Category Archives European Food Safety Authority

The European Food Safety Authority has issued several opinions, in keeping with its Farm to Fork Strategy, that provide guidance on compliance when transporting animals to food processing facilities and slaughterhouses. The opinions identify possible hazards to animal welfare in transport and provide information on combating disease or other disorders that would threaten animal welfare. Types of animals covered by the opinions include cattle; pigs; domestic birds and rabbits; sheep and goats; and horses and donkeys.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has completed a "comprehensive safety assessment of sugars in the diet and their potential links to health problems." The assessment aimed to set a tolerable upper intake level for dietary sugars, but the panel was unable to reach a conclusion. According to the assessment's plain language summary, "the risk of adverse health effects (responses) increased across the whole range of observed intake levels (doses) in a constant (linear) manner, i.e. the higher the intake, the greater the risk of adverse effects." The announcement indicated that the wide-ranging assessment may allow researchers to set a tolerable upper intake level following future studies. One panelists reportedly stated, "We screened over 30,000 publications so we have identified several areas to target for researchers and technicians. The pooling and reuse of individual human data from research studies would be a valuable source of information. Research should focus both…

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) have begun consultations seeking scientific evaluations of glyphosate. "The classification of chemicals is based solely on the hazardous properties of a substance and does not take into account the use or likelihood of exposure to the substance," the announcement notes. "Exposure is considered as part of the risk assessment of pesticide active substances, a process led by EFSA." Glyphosate is currently approved for use the European Union until December 2022, and EFSA and ECHA anticipate finalizing their conclusions "in the second half of 2022." Comments will be accepted until November 22, 2021.

An EU study has examined New Genomic Techniques (NGTs), which can create genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and their potential effects on creating a sustainable food system in Europe. In a press release, Commissioner for Heath and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides said, "The study we publish today concludes that New Genomic Techniques can promote the sustainability of agricultural production, in line with the objectives of our Farm to Fork Strategy. With the safety of consumers and the environment as the guiding principle, now is the moment to have an open dialogue with citizens, Member States and the European Parliament to jointly decide the way forward for the use of these biotechnologies in the EU." The announcement notes that the EU will begin an open consultation "to discuss the design of a new legal framework for these biotechnologies." Among the findings of the study are that "NGT products have the potential to…

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has issued guidance with information advising food business operators on what information should be included on frozen food packaging. The guidance suggests when additional food-safety information should be included, such as a note to only thaw the necessary amount of food and to break up large pieces that have been frozen together inside the package. EFSA also notes that some products will have different shelf-life limits after the packaging has been opened because new pathogens could have been introduced. "From a food safety point of view, freezing prevents the growth of pathogens. However, even though the concentration of pathogens may decrease over time, elimination is usually not complete during the freezing period depending on the pathogen and initial concentrations, the duration of the frozen storage and conditions during freezing/thawing. Pathogenic microorganisms that survive frozen storage can recover during thawing and may grow and/or produce…

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has released several guidance documents to aid stakeholders in complying with EU regulations on food issues implemented on March 27, 2021. The publications provide guidance on: Applying for an exemption from mandatory food allergen labeling; Renewing applications for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food and feed; Preparing applications for genetically modified plants; Applying for authorization of a novel food; Preparing applications for substances to be used in food-contact plastics; Applying to make health claims about foods; Preparing an evaluation for infant formula manufactured from protein hydrolysates; and Submitting notifications for traditional foods from third countries.

The European Food Safety Authority has issued scientific guidance on the inclusion of smoke flavoring in food products. The guidance includes notes on the characterization of the flavoring, proposed uses, exposure assessments and safety data. Smoke flavoring has increasingly been a target of putative class actions in the United States, including lawsuits targeting smoked gouda and smoked provolone.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has released its assessment of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)—a group of chemicals that can be found in food and food packaging—and their potential risks to human health. The agency has set the threshold for a group tolerable weekly intake of 4.4 nanograms per kilogram of body weight. EFSA noted that its 2018 assessment considered an increase in cholesterol as the main critical effect of PFAS, but the experts in the 2020 assessment "considered the decreased response of the immune system to vaccination to be the most critical human health effect."

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has completed its health risk assessment for glycoalkaloids in food and animal feeds, especially in potatoes. "Experts identified a health concern for infants and toddlers, considering both mean and high consumers," the agency's announcement states. "Among adults, there is a health concern for high consumers only. Glycoalkaloids poisoning can cause acute gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea." "Based on the latest available knowledge, EFSA derived a lowest observed adverse effect level of 1 milligram per kilogram of body weight per day. This equates to the lowest dose at which undesired effects are observed," according to the statement. "Peeling, boiling and frying can reduce the content of glycoalkaloids in food. For example, peeling potatoes can reduce their content by between 25 and 75%, boiling in water between 5 and 65%, and frying in oil between 20 and 90%."

A regulatory committee of the European Union has reportedly voted to prohibit the use of chlorpyrifos and chlorpyrifos-methyl. Member countries voted to withdraw authorization for the insecticide after January 31, 2020, after which companies will have three months to dispose of their stocks of chlorpyrifos. The vote follows an August 2019 determination by the European Food Safety Authority finding that chlorpyrifos has "no safe exposure level."