EU agency sets food safety agenda for year

By Ahmed ElAmin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Risk assessment, Food, Codex alimentarius, European food safety authority

Risk assessment research into nanotechnology and marine biotoxins
are some of the areas the European Food Safety Authority plans to
target this year.

The details are laid out in a managment plan for the year published by the agency this month. The plan sets the agenda for food safety research and investigations by EFSA, allowing processors an insight into new areas of concern for the EU agency. Since EFSA was founded in 2002, EU legislation has put greater responsibilities and tasks at its door. Such tasks include extensive work on maximum residue levels of pesticides, plant pest risk analysis, nutrition and health claims. In relation to new or emerging areas of food safety analysis EFSA wants to establish new scientific panels and group of experts to advise it on a number of what it says are priority projects for the year. These include a risk assessment of nanoparticles, an emerging technology in the food and food packaging segments. Another area EFSA wants to work on is establishing detection methods for relevant marine biotoxins. It also plans to do a risk assessment of morphine exposure through the consumption of poppy seeds used in food products, according to the document. Another priority area will be to harmonise methodologies and approaches for the collection and analysis of data on microbiological and chemical contamination in food and feed. The plan also includes a move to harmonise risk assessment approaches across EU regulators, and to establish a database of national experts on a variety of research areas. In the area of food additives, flavourings, processing aids and food contact materials EFSA plans to establish guidelines for the recycling of plastics, for substances for use in active and intelligent food contact materials. EFSA also plans to develop guidelines to help companies when they submit research dossiers on food enzymes for analysis by the agency's scientific panels. The guidelines anticipate the passage of proposed legislation that would regulate food enzymes. EFSA also stated that it has received a requests to review and update previous opinions on the safety of irradiation used as a food safety measure. It has also been asked by legislators to consider the safety of the exposure from all food sources of aluminium following the reduction of maximum levels by a joint Food and Agriculture Organisation and World Health Organisation expert committee on food additives. An EFSA panel on dietetic products, nutrition and allergies will focus on providing scientific advice requested by EU regulation on nutrient profiles and on nutrition and health claims made on foods. The panel will also continue its work to establish nutrient based recommendations for the EU, according to the document. It will also carry out a risk assessment of allergen derivatives for labelling purposes, and an assessment of dietary foods such as infant formula. Another panel will continue evaluating packaging that comes into contact with foods. EFSA said it will concentrate on evaluating substances authorised for use at a national level but not yet analysed according to the agency's guidelines. The panel will also complete a re-evaluation of food additives, food colours, and substances for use in food supplements and infant foods. It will also evaluate chemically defined flavouring substances, among other work.

Related topics: Food Safety & Quality

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