FSOLab 1 concept

On 22 and 23 September 2021, the 1st session of FSO Lab 1 was conducted online. This FSO Lab focuses on the need for harmonisation and integration, specifically in the setting of risk analysis in a circular economy. The risk analysis process faces many challenges due to the circular economy as, for example, recycled materials can contain contaminants from previous (mis-)use. 

Twenty-one participants from academia, consumer organisations, food safety authorities, and companies work together to co-create pilot actions that will make the risk analysis process better capable to deal with food safety issues in a more circular economy. 

Why FSOLab 1 topic is important?

The increasing call for sustainability comes from the desire to reduce our environmental impact. However, from a food safety point of view, it brings new potential issues. Closing material cycles does not only mean fewer virgin materials needed, in the case of food contact materials it also creates the risk that compounds from previous or mis-use migrate to foods in the next cycle. Similarly, the call for more local and small-scale produced food and feed can lead to a higher prevalence of mycotoxins. 

These issues cannot adequately be predicted with conventional risk assessments, nor do food safety authorities have the data necessary to do the risk assessment. By aligning procedures and looking at opportunities and needs for more harmonisation and integration, this FSOLab attempts to increase the ability of the food safety system to deal with the transition safely. These topics were selected on the basis of in-depth interviews with food safety experts and on a ‘ranking’ done by our participants in the preparatory session 0 (image on the right)

Pilot Actions

Two pilot actions on two topics were choosen:

Pilot Action No. 1: Food contact materials

To have dialogue roundtables with Member States and enforcement authorities together with actors of the packing value chain to identify elements and criteria from industry guidelines that can be adapted in regulation e.g. for risk assessments, for identification of migrating substances, gaps in analytics and harmonisation of methods, transparency rules, and the Documents of Compliance. 

Pilot Action No. 2: Mycotoxins

Harmonisation of data: to not reinvent the wheel, we will use the already existing EFSA datasheet. However, to warranty the provision of  much more data coming from all stakeholders (from scientists to food operators) we need to provide TRAINING on the requirements to have HIGH-QUALITY data introduced in the system 

FSOLab 1 Team

Niels van der Linden

Lab Manager

Wageningen University & Research

Pieternel Luning

Lab Manager

Wageningen University & Research

FSOLab 1 Next Steps & Updates

In the following workshop the initial pilot ideas will be further developed into pilot actions. For food contact materials the aimed output is to have a guidance document with requirements for official controls of recycled FCM and take the first steps to design a new framework for recycling FCM. On mycotoxins the aim is to develop a new data format for risk assessment that incorporates the data need for sustainability, for example climate change and consumption data. This data format will be validated with a trial risk assessment to identify any potential gaps.