nutrition information on food labels to assist them in making healthier food choices.
However, the food safety components on food labels, such as ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ dates, as well as cooking and storage instructions, have received less attention. This is despite the fact that this labelling, if followed correctly, plays an important role in reducing the risk of foodborne illness.
It was concerning that only 43% of respondents reported they always/mostly read and complied with cooking instructions and only 56% with storage instructions as these are both important means of reducing the risk of foodborne illness.
While there is a growing body of literature on food sovereignty at a global level, much less is known about what food sovereignty movements look like in specific places and how their expression is largely shaped by local and regional histories, cultures, politics and ecologies. This article provides a critical analysis of how a diverse range of intentions, strategies, tactics and discourses collide under the ‘big tent’ of food sovereignty in Canada. We are particularly interested in looking at how food sovereignty has been incorporated in the food policy discourse across diverse sectors of Canadian society, each of whom attribute distinct meanings and practices to the framework. In assessing the political impact of using a food sovereignty framework in a Northern context, the article explores the various meanings of food sovereignty developed by distinct social movements and other actors in the Canadian context and discusses the interactions and dynamics among the various movements to better understand existing tensions and convergences. This leads us to question the existence of a consolidated food sovereignty movement in Canada. Among the most prominent social actors in Canada using the food sovereignty approach are the National Farmers Union, Québec’s Union Paysanne, the Food Secure Canada coalition and Indigenous peoples. Each of these has followed a unique path to food sovereignty and each has a distinct social and political agenda in using this framework. Food sovereignty was initially introduced in Canada through the work of the National Farmers Union (NFU) and the Union Paysanne, the two Canadian members of La Vía Campesina. While representatives of the NFU had been central to shaping the international debates on food sovereignty within La Vía Campesina, it took years before the NFU began using the framework in Canada. Meanwhile, food sovereignty was central to Québec’s Union Paysanne when it emerged in 2001. Consequently, in Canada, food sovereignty remained focused primarily on production issues. This changed after the Nyéléni International Forum on Food Sovereignty held in 2007 when the Canadians who participated in that event came back to home committed to working together to consolidate a national food sovereignty movement. Food Secure Canada played a key leadership role in developing the People’s Food Policy Project (PFPP) that successfully integrated urban populations, including “foodies” and urban agrarians, in using food sovereignty language to redefine food and agricultural policies for Canada. While some Indigenous peoples actively participated in the PFPP, several leading indigenous organizations also sought to deepen their own indigenous food sovereignty approach, an approach highly critical of a version they view as agriculture-centric. Indigenous food sovereignty activists stress the importance of including fishing, hunting and gathering as key elements of a food sovereignty approach to sustainable food systems in Canada, and highlight the complexity of issues of rights, equity, land access and (re) distribution that are central to the food sovereignty framework. In conclusion, this paper will critically assess how the “unity in diversity” principle of food sovereignty works (or doesn’t work) in a Canadian context, paying particular attention to power relations and policy implications of debates about the meaning of food sovereignty.
About the authors
Annette Aurélie Desmarais, Associate Professor at the University of Manitoba. She is the author of La Vía Campesina: Globalization and the Power of Peasants (Fernwood Publishing and Pluto Press, 2007) which has been published in various languages. Annette co-edited Food sovereignty: Reconnecting food, nature, and community and Food Sovereignty in Canada.
Hannah Wittman, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Land and Food Systems and Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. She conducts collaborative research on food sovereignty, local food systems, and agrarian citizenship in Brazil and Canada and is co-editor of Environment and Citizenship in Latin America: Natures, Subjects, and Struggles; Food sovereignty: Reconnecting food, nature, and community; and Food Sovereignty in Canada.
The Food Sovereignty Conference:
A fundamentally contested concept, food sovereignty has — as a political project and campaign, an alternative, a social movement, and an analytical framework — barged into global agrarian discourse over the last two decades. Since then, it has inspired and mobilized diverse publics: workers, scholars and public intellectuals, farmers and peasant movements, NGOs and human rights activists in the North and global South. The term has become a challenging subject for social science research, and has been interpreted and reinterpreted in a variety of ways by various groups and individuals. Indeed, it is a concept that is broadly defined as the right of peoples to democratically control or determine the shape of their food system, and to produce sufficient and healthy food in culturally appropriate and ecologically sustainable ways in and near their territory. As such it spans issues such as food politics, agroecology, land reform, biofuels, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), urban gardening, the patenting of life forms, labor migration, the feeding of volatile cities, ecological sustainability, and subsistence rights.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) carried out a public consultation in order to receive comments from the scientific community and stakeholders on the draft opinion on “Recent developments in the risk assessment of chemicals in food and their potential impact on the safety assessment of substances used in food contact materials” which was endorsed by the EFSA Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids (CEF) on 5-7 May 2015.
The public consultation was open from 7 July to 7 October 2015. EFSA received 205 comments and 4 data sets from 21 interested parties, including governmental and non-governmental organisations, industry organisations and consultants. EFSA wishes to thank all parties for their valuable contributions.
EFSA committed to publish a technical report on the outcome of this consultation on the draft opinion. The current report compiles all comments received during the public consultation, and outlines how the comments were considered for the finalisation of the Scientific Opinion. The revised version of the draft opinion was discussed and adopted by the CEF Panel on 2nd December 2015 during its 59th plenary meeting. This report on the outcome of the consultation on the draft opinion was endorsed by the Head of the EFSA Department of Regulated Products prior to its publication.
Following the suggestions received the introduction of the Opinion has been substantially modified, also stating clearly that the scientific opinion applies to substances in plastics that are regulated and evaluated by EFSA, but it also reports the view of the CEF Panel about the safety assessment of any substances that migrate from any food contact material (FCM). A more explicit description of the current regulations is provided as background information and certain rules used in reporting and interpreting migration test results are described in the section on exposure.
In line with the advice received, a clearer differentiation has been made in the opinion between migration (concentration) data based on modelling, simulation or measurements in foodstuffs. The CEF Panel (re)emphasised that simulation must be conservative against migration into foods and that different migration models or modelling parameters can be used if they are validated.
The CEF Panel’s proposal to refine the calculations of exposure in comparison with the current approach was generally welcomed by respondents. Depending on the party involved, the newly proposed approach was either considered as not sufficiently conservative or too conservative. The proposed strategy for estimating exposure is based on a tiered approach for specific population (age) groups (especially infants and toddlers) and specific FCM usage patterns. Whilst these levels of exposure do not hold for the whole life and are much higher than those observed in adults, the impact of exposure in early-life stages is increasingly considered relevant. Therefore, an alternative approach based on time-weighted food consumption is not considered to be suitable.
Considering the wide intended uses often requested in the applications submitted, the CEF Panel supports the estimation of likely migration using worst-case parameters (as regards time and temperature conditions of contact, polymer diffusivity, maximum intended use level, etc.). It should be noted that several parameters used in the calculation of the exposure are not conservative (e.g. S/V, not summing up the exposure calculated for different food types), this preventing the exposure estimate from being overly-conservative. A new section on calculating exposure has been added to the opinion. This provides information on how to combine the food consumption scenarios with migration and on the possible grounds for deviating from the standard approach. The use of an approach based on packaging use factors is mentioned in this section.
As a direct result of comments received along with data, a new category of food consumption for “solid foods specifically intended for infant and toddlers” was included in the tiered approach with the introduction of a new corresponding section to present the background for the consumption figures proposed.
Concerning substances in nano-form (nanomaterials, NMs) the release mechanisms from plastics into food (diffusion, swelling, abrasion etc.) are now better elaborated in line with comments made on this aspect. Several respondents asked if a threshold of migration or exposure to nanomaterials could be set, to trigger or obviate toxicity data requirements. The scientific understanding does not yet exist to set such a threshold level and NMs have to be evaluated case-by-case as the science develops. Some new text has been added in the section on toxicological assessment of nanomaterials to explain this point.
Considering the appropriateness of data needs from toxicity testing, specifically the use of experimental animals, the principles of consumer safety and animal welfare have to be respected and many comments were linked to this ‘balance’. Full utilisation of existing data/information on the toxicity of an applied substance and/or using methods that are alternatives to animal testing has been emphasised in the tiered approach (based on exposure) taken for toxicity testing. The text in the opinion has been modify to enhance clarity, in relation to the proposed tiered-approach which applies to all migrating substances while further considerations apply to NIAS for genotoxicity and toxicity testing. Along with non-animal testing methods, in vitro-tests may help to meet the EC requirement for a reduction, refinement and replacement (3Rs) of animal tests.
The text and the table on the tiered approach were updated to take into account further considerations on substances with potential endocrine activity and/or with potential effects from prenatal exposure. Several respondents highlighted these aspects. A new level of 30 µg/kg b.w. per day has been introduced into the tiered approach as the threshold for the investigation of repeated dose toxicity of Cramer Class I substances. If a substance is classified in Cramer Class I, then it has by definition a simple chemical structure and can be expected to be efficiently metabolised, suggesting low oral toxicity.
Food safety and Nutrition are inextricably linked, particularly in places where food supplies are insecure. When food becomes scarce, hygiene, safety and nutrition are often ignored as people shift to less nutritious diets and consume more 'unsafe foods' — in which chemical, microbiological, zoonotic and other hazards pose a health risk. WHO works to promote the availability of safe, healthy and wholesome food for everyone to improve food and nutrition security. WHO strongly promotes the integration of food safety into nutrition and food security programmes.
Following a request from the European Commission, the EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food (ANS) provides a scientific opinion regarding the safety of the use of gaseous chlorine dioxide (ClO2) as preservative that is slowly released in cold food storage areas.
The chlorine gas is generated in situ from tubes that contain two reactants, which upon activation slowly release gaseous ClO2. The tubes are to be used in cold storage rooms or in refrigerators for domestic use. The Panel noted that the mode of generation of ClO2 proposed by the applicant is different from the ones already used and accepted so far.
The Panel is aware that the use of the material proposed by the applicant may lead to inhalation of ClO2, but the possible risk resulting from exposure of the consumer by inhalation was not assessed because this is outside the remit of the Panel.
The evaluation of the preservative effect of gaseous ClO2 is outside the remit of the Panel.
The applicant has submitted a dossier in support of its application for the authorisation of gaseous ClO2 for use as a preservative in cold food storage areas. In consideration of the well-known reactive nature of gaseous ClO2, the Panel agreed to assess, as a first step, to what extent chlorinated species are generated by the interaction of gaseous ClO2, under the proposed conditions of use, with some model food matrices.
To this end, and upon request from the Panel, the applicant generated additional data showing that, under the measured in-use conditions in a refrigerator, only a small amount of the total releasable ClO2 from the tube was detected. The maximum detected concentration of ClO2 was 0.043 ppm, which corresponds to 15 μg/120 L. The mean concentration was 0.029 ppm, which corresponds to 10.2 μg/120 L. The applicant also provided experimental data showing that the release of one of the two reactants during use was very low. The data covering a period of 28 days showed that only < 0.005% of the total amount of the gaseous reactant will be released during the intended application duration.
From the data provided by the applicant, under domestic refrigerator-like experimental conditions, the treatment of model food matrices with gaseous ClO2 led to low amounts of by-products, did not produce chlorinated organic by-products, and chlorate was not detected in the model food matrices. The Panel considered that the data indicated the absence of formation of potentially adverse chlorinated compounds in the model food matrices used by the applicant. However, the Panel noted the limitations of the model food matrices; in addition owing to the type of cold area used (a domestic refrigerator) in which a small size tube was used to generate the gaseous chlorine ClO2, the consideration of absence of formation of potentially adverse compounds is restricted to these conditions and do not apply to larger areas where bigger tubes can be used.
According to the applicant, the only by-products resulting from the proposed use of gaseous ClO2 are chlorite and chlorate; therefore, the safety of these by-products has been assessed. The toxicity database for chlorite and chlorate is limited, but did not indicate concern about a genotoxic or carcinogenic potential.
The ANS Panel did not perform an estimate of exposure, because no potentially adverse substances were identified in the initial step of the assessment.
The Panel concluded that, under the conditions of use proposed by the applicant, the consumption of foods treated with use of gaseous ClO2 under the proposed domestic refrigerator-like conditions of use would not be of safety concern.
A new assessment would be warranted in case of any change in the conditions of use.
The Panel recommended that the risk of inhalation of gaseous chlorine should be considered, particularly in the case of large cold storage areas. In this respect, the Panel draws attention to the risk of misuse e.g. large tubes for the production of ClO2 being used in domestic refrigerators.
Food Safety Management in Australia Policy Guidelines (Word 70 KB) Food Safety Management in Australia Policy Guidelines (PDF 99 KB) In October 2009, the Ministerial Council agreed that the Food Regulation Standing Committee (FRSC) would undertake a review of the guidelines of the 2003 Ministerial Policy Guideline on Food Safety Management in Australia – Food Safety Programs. On 9 December 2011, the Legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation (convening as the Ministerial Council) considered the outcome of this review and agreed to put in place a new Food Safety Management Policy Guideline for the retail/food service sectors. The new guideline provides a framework for the development of effective, efficient and nationally consistent food safety management arrangements for the retail/food service sectors. The implementation of the 2003 Policy Guideline, as it applies to other food industry sectors, has been completed and remains unchanged. Revised Food Safety Management in Australia Policy Guideline (Word 40 KB) Revised Food Safety Management in Australia Policy Guideline (PDF 60 KB) Top of page .
Policy Guideline for the Fortification of Foods with Vitamins and Minerals .
On 28 May 2004, the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation (Ministerial Council) endorsed a Policy Guideline for the Fortification of Foods with Vitamins and Minerals. The policy covered both mandatory and voluntary fortification of foods. Ministers agreed that vitamins and minerals may be added to food where there is, for example, demonstrated evidence of a potential health benefit, and it is clear that the fortification of a food will not result in harm. On 23 October 2009, the Ministerial Council endorsed an amended version of the Policy Guideline for the Fortification of Foods with Vitamins and Minerals in order to clarify its intent. On 20 November 2015 the Ministerial Council agreed to a statement clarifying the original intent of the Policy Guideline for the Fortification of Food with Vitamins and Minerals. Policy clarification statement to be read with the policy guideline - November, 2015 (Word 13 KB) Policy clarification statement to be read with the policy guideline - November, 2015 (PDF 104 KB) Policy Guideline for the Fortification of Foods with Vitamins and Minerals (Word 32 KB) Policy Guideline for the Fortification of Foods with Vitamins and Minerals (PDF 36 KB) Policy Guideline on Infant Formula Products.
In 2009, the Food Regulation Standing Committee (FRSC) Working Group on the Regulation of Infant Formula Products published a Policy Options Consultation Paper to inform the development of Policy Guidelines for the Regulation of Infant Formula Products. Submissions from interested parties on the Policy Option Consultation Paper closed on 1 September 2009. A summary of submissions is attached to this page. Following a review of all the submissions, the FRSC Working Group developed a draft Policy Guideline for consideration by the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council (Ministerial Council) At their meeting on 6 May 2011 the Ministerial Council endorsed the Policy Guideline on the Regulation of Infant Formula. Policy Guideline on the Regulation of Infant Formula Products (Word 27 KB) Policy Guideline on the Regulation of Infant Formula Products (PDF 40 KB) Summary of Submissions on the Policy Options Consultation Paper (Word 203 KB) Summary of Submissions on the Policy Options Consultation Paper (PDF 135 KB) Standard 2.9.1 Infant Formula Products (Word 95 KB) Standard 2.9.1 Infant Formula Products (PDF 165 KB) Food Regulation Policy Options Consultation Paper (Word 572 KB) Food Regulation Policy Options Consultation Paper (PDF 388 KB) Terms of Reference for Working Group on Infant Formula Products Revised Timeline for Policy Guideline on Infant Formula Products (Word 15 KB) Revised Timeline for Policy Guideline on Infant Formula Products (PDF 10 KB) Policy Guideline on Intent of Part 2.9 of the Food Standards Code – Special purpose foods.
In November 2007, the Food Regulation Standing Committee (FRSC) tasked the Addition to Food of Substances other than Vitamins and Minerals Working Group (Working Group) with developing a Policy Guideline for the intent of Part 2.9– Special Purpose Foods of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code). The Policy Guideline was developed to provide overarching guidance to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and assist them in their review and any future development of food standards in Part 2.9 of the Food Standards Code (the Code). It was not the intention of the Policy Guideline to remove any Standards from the Code but to provide FSANZ with guidance to ensure that Standards relating to Special Purpose Foods were placed appropriately within the Code, and conversely that Part 2.9 Standards do not unintentionally capture foods that are general purpose in nature. The Policy Options Consultation Paper on the Intent of 2.9 was released for public consultation from 17 January to 2 March 2009. Following review of all the submissions, the FRSC Working Group drafted a Policy Guideline for consideration by the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council (Ministerial Council). On 23 October 2009, the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council (Ministerial Council) endorsed the Policy Guideline on the Intent of Part 2.9 of the Food Standards Code - Special Purpose Foods. Policy Guideline on the intent of Part 2.9 of the Code - Special Purpose Foods (Word 24 KB) Policy Guideline on the intent of Part 2.9 of the Code - Special Purpose Foods (PDF 23 KB) Review on the intent of Part 2.9 of the code - Special Purpose Foods (Word 24 KB) Review on the intent of Part 2.9 of the code - Special Purpose Foods (PDF 23 KB) Summary of Submissions - Scoping Phase (Word 169 KB) Summary of Submissions - Scoping Phase (PDF 200 KB) Terms of Reference for the Working Group on Intent of Part 2.9 of the Code Revised timelines for Policy Guideline on Intent of Part 2.9 of the Code Consultation Paper on Food Regulatory Policy Options (Word 67 KB) Consultation Paper on Food Regulatory Policy Options (PDF 70 KB) Policy Guideline on Novel Foods .
Novel foods are those foods that are non-traditional to Australia and New Zealand, and for which there has been no safety evaluation. On 12 December 2003, the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council (Ministerial Council) asked Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) to review the standard and associated user guide. Novel Foods Policy Guidelines (Word 19 KB) Novel Foods Policy Guidelines (PDF 14 KB) Policy Guideline on Nutrition, Health and Related Claims .
On 12 December 2003 the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council (Ministerial Council) endorsed a nutrition, health and related claims policy guideline. The policy aims to ensure that the health and safety of the public is protected, whilst still allowing for food industry innovation and trade. It does this by incorporating a number of elements designed to ensure that claims made on foods or in advertising are true, scientifically substantiated and not misleading. On 28 May 2004 Ministers further considered the issue of biomarker maintenance claims. The Ministerial Council determined that claims regarding the maintenance of a biomarker would be permitted on foods. They will be treated in the same way as biomarker enhancement claims. That is, manufacturers will be required to apply to FSANZ for approval of a biomarker maintenance claim, prior to releasing the product to market. This will ensure that claims are appropriately substantiated, and subject to public consultation, prior to their use. The attached policy guideline has been updated to reflect this decision. Nutrition, Health and Related Claims Policy Guideline (Word 171 KB) Nutrition, Health and Related Claims Policy Guideline (PDF 60 KB) Top of page Policy Guideline on Primary Production and Processing Standards .
The reform of the Australian food regulatory system, driven by the November 2000 Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Food Regulation Agreement included the transfer of responsibility for the development of primary production standards from the Agriculture and Resource Management Council of Australia and New Zealand (ARMCANZ) to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). This was a key component of the new food regulation system in Australia. The attached documents were developed to enable FSANZ to undertake this responsibility. The Model for Primary Production and Processing Standards and the FSANZ Primary Production and Processing Standards Protocol were endorsed by the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council (Ministerial Council) on 24 May 2002. The Overarching Policy Guideline on Primary Production and Processing Standards was endorsed by the Ministerial Council on 28 June 2002. At a meeting on 5 May 2006 the Ministerial Council revised the Overarching Policy Guideline for Primary Production and Processing Standards in order to reflect improved operating processes since 2002 and to correct inconsistencies between the guideline and the FSANZ Act. Overarching Policy Guideline on Primary Production and Processing Standards (Word 19 KB) Overarching Policy Guideline on Primary Production and Processing Standards (PDF 34 KB) Policy Guideline on the Regulation of Residues of Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals in Food.
For thousands of years, crops and livestock with desirable characteristics have been grown and bred by humans. Changes in genetic make-up occur naturally between generations of plants and animals and, through selective breeding, traits favourable to our food supply can be enhanced. Recently, technology has allowed us to genetically modify our food faster, but is it safe and how is this regulated?.
What are GMOs?Scientists are now able to identify and influence genes responsible for specific physical and metabolic traits.1 The process of transferring genes within or across species is called ‘genetic modification’. A ‘genetically modified organism’ (GMO) may be a plant, an animal, or a microorganism whose genetic make-up has been modified using biotechnology.The first generation of GMOs were crops designed to have improved agronomic traits that were mainly of benefit to the farmer, such as increased resistance to herbicides, insects, disease or drought.2 Second generation GM crops have delivered more tangible benefits for consumers, such as improved food quality and increased nutrient bioavailability.3GM crops represent a valuable means to address socio-economic challenges in an ever-changing world of growing global populations, climate change and, possibly, future food shortages. Micronutrient deficiency, for example, remains a significant public health issue, for which biofortified GM crops may provide part of the solution - particularly in malnourished populations.3How are GMOs regulated?In the EU, GM food and feed are defined as those that contain, consist of, or are produced from GMOs.4,5Under EU law, all GMOs must be authorised before they can be cultivated or used as food or feed.5 A rigorous safety assessment is performed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The data required for the assessment includes data to demonstrate the product’s safety and risk assessments for humans, animals and the environment. The EFSA assessment is reviewed and voted by a committee of experts from each EU Member State. After 10 years, the authorization can be renewed after taking into account any newly available data.5GMOs are among the most scrutinized food groups in the EU and consumers can be assured that the safety assessment is adequate and approved GMOs are as safe as their conventional counterparts. If evidence of a possible risk to humans, animals or the environment was ever to emerge, measures are in place to rapidly withdraw any implicated product and suspend/modify its authorisation.5,6 To date, no adverse effects on human health have been observed as a result of consumption of authorised GMO foods.7Labelling and Traceability of GMOsA label mentioning the GM origin is required if more than 0.9% of a food, or ingredient, is derived from an authorised GM source. Below this threshold operators must be able to supply evidence that the presence of any GMO is unintentional or technically unavoidable.5 ‘GM-free’ labels can be used voluntarily – as long as they do not mislead the consumer. A label must not claim that a food product possesses special characteristics when all similar foodstuffs possess such characteristics.1 For example, it is misleading to label orange juice as GMO-free, since there are currently no GM oranges on the market anywhere.GMOs, and any products containing them, are labelled and their origins are traceable throughout the food supply chain.5,8 Moreover, everyone involved in the supply chain must keep records of all transactions of GM food/feed over a five year period; this ensures that products could be tracked if evidence of an unexpected risk was ever to emerge.8,9 The European Commission has established an online public register where citizens can search for information on authorized GMOs.10What is currently authorized in the EU?There is one GM crop that is currently approved for cultivation, insect-resistant maize. It is currently grown in small quantities in Spain, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Romania and Slovakia.11 Legislation passed in 2015 allows individual member states to restrict or ban cultivation of EU-approved GM crops in their own territories.12,13As of January 1st 2016, there were 61 GMOs authorised for marketing as food or feed in the EU. These GMOs are not cultivated on EU territory, but food and feed can contain them from imported sources.
EFSA endeavours to develop networking and stronger cooperation with the Member States, and to strengthen its relationship with institutional partners (European Union and international) and stakeholders, as recommended by EFSA’s Management Board. In accordance with EFSA’s strategy for cooperating with Member States, the EFSA Scientific Network for Risk Assessment of GMOs (hereafter referred to as “the GMO Network”) was established in 2010. Since its inaugural meeting in November 2010, the GMO Network has met once per year.
The overall goals of the GMO Network are to improve dialogue among members, build mutual understanding of risk assessment principles, enhance knowledge and confidence in the scientific assessments carried out in the EU, and increase the transparency of the process among Member States and EFSA. It aims to raise the level of harmonisation of the risk assessments developed in the EU.
Currently 27 Member States and Norway are members of the GMO Network. Switzerland is invited to the GMO Network as observer. Each country was allowed to nominate two Member Organisations: one with competence in molecular characterisation and food-feed safety (MC/FF) and one with competence in environmental risk assessment (ERA). These Member Organisations have appointed in total over 60 selected scientific experts to attend the yearly meetings in the light of the topics on the agenda. A maximum of two experts per country are invited to each meeting.
The sixth meeting of the GMO Network, held in May 2015, was attended by 42 scientific experts from 25 Member States and Norway, one observer from Switzerland, two hearing experts invited as speakers, one representative of the European Commission (Directorate General for Health and Consumers – DG SANTE), five EFSA GMO Panel members, and 14 EFSA scientific staff members from the GMO and Evidence Management (DATA) Units.
At the sixth meeting of the GMO Network, the appointed experts were informed about follow-up activities to the discussions held at the fifth meeting of the GMO Network, active mandates of the EFSA GMO Panel, including GMO applications, risk assessment guideline development, requests for scientific advice, and procurement contracts. This was followed by discussions on the draft guidance on agronomic and phenotypic characterisation of GM plants and the draft guidance document for the risk assessment of the renewal of GM plant products authorized under Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003. Two breakout sessions were organised according to the expertise of the two groups of experts, to allow in-depth discussion of specific topics. The experts in the field of MC/FF discussed the use of EFSA Comprehensive European Food Consumption Database for estimating dietary exposure to GM foods. The experts in the ERA field discussed EFSA’s self-task activity to supplement its previous risk mitigation measures reducing exposure of non-target Lepidoptera to maize MON 810, Bt11 or 1507 pollen. At the following joint plenary session, the GMO Network experts discussed with the invited speakers risk assessment considerations for plants developed by new plant breeding techniques or synthetic biology, and for second generation GMOs respectively. This was followed by a discussion on the use of negative segregants in the comparative assessment of GMOs. EFSA also presented its Document Management System and shared information on upcoming scientific events.
In 2015, GMO Network experts participated in two EFSA meetings relevant for the risk assessment of GMOs. The first one was the 96th GMO Panel plenary meeting, which was held in Brussels on 4-5 March 2015. During this meeting, the draft guidance document on agronomic and phenotypic characterisation of GM plants and the draft guidance for the risk assessment of the renewal of GM plant products authorised under Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 were discussed. GMO Network members expressed their views and asked questions related to these draft documents, in their quality as observers to this meeting. The second one was the ‘Workshop on allergenicity assessment of GM plants’, held in the context of guidance development in Brussels, on 17 June 2015. The objective of this workshop was to involve stakeholders at an early stage of the guidance development and to enhance their participation in EFSA scientific work. GMO Network members actively participated to the discussions held at this workshop and provided valuable input.
The data on antimicrobial resistance in zoonotic and indicator bacteria in 2014, submitted by 28 EU Member States (MSs), were jointly analysed by EFSA and ECDC. Resistance in zoonotic Salmonella and Campylobacter species from humans, animals and food, and resistance in indicator Escherichia coli as well as meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in animals and food was assessed. ‘Microbiological’ resistance was assessed using epidemiological cut-off (ECOFF) values; for some countries, quantitative data on human isolates were interpreted in a way which corresponds closely to the ECOFF-defined ‘microbiological’ resistance. In Salmonella from humans, high proportions of isolates were resistant to ampicillin, sulfonamides and tetracyclines, whereas resistance to third-generation cephalosporins and to fluoroquinolones remained generally low, although it was markedly higher in some serovars commonly associated with broilers and turkeys. In Salmonella and Escherichia coli isolates from broilers, fattening turkeys and meat thereof, resistance to ampicillin, (fluoro)quinolones, tetracyclines and sulfonamides was frequently detected, whereas resistance to third-generation cephalosporins was uncommon. For the first time, presumptive extended spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-/AmpC-/carbapenemase production in Salmonella and Escherichia coli was monitored in poultry. The occurrence of ESBL-/AmpC-producers was low, and carbapenemase-producers were not detected. Resistance to colistin was observed at low levels in Salmonella and Escherichia coli from poultry and meat thereof. In Campylobacter from humans, a high to very high proportion of isolates were resistant to ciprofloxacin and tetracyclines, whereas resistance to erythromycin was low to moderate. Resistance to fluoroquinolones in some MSs was extremely high; in such settings, the effective treatment options for human enteric Campylobacter infection may be significantly reduced. High resistance to ciprofloxacin and tetracyclines was observed in Campylobacter isolates from broilers and broiler meat, whereas much lower levels were recorded for erythromycin. Co-resistance to critically important antimicrobials in both human and animal isolates was generally uncommon, but very high to extremely high MDR levels were observed in some Salmonella serovars. A minority of Salmonella isolates from animals belonging to a few serovars (notably Kentucky and Infantis) exhibited high-level resistance to ciprofloxacin.
© European Food Safety Authority, 2016
Zoonoses are infections that are transmissible between animals and humans. Infections can be acquired directly from animals, via environmental exposure or through the ingestion of contaminated foodstuffs. The severity of these diseases in humans can vary from mild symptoms to life-threatening conditions. Zoonotic bacteria that are resistant to antimicrobials are of particular concern, as they might compromise the effective treatment of infections in humans. Data from the EU Member States (MSs) are collected and analysed in order to monitor the occurrence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in zoonotic bacteria isolated from humans, animals and food in the European Union (EU).
For 2014, 28 MSs reported data on AMR in zoonotic bacteria to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), and 21 MSs submitted data to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). In addition, three other European countries provided information. The enhanced monitoring of AMR in bacteria from food and food-producing animals set out in the Commission Implementing Decision 2013/652/EU was successfully implemented in reporting MSs and non-MSs in the EU during 2014. In accordance with the legislation, the 2014 AMR data on food and food-producing animals specifically targeted different poultry populations and meat derived thereof. EFSA and ECDC performed the analyses of the data, the results of which are published in this EU Summary Report on AMR. Data on resistance were reported regarding Salmonella and Campylobacter isolates from humans, poultry and meat thereof, whereas data on indicator Escherichia coli isolates were related only to poultry and meat derived thereof. Some MSs also reported data on the occurrence of meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in animals and food; the antimicrobial susceptibility of MRSA isolates was additionally reported by two countries.
The quantitative data on AMR in isolates from humans, poultry and meat thereof were assessed using harmonised epidemiological cut-off values that define ‘microbiological’ resistance, i.e. reduced susceptibility to the antimicrobials tested, as well as using clinical breakpoints (CBPs), where considered appropriate. The categorical (qualitative) data on AMR in isolates from humans interpreted by using CBPs were aligned with ‘microbiological’ resistance by combining ‘clinically resistant’ and ‘intermediate resistant’ isolates into a non-susceptible group. Isolates from different sources should only be directly compared when methods and interpretive criteria are comparable.
For the first time, all MSs reported AMR data on poultry and meat thereof at the isolate level. This enabled analysis of multi-drug resistance (MDR) and co-resistance patterns to critically important antimicrobials in both human and animal isolates at the EU level but also at country level. In addition, for all bacterial species, AMR data could be analysed at the production-type level, such as broilers and laying hens of Gallus gallus and fattening turkeys, which allows the analysis of the data to be fine-tuned. More specifically, reporting data at isolate level allowed characterisation of important patterns of resistance, enabling Salmonella serovars to be linked to particular resistance patterns and to identify high-level resistance to fluoroquinolones and important resistance phenotypes in both Salmonella and indicator E. coli. The information published in this report provides an overview of resistance in most MSs with detailed consideration of certain important aspects.
Highlights of this report include the continued monitoring of the spread of certain highly resistant Salmonella serovars. Two serovars in particular, S. Infantis and S. Kentucky, contribute significantly to the overall numbers of multidrug-resistant Salmonella in Europe. Both serovars display high-level resistance to ciprofloxacin, which is an important public health concern because ciprofloxacin is a common first-line treatment for invasive salmonellosis in humans.
The introduction of Commission implementing Decision 2013/652/EU with revised panels of antimicrobials to be tested has been timely, preceding recent reports of emergence of transferable colistin and erythromycin resistance in Asia (Liu et al., 2015; Wang et al., 2015). The continually evolving threat from emerging resistance underlines the need to review the data collected, interpret the findings and assess trends. This report has attempted to highlight some of the most important findings in 2014, but space constraints mean that it is necessarily selective.
The inclusion within the harmonised monitoring scheme of a supplementary panel of antimicrobials, to be tested when certain resistances to an initial panel of antimicrobials are detected, enabled detailed screening of resistance to three carbapenem compounds. No resistance to meropenem was detected and this is a crucial finding, because carbapenems are critically important in human medicine. Only nine E. coli isolates from broilers and one from fattening turkeys isolated in 6 MSs showed resistance to ertapenem, and all these isolates presented a putative extended spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) or AmpC phenotype. These isolates are being further investigated.
The supplementary testing also allowed, for the first time, detailed characterisation of the beta-lactam resistance phenotypes occurring in Salmonella and indicator E. coli. It enabled further phenotypic characterisation of third-generation cephalosporin and carbapenem resistance in Salmonella and indicator E. coli, by inferring presumptive profiles of ESBL-/AmpC-/carbapenemase-producers. The occurrence of ESBL-/AmpC-producers in Salmonella and indicator E. coli from poultry was assessed as being at low levels. It also showed that S. Infantis in Italy and S. Heidelberg in the Netherlands have probably each acquired a different mechanism of third-generation cephalosporin resistance (an ESBL enzyme in S. Infantis and an AmpC enzyme in S. Heidelberg) and have subsequently spread within each MS.
The EC requested the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to provide scientific and technical assistance on an assessment of the capacity of the proposed revised monitoring programme in Croatia to allow the detection of BSE, both classical and atypical strains, with a design prevalence of at least one case per 100,000 animals in the adult cattle population of the EU26 group (EU25 and Croatia). Under this revision Croatia would stop testing all healthy slaughtered cattle and would test all ‘at risk’ cattle of active surveillance above 36 months of age. The EC resolved that the EU26 should be considered as a unique epidemiological unit for this assessment. Data related to the EU26 were updated to run the Cattle Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies Monitoring Model (C-TSEMM), previously applied to similar assessments. This model allows the estimation of the design prevalence of the same surveillance regime applied by a group of countries. Using data up to 2014, the current EU25 surveillance regime would allow the detection of BSE in the EU25 with a design prevalence of at least 1 per 3,769,555 of the cattle adult population, lower (i.e. more sensitive) than the minimum requirement of 1 case per 100,000. The addition of Croatia to the EU25 epidemiological unit (EU26) assuming the current EU25 surveillance regime resulted in an ability in EU26 to detect BSE with a design prevalence of at least 1 per 3,789,838 of the adult cattle population. It is recommended:  to run the C-TSEMM model on an annual basis with updated data;  to monitor MS data in order to evaluate the surveillance coverage and  to identify any shortcomings affecting the overall sensitivity of the surveillance system.
The Food Price Index averaged 150.4 points in January, down 16 percent from a year earlier and registering its lowest level since April 2009.
The FAO Food Price Index is a trade-weighted index tracking international market prices for five key commodity groups: major cereals, vegetable oils, dairy, meat and sugar.
The main factors underlying the lingering decline in basic food commodity prices are the generally ample agricultural supply conditions, a slowing global economy, and the strengthening of the US dollar.
This month, FAO also raised its forecast for worldwide cereal stocks in 2016, as a result of lowering its projected consumption and raising 2015 production prospects.
The FAO Sugar Price Index fell 4.1 percent from December, its first drop in four months, as crop conditions improved in Brazil, by far the world's leading sugar producer and exporter. The Dairy Price Index dropped by 3.0 percent on the back of large supplies, in both the EU and New Zealand, and torpid world import demand.
The FAO Cereal Price Index declined 1.7 percent (to 149.1 points) amid ample global supplies and increased competition for export markets, especially for wheat and maize, as well as a strong US dollar.
The Vegetable Oil Price Index dropped 1.7 percent, mainly because of a decline in soy oil prices reflecting expectations of ample global soybean supplies.
The Meat Price Index moved 1.1 percent lower than its revised December value, with prices of all meat categories falling, except pigmeat, which was sustained by the opening of private storage aid in the EU.
Mixed early prospects for 2016 harvests
Weather patterns associated with El Niño are sending mixed signals about the early prospects for cereal crops in 2016, especially in the Southern Hemisphere, according to FAO's Cereal Supply and Demand Brief, also released today.
2016 crop prospects have been "severely weakened" in Southern Africa, and a 25 percent cut in wheat production in South Africa now appears likely. Conditions for the crop are generally favourable in the Russian Federation and the European Union, but winter plantings declined in the United States and Ukraine. The area under wheat is also expected to be cut in India, following a poor monsoon and below average rains since October.
The 2016 outlook for rice along and south of the Equator is "dim" due, at times, to insufficient water and, at others, to excessive rains.
As for the 2015 season, FAO modestly raised its forecast for world cereal production to 2 531 million tonnes, up slightly from that released in December.
Wheat output in Canada and Russia and maize output in China, Canada and Paraguay drove the upward revision. FAO also slightly raised its expectation regarding 2015 world rice production, mostly on account of higher forecasts for China, Viet Nam and the United States.
At the same time, FAO lowered its forecast for world cereal utilization in the 2015/16 season to 2 527 million tonnes, which remains 0.8 percent above that of the previous year.This reflects a 2.0 percent increase for wheat, largely on account of higher livestock feed use in developed countries and a 0.3 percent increase in maize. World rice utilization is projected to expand by 1.1 percent, keeping world per-capita consumption stable.
As a result of the upgraded production and downgraded consumption forecasts, world cereal stocks are set to end the 2016 seasons at 642 million tonnes, higher than they began. That level implies a steady and comfortable global cereal stock-to-use ratio of around 25 percent.
However, the inventory build-up varies geographically and depending on the crop. Notable increases in wheat inventories are forecast for the United States, European Union and China whereas some reductions are likely in Canada, India and the Islamic Republic of Iran. On the other hand, world rice stocks would need to be drawn down to bridge the expected gap between world production and consumption, with much of the release likely to concern India and Thailand, the two leading rice exporters.
Plant protection products (PPPs), feed additives (FAs) and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are subject to a risk analysis and regulatory approval before being placed on the market, released into the environment, spread or used in agriculture. In this process, the role of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is to independently assess and provide scientific advice to risk managers on possible risks that PPPs, GMOs and FAs may pose to the environment. EFSA also assesses the environmental risks related to the entry and spread of invasive alien species (IAS) that are harmful to plant health and the effects of their management. PPP, GMOs, FAs and IAS are herein commonly denominated as potential stressors.
It is important to realise that the above ‘potential stressors’ in most cases contribute only a minor proportion of the total integrated pressure that ecosystems experience. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Living Planet Report (WWF, 2014) listed the relative attribution of threats contributing to the declines in animal populations as follows: 37% from exploitation (fishing, hunting etc.), 31% habitat degradation and change, 13% from habitat loss, 7% from climate change, and only 5% from invasive species, 4% from pollution and 2% from disease.
It has become clear over the past few years (e.g. at the EFSA 10th Anniversary Conference (EFSA, 2012)) that EFSA’s environmental risk assessment (ERA) schemes have evolved independently in the different areas within its remit (see EFSA, 2011), and that further harmonisation is desirable and possible on specific topics. EFSA therefore mandated (under mandate M-2013-0098) the Scientific Committee (SC) to harmonise EFSA’s ERA schemes with regard to: (1) accounting for biodiversity and ecosystem services when defining protection goals (PGs) for ERA; (2) coverage of endangered species as non-target organisms (NTOs) in single-stressor ERA; and (3) assessing temporal and spatial recovery of NTOs from effects of potential stressors in ERA. The SC therefore prepared three separate scientific documents to address the abovementioned issues.
The current opinion deals with the coverage of endangered non-target species in ERA and considered common approaches across EFSA’s areas of responsibility. The focus of this scientific opinion is on single-stressor ERA schemes under the remit of EFSA.
Scientifically, there is no generally accepted definition for endangered species as endangerment is related to spatio-temporal scales. In this opinion, an endangered species is defined as a species that is either:
listed in one or more ‘red lists’ as threatened (i.e. vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered, or variants thereof), where the considered red lists are: (1) the European Red List, (2) the global International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, and (3) national and other regional red lists within Europe that follow the IUCN or another suitable classification scheme;.
rare based on the classification of Rabinowitz’s seven classes of rarity (including ‘endemics’, ‘classic rarity’, ‘habitat specialists’ and ‘truly sparse’ species)..
Regarding question (ToR 1) Are endangered species more vulnerable than other species?, it was found that their endangerment might be due to particular characteristics that relate to vulnerability, namely (1) exposure, (2) recovery and/or (3) sensitivity to the potential stressor, directly or via indirect effects. No convincing scientific evidence was found indicating that endangered species have in general a higher exposure than other species, with the exception of top predators due to biomagnification. It appears that not the potential stressor or the endangered species per se may be decisive for ecological recovery from impact, but their interaction with (the properties of) the environments/landscapes impacted by stressors, in which endangered species (temporarily) dwell.
However, it seems that endangered species more often exhibit traits that are related to a decreased ability for recovery (e.g. they often have a slow life history). With respect to sensitivity against toxicological stressors, there is no evidence that endangered species are per se more sensitive towards regulated chemicals. However, as many of the endangered species are highly specialised, e.g. in their food or habitats, they may only have been exposed to a restricted range of natural chemicals, therefore resulting in the phylogenetic loss of certain detoxifying pathways relevant for assessed chemicals. The available data in the scientific literature do not allow concluding that endangered species generally suffer more from indirect effects than other related non-target species from potential stressors that fall under the remit of EFSA. However, the conditions described in this opinion suggest that endangered species that highly depend on obligate relationships with other species and/or are being part of complex ecological networks may suffer pronounced indirect effects. This may warrant a precautionary approach until more information becomes available for the specific endangered species under evaluation. In conclusion, question (1) cannot be answered in general, but anecdotal examples illustrate why, where and when endangered species can be more vulnerable than the species or the vulnerable taxa currently considered in ERAs. It is therefore important to identify these more vulnerable endangered species and to explicitly consider them in ERAs.
Different approaches can be followed to cover endangered species in ERA schemes in EFSA’s remit. There is, however, not one single approach that suits all EFSA sectors (i.e. PPR Panel, GMO Panel, Panel on Plant Health (PLH) and Panel on Additives and Products or substances used in Animal Feed (FEEDAP)). For example, currently the surrogate species concept is frequently applied to assess GMOs, whereas a generic protection level in combination with a species-specific trait-based assessment (the vulnerable species concept) is more often used to assess PPPs.
Trait-based approaches, in which species traits are being used as indicators of potential (increased) risk, provide promising opportunities for including endangered species in ERA schemes.
Development of a systematic procedure in which species traits are being used to obtain a qualitative and/or quantitative estimate of the environmental risk of stressors for endangered species..
Construction of a species trait database that can be used as a basis to assess the contextdependent ecological vulnerability of endangered species for different types of stressors..
The rapid advancements in ‘omics’ and in silico techniques are resulting in large amounts of data that provide information about the molecular mechanisms and species traits driving the sensitivity of organisms to stressors.
Current practical and ethical limitations involved in testing endangered species in the field or the laboratory can be overcome if this type of information can be applied in a predictive way, i.e. to predict the sensitivity of species based on molecular traits regarding the phylogenetic relationships between endangered and non-endangered species of the same group (next generation RNA sequencing and whole genome sequencing). However, these novel techniques need to be further developed in order to check their potential use in ERA.
Mathematical models linking individual species traits and behaviours to populations, communities and landscapes provide a promising tool that can aid the risk assessment of potential stressors for endangered (if information on the actual impairment of the population is available at the ecologically relevant spatial scale) and other species.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) carried out a public consultation to receive input from the scientific community and all interested parties on the draft scientific opinion on recovery in environmental risk assessments (ERAs) at EFSA. This draft opinion gathered scientific knowledge on recovery for further development of ERAs and developed a conceptual framework which includes an integrative approach based on well-defined specific protection goals, scientific knowledge derived by means of experimentation, modelling and monitoring, and the selection of focal taxa, communities, processes and landscapes. This draft opinion was prepared by a dedicated working group of the Scientific Committee and endorsed by the Scientific Committee for public consultation at its plenary meeting on 9 June 2015. The consultation was carried out via the web from 22 June 2015 and the draft opinion was published online with an invitation for submission of written comments by 10 September 2015. EFSA received 84 comments from 13 interested parties. The current report presents statistics on the comments received and lists all comments together with detailed answers to them. The submitted comments were considered valuable and were taken into account by the working group when updating the draft scientific opinion on recovery in ERAs at EFSA. EFSA and its Scientific Committee wish to thank all stakeholders for their contributions. The finalised opinion was discussed and adopted at the Scientific Committee plenary meeting on 11 November 2015, and is published in the EFSA Journal.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) was asked by the European Commission to provide scientific assistance with respect to the risk assessment for an active substance in light of confirmatory data requested following approval in accordance with Article 6(1) of Directive 91/414/EEC and Article 6(f) of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009. In this context EFSA’s scientific views on the specific points raised during the commenting phase conducted with Member States, the applicant and EFSA on the confirmatory data and their use in the risk assessment for tri-allate are presented. The current report summarises the outcome of the consultation process organised by the rapporteur Member State the United Kingdom and presents EFSA’s scientific views and conclusions on the individual comments received.
In accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 on materials and articles intended to come into contact with food, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids (CEF Panel) evaluates the safety of certain substances prior to their authorisation for use in food contact materials (FCM) plastics. The current guidelines on this risk assessment process and the corresponding data requirements from applicants date back to the Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) guidelines from 2001. In the light of new developments in science and regulation, along with the experience gained since 2001 from the safety evaluation of hundreds of substances, it is appropriate to revisit the scientific underpinnings of the SCF guidelines published back in 2001 with a view to possibly updating them.
This Opinion is an outcome of a self-tasking activity by the CEF Panel. It describes the recent developments in the risk assessment of chemicals in food and explores their potential impact on EFSA evaluation of FCM substances. The draft of this opinion was published for a 3-month public consultation and was then modified in the light of the scientific comments received. EFSA technical report on that consultation process lists the comments received and provides a response to those comments, and it has been published as an accompanying document to this final, adopted Opinion. This Opinion will provide the European Commission (EC) with the scientific basis for a discussion among risk managers on possible implications for risk management. It is intended that, in turn, the EC will provide feedback for EFSA to prepare updated guidelines for data requirements for the safety assessment of a substance to be used in FCM.
One major area revisited is the estimation of consumer exposure. For most substances used in FCM, human exposure data were not readily available in the past. For this reason, the SCF used the assumption that a person may consume daily up to 1 kg of food in contact with 6 dm² of the relevant FCM. Now that EFSA’s Comprehensive European Food Consumption Database is available, based on the 95th percentile value for the highest European Union (EU) country and using the default water consumption figures set by the World Health Organization (WHO) for infants, four food group categories could be set. For category 1, FCM intended for contact with water and foodstuffs such as reconstituted infant milk formula, the age group with the highest consumption is ‘Infants’, with a consumption figure of 150 g/kg body weight (bw) per day. For category 2, in which contact with category 1 is excluded, but contact with milk, milk products and other non-alcoholic drinks is intended, then the age group with the highest consumption is ‘Toddlers’, with a value of 80 g/kg bw per day. For category 3, in which contact with food categories 1 and 2 are excluded but contact is with foods specifically intended for infants and toddlers, the age group with the highest consumption is ‘Toddlers’, with a value of 50 g/kg bw per day. For category 4, in which the FCM is intended for contact with foods other than those covered by categories 1, 2 and 3, the age group with the highest consumption is ‘Toddlers’, with a value of 20 g/kg bw per day. The food consumption values for these four categories are approximately 9, 5, 3 and 1.2 times higher than the current SCF default model, i.e. 17 g/kg bw per day (1 kg food consumed by an adult weighting 60 kg bw), and so using them would afford a higher level of protection, especially for infants and toddlers. Under certain conditions, special exposure scenarios might be used if consumption were lower.
Regarding the identification and evaluation of all substances that migrate, experience gained over the years has shown that more focus is needed on the finished materials and articles, including the manufacturing process used. Substances used in the manufacture of plastic materials or articles may contain impurities originating from their manufacturing. Moreover, during manufacturing and use, reaction and degradation products can be formed, of which oligomers can be the dominant class. These substances have become known as non-intentionally added substances (NIAS) and are referred to as such in Commission regulations. Whether their presence is intentional or not, it is necessary to evaluate the safety of all migrating substances and not just of the starting substances – for example the monomers or additives alone – and the guidelines should be updated to account more fully for this more comprehensive approach. This change towards the finished FCM and its use calls for an adjustment of the present system of listing substances in order to render transparent what has been evaluated.
The EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food (ANS) provides a scientific opinion re-evaluating the safety of erythorbic acid (E 315) and sodium erythorbate (E 316) as food additives. The use of these food additives was evaluated by the Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) that established an acceptable daily intake (ADI) of 6 mg/kg body weight (bw)/day. Intestinal absorption of erythorbate was reported from a mice study and near complete excretion within 24 h from a guinea pig study. The Panel noted that the acute toxicity of erythorbic acid or sodium erythorbate is low, there was no indication of adverse effects from the available subchronic toxicity studies, there is no concern with respect to their genotoxicity neither to respect to carcinogenicity. The Panel identified a no observed adverse effect level (NOAEL) of 650 mg/kg bw/day based on a decrease in body weight from a carcinogenicity study. No maternal and developmental effects were observed from a prenatal developmental toxicity study with sodium erythorbate. The Panel recognised the limitation of the overall toxicological database (no reproductive and chronic toxicity studies), but did not consider necessary to increase the usual uncertainty factor of 100 in deriving an ADI. Therefore, the Panel concluded that there is no reason to revise the current ADI of 6 mg/kg bw/day. Combined dietary exposure to erythorbic acid and sodium erythorbate from their use as food additives was calculated. Considering that the ADI is not exceeded by any population group, the Panel also concluded that the use of erythorbic acid (E 315) and sodium erythorbate (E 316) as food additives at the permitted or reported use and use levels would not be of safety concern.
Following a request from the European Commission, the EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food (ANS) provides a scientific opinion regarding the safety of the extension of use of the food additive sucralose (E 955) when added to dietary food for special medical purpose (FSMP) intended for young children aged from 1 to 3 years. Sucralose was evaluated by the EU Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) who established an acceptable daily intake (ADI) of 15 mg/kg body weight (bw). Sucralose is authorised in the EU for food use with exception for foods for young children. According to the applicant, the use of sweeteners is required to ensure palatable foods for the dietary management of patients whose compliance with the dietary regime (prescribed by healthcare professionals) is a key factor to their health. The exposure scenarios based on the proposed use by the applicant on the FSMP indicated that the total daily protein requirement (3 g protein/kg bw) could be covered by the product containing 400 mg sucralose/kg without exceeding the ADI. Also, exposure in other scenarios based on different assumptions was always below the ADI. Therefore, the ANS Panel concluded that the proposed extension of use of sucralose (E 955) in FSMP in young children aged from 1 to 3 years would not be of safety concern.
To enhance cooperation with Member States on specific topics, EFSA established in 2010 Scientific Networks, among which the Network for Risk Assessment of Nanotechnologies in Food and Feed. This Network is used to facilitate harmonisation of assessment practices and methodologies, to enhance exchange of information and data between EFSA and Member States and to achieve synergies in risk assessment activities. The Annual reports of the Network inform the public, stakeholders, research community, risk assessment community and the EFSA Advisory Forum about its specific activities and advice. During 2015, the Network followed-up on its priority topic to discuss test methods and test results that are relevant for risk assessments at EFSA. At its 2015 meeting, twenty Network experts participated and focussed on issues that merit further method development or scientific unravelling such as the physico-chemical characterisation, the role of solubility/shape/coating in translocation mechanisms and toxicity as well as the risk assessment of soft nanomaterials and the fate and effects of nanoparticles in the environment. Updated information was presented by the Joint Research Centre and a representative of the EU Framework Program 7 project NanoDefine on the technical aspects and implementation of the EC Recommended definition for Nanomaterial. The Network received overviews of the activities on nanomaterials in the European Chemicals Agency and the European Medicines Agency, based on which synergies and common needs were further explored. The Network also exchanged views on the risk assessment of applications (being) assessed at EFSA and comprising implicitly or explicitly nanoforms. The list with national research projects and the list with contact details of national laboratories that can analyse nanomaterials in complex matrices were updated.