Category Archives European Food Safety Authority

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."

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published a scientific opinion on animal welfare considerations during the slaughter of poultry for food. The opinion provides a "comprehensive overview" of "the entire slaughter process from arrival and unloading of birds through stunning to bleeding and killing." The opinion also identifies hazards that "give rise to welfare issues—such as pain, thirst, hunger or restricted movement—and proposes preventive and corrective measures where possible." Many of the identified hazards relate to the lack of training in personnel; the "advice highlights the importance of staff being adequately trained in the different phases of slaughter and for clear identification of roles and responsibilities." The press release notes that EFSA will publish further opinions on animal welfare in slaughter for pigs, cattle and other species in 2020.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has launched a public consultation on the risks associated with consuming aflatoxins, mycotoxins produced by two species of Aspergillus that “are known to be genotoxic (capable of damaging DNA) and carcinogenic.” Most human exposure to aflatoxins comes from contaminated grains and derived products, although they can also be found in milk, according to the notice. Comments will be accepted until November 15, 2019.

Denmark has reportedly passed a law that will ban per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from cardboard and paper used for food packaging. "These substances represent such a health problem that we can no longer wait for the EU," Denmark's food minister is quoted as saying. Recycled paper may continue to be used if the PFAS compounds are separated from food with a barrier. PFAS compounds have come under scrutiny in both the United States and Europe as agencies research the effects of consuming the substances.

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