The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has released an opinion proposing a revision to tolerable intakes of per- and polyfluoroalykl substances (PFAS), which food packaging can contain. The authors reportedly observed high levels of PFAS in “meat and meat products” as well as “fish and other seafood.” In addition, PFAS was “detected in blood samples of almost all individuals assessed, demonstrating ubiquitous exposure.”
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has issued a scientific opinion on "the occurrence and control of three parasites that may be transmitted via food, namely Cryptosporidium spp., Toxoplasma gondii, and Echinococcus spp.," which cause the diseases "cryptosporidiosis, toxoplasmosis, and alveolar echinococcosis (AE) and cystic echinococcosis (CE), respectively." EFSA identified "many gaps in our knowledge of food‐borne transmission of the three parasites" but suggested that "consumer preferences for raw, fresh produce may contribute to increasing the likelihood of infection." EFSA further noted that commercial washing of fresh produce, "particularly with the reuse of washwater, may spread localised contamination throughout a batch," resulting in contamination of ready-to-eat produce. EFSA also researched the prevalence of contamination in meat, finding that "consumer preferences for animals raised with access to outdoor conditions, for not freezing meat prior to consumption, and for eating meat raw or rare may increase the likelihood of exposure to infective…
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has released a scientific report identifying potential areas of improvement in the agency’s emerging risks identification procedure. The report highlights “weaknesses with respect to data collection, analysis and integration” and suggests that broader analyses would improve the system. Recommendations include (i) integrating social sciences “to improve understanding of interactions and dynamics,” (ii) improving data processing pipelines and (iii) enhancing transparency and improving communication.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has reviewed data on glyphosate residues on crops and determined that "current exposure levels are not expected to pose a risk to human health." The review includes two reports examining crops grown for human consumption as well as crops used in animal feed. EFSA reportedly relied on comparisons between the diets of EU adults and children and the glyphosate intake values the agency recommended in 2015.
The European Commission has proposed changes to directives governing food safety, marketing and distribution. According to an EU news release, the proposal would update the General Food Law, "which dates back from 2002 and thus needs an update," and "will give citizens greater access to information submitted to the European Food Safety Authority [(EFSA)] on approvals concerning the agri-food chain." The EU proposes to create a registry of commissioned studies available to the public and predicts that Member States will be more involved in EFSA's governance structure and scientific panels. The proposal also reportedly targets "dual foods," or foods marketed across the continent but produced and sold with ingredients of reduced quality in some areas. Additional details on the New Deal for Consumers, including proposed rules on collective redress, appear in Shook's Product Liability Bulletin.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has issued a scientific opinion reevaluating the safety of silicon dioxide used as a food additive, concluding that the available information is insufficient to confirm the current acceptable daily intake. The panel reportedly found no indication of adverse effects or genotoxicity, but it questioned a long-term study indicating silicon dioxide is not carcinogenic because the description of the primary particle size was not reported. The panel recommended that the European Commission consider lowering the current limits for arsenic, lead, mercury and cadmium in the current specifications for silicon dioxide to ensure it will not be a source of exposure to those elements.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has opened a public consultation period on draft guidance for the agency’s risk assessment of nanoscience and nanotechnology applications in human and animal food. The draft, intended to update the 2011 guidance, will include coverage of novel foods, food contact materials, food and feed additives and pesticides. It also considers in vivo and in vitro toxicology studies and outlines a tiered framework for testing. The deadline for submission of public comments is March 4, 2018.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has launched a consultation on its draft protocol for its scientific opinion on free sugars. The protocol responds to five member states' request seeking "a science-based cut-off value for a daily exposure to added sugars from all sources (i.e. sucrose, fructose, glucose, starch hydrolysates such as glucose syrup, high-fructose syrup and other isolated sugar preparations used as such or added during food preparation and manufacturing) which is not associated with adverse health effects." EFSA will not accept comments "related to policy or risk management aspects, which are out of the scope of EFSA's activity." Comments will be accepted until March 4, 2018.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has issued an assessment of the risks of furans and related compounds 2- and 3-methylfurans, concluding that they pose a higher risk to infants—the most exposed group—than older children or adults because infants consume jarred or canned foods with high mean concentrations of the materials. Risks associated with furan exposure reportedly include liver damage and liver cancer. According to EFSA, furan exposure might be reduced through preparation methods such as reheating ready-to-eat foods in a hot-water bath without a lid because evaporation can remove some furan content. EFSA also reported that the highest exposure in adults was attributable to coffee; high mean concentrations of furan were found in whole roasted coffee beans, ground roasted coffee, coffee imitates and instant coffee powder.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has determined that member states cannot invoke the “precautionary principle” to restrict the cultivation and sale of crops developed from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) if the European Commission has not determined that the crops “are likely to constitute a serious risk to human health, animal health or the environment.” Case C-111/16, Italy v. Fidenato (E.C.J., entered September 13, 2017). The ruling responded to a request from an Italian court overseeing the prosecution of three farmers accused of growing GMO maize in violation of Italian law. The district court judge stayed the criminal proceedings to ask the ECJ whether Italy had the authority to ban the crop despite EC approval of its cultivation and sale. In 2013, Italy asked the European Commission to adopt emergency measures allowing member states to apply a “precautionary principle” and implement risk-management measures where “the possibility of harmful effects on…