Stakeholders’ Targeted Consultation on EU4Health: future priorities, orientation and needs

The EU4Health Programme aims to build a strong European Health Union by supporting legislative and non-legislative Union health priorities. With a budget of EUR 5.3 billion for the period 2021-27, this represents an unprecedented level of financial commitment for public health.

The Commission is inviting key stakeholders to take part in a targeted consultation on the current and future Union health priorities, strategic orientations and health needs that need to be addressed through future EU4Health annual work programmes. The results will be used in the consultation report and will also feed into the EU4Health stakeholders’ conference on 9 June 2023.

The deadline to contribute is 8 May 2023.

Online survey:

Have your say on the risk assessment and management status of current and emerging food safety issues!

Have your say on the risk assessment and management status of current and emerging food safety issues!

FS4EU is carrying out a survey to identify the different stages of risk assessment and/or risk management on several different substances split into 2 groups:

>> Mycotoxins (T2/HT2, DON, Alternaria, Enniatins)

>> Food Contact Materials (MOSH/MOAH, Phtalates (DEHP, DBP, DiBP), Bisphenols (BPA, TBBPA, BPS) and metals (Lead, Cadmium)).

Some of these substances are already regulated by national/EU law, but are not (yet) risk assessed for particular countries. We’re exploring the current status in the wide European area. For Mycotoxins the possibility for regional rather than national applicability is included in the survey.
The data collected through this survey will be used in the development of a harmonisation and integration roadmap, to have an overview of the emerging issues in Europe.

We strongly encourage Food Safety Authorities and interested actors of the Food Safety System to contribute to our survey!

thank you for filling out the survey by clicking on the above bottom!

Undesirable chemical substances: what’s new from EFSA scientific opinions and technical reports

FS4EU shares the summary of scientific opinions/technical reports on some undesirable chemical substances (including some metabolites of active substances of plant protection products) issued by EFSA in 2022 and provided by the Italian EFSA Focal Point

Toxicity of pyrethroid common metabolites

Scientific opinion, published on 21 October 2022

The EFSA Panel on Plant Protection Products and their Residues was requested by the European Commission, to conclude based upon available evidence if metabolites 3‐phenoxybenzoic acid (PBA) and 3‐(4′‐hydroxyphenoxy)benzoic acid (PBA(OH)), common to several pyrethroid compounds, have genotoxic properties if they share the (neuro)toxicity profile of their parent compounds, and if the evidence allows concluding on their health‐based guidance values. The available body of evidence consisted of studies from regulatory dossier submissions, as well as from public literature. In addition, the data gap for the short‐term toxicity profile of PBA was addressed by read‐across. The assessment revealed that PBA and PBA(OH) do not raise a concern with respect to genotoxicity. As regards general toxicity, PBA and PBA(OH) have different qualitative (no neurotoxic mechanism) and quantitative (higher NOAELs) toxicity compared to the parent pyrethroid compounds. For both metabolites, acceptable daily intake (ADI) and acute reference dose (ARfD) values were derived at 0.1 mg/kg body weight (bw) per day and 1 mg/kg bw, respectively.

Request for technical assistance in relation to the safety of hydroxyanthracene derivatives

Technical report, published on 20 October 2022

In accordance with Article 31 of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002, the European Commission asked EFSA to provide technical assistance in the context of its ‘Opinion on the safety of hydroxyanthracene derivatives for use in food‘ (EFSA ANS Panel, 2018). In this regard, EFSA was asked to assess whether the data from two new scientific publications presented by the Italian Society of Toxicology were sufficient to revise the conclusions of EFSA on the safety of hydroxyanthracene derivatives for use in food. The scientific publications under assessment were two in vivo comet assays in mice conducted on Aloe‐emodin and dried whole Aloe ferox juice, respectively. The results of the study with aloe‐emodin were considered inconclusive for the induction of DNA strand breaks with the standard comet assay protocol. Results obtained with the modified comet assay protocol with a lesion‐specific enzyme (hOGG1) suggest that aloe‐emodin can induce oxidative DNA damage in colon cells in vivo. The lack of DNA damage observed in the study on Aloe ferox juice was considered of low relevance with respect to the genotoxicity of hydroxyanthracene derivatives, because of the low concentrations of hydroxyanthracene derivatives and the potential counteracting effect of other components present in the juice (e.g. antioxidants). Based on the available evidence, EFSA concluded that the new information presented does not justify a revision of the conclusions of the EFSA ANS Panel Opinion on hydroxyanthracene derivatives.

Assessment of information as regards the toxicity of T‐2 and HT‐2 toxin for ruminants

Scientific opinion, published on 30 September 2022

In 2011, the EFSA Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM) adopted a Scientific Opinion on the risks to animal health related to the presence of T‐2 (T2) and HT‐2 (HT2) toxins in food and feed. No observed adverse effect levels (NOAELs) and lowest observed adverse effect levels (LOAELs) were derived for different animal species. In ruminants, a LOAEL was established for the sum of T2 and HT2 of 0.3 mg/kg body weight (bw) per day, based on studies with calves and lambs. The CONTAM Panel noted that the effects observed in nutritionally challenged heifers and ewes give rise to the assumption that rumen detoxification of T2 may not always be complete and therefore effective to prevent adverse effects in ruminants. However, the limited data on the effects of T2 on adult ruminants did not allow a conclusion. The European Commission requested EFSA to review the information regarding the toxicity of T2 and HT2 for ruminants and to revise, if necessary, the established Reference Point (RP). Adverse effect levels of 0.001 and 0.01 mg T2/kg bw per day for, respectively, sheep and cows, were derived from case studies, and estimated to correspond to feed concentrations of 0.035 mg T2/kg for sheep and 0.6 mg T2/kg for cows. RPs for adverse animal health effects of 0.01 mg/kg feed for sheep and 0.2 mg/kg feed for cows were established. For goats, the RP for cows was selected, in the absence of data that they are more sensitive. Based on mean exposure estimates performed in the previous Opinion, the risk of adverse health effects from feeds containing T2 and HT2 was considered a concern for lactating sheep. For milking goats, a comparison performed between dietary exposure and the RP derived for cows, indicates a potential risk for adverse health effects. For dairy cows and fattening beef, the risk is considered low.

Assessment of information as regards the toxicity of fumonisins for pigs, poultry and horses

Scientific opinion, published on 24 August 2022

In 2018, the EFSA Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM) adopted a Scientific Opinion on the risks for animal health related to the presence of fumonisins, their modified forms and hidden forms in feed. A no observed adverse effect level (NOAEL) of 1 mg/kg feed was established for pigs. In poultry a NOAEL of 20 mg/kg feed and in horses a reference point for adverse animal health effect of 8.8 mg/kg feed was established, referred to as NOAEL. The European Commission (EC) requested EFSA to review the information regarding the toxicity of fumonisins for pigs, poultry and horses and to revise, if necessary, the established NOAELs. The EFSA CONTAM Panel considered that the term reference point (RP) for adverse animal health effects better reflects the uncertainties in the available studies. New evidence which had become available since the previous opinion allowed to revise an RP for adverse animal health effects for poultry from 20 mg/kg to 1 mg/kg feed (based on a LOAEL of 2.5 mg/kg feed for reduced intestinal crypt depth) and for horses from 8.8 to 1.0 mg/kg feed (based on case studies on equine leukoencephalomalacia (ELEM)). For pigs, the previously established NOAEL was confirmed as no further studies suitable for deriving an RP for adverse animal health effects could be identified. Based on exposure estimates performed in the previous opinion, the risk of adverse health effects of feeds containing FB1–3 was considered a concern for poultry, when taking into account the RP of 1 mg/kg feed for intestinal effects. For horses and other solipeds, the risk is considered low, although a large uncertainty associated with exposure was identified. The same conclusions apply to the sum of FB1–3 and their hidden forms.

Assessment of the genotoxicity of acrylamide

Scientific Report, published on 5 May 2022

EFSA was requested to deliver a statement on a recent publication revisiting the evidence for genotoxicity of acrylamide (AA). The statement was prepared by a Working Group and was endorsed by the CONTAM Panel before its final approval. In interpreting the Terms of Reference, the statement considered the modes of action underlying the carcinogenicity of AA including genotoxic and non‐genotoxic effects. Relevant publications since the 2015 CONTAM Panel Opinion on AA in food were reviewed. Several new studies reported positive results on the clastogenic and mutagenic properties of AA and its active metabolite glycidamide (GA). DNA adducts of GA were induced by AA exposure in experimental animals and have also been observed in humans. In addition to the genotoxicity of AA, there is evidence for both secondary DNA oxidation via generation of reactive oxygen species and for non‐genotoxic effects which may contribute to carcinogenesis by AA. These studies extend the information assessed by the CONTAM Panel in its 2015 Opinion, and support its conclusions. That Opinion applied the margin of exposure (MOE) approach, as recommended in the EFSA Guidance for substances that are both genotoxic and carcinogenic, for risk characterisation of the neoplastic effects of AA. Based on the new data evaluated, the MOE approach is still considered appropriate, and an update of the 2015 Opinion is not required at the present time.

Evaluation of the risks for animal health related to the presence of hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) in feed for honey bees

Scientific opinion, published on 20 April 2022

The European Commission has asked the EFSA to evaluate the risk for animal health related to the presence of hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) in honeybee feed. HMF is a degradation product of particular sugars and can be present in bee feed. HMF is of low acute toxicity in bees but causes increased mortality upon chronic exposure. A benchmark dose lower limit of 10% (BMDL10) of 1.16 μg HMF per bee per day has been calculated from mortalities observed in a 20‐day study and established as a Reference Point covering also mortality in larvae, drones and queens for which no or insufficient toxicity data were available. Winter bees have a much longer lifespan than summer bees and HMF shows clear time-reinforced toxicity (TRT) characteristics. Therefore, additional Reference Point intervals of 0.21–3.1, 0.091–1.1 and 0.019–0.35 µg HMF/bee per day were calculated based on extrapolation to exposure durations of 50, 90 and 180 days, respectively. A total of 219 analytical data of HMF concentrations in bee feed from EU Member States and 88 from Industry were available. Exposure estimates of worker bees and larvae ranged between 0.1 and 0.48, and between 0.1 and 0.51 μg HMF/per day, respectively. They were well below the BMDL10 of 1.16 μg HMF/bee per day, and thus, no concern was identified. However, when accounting for TRT, the probability that exposures were below established reference point intervals was assessed to be extremely unlikely to almost certain depending on exposure duration. A concern for bee health was identified when bees are exposed to HMF-contaminated bee feed for several months.

FoodSafety4EU: paving the way for the food safety system of the future

Frederic Bayer, EU-FORA 2021-2022 fellow hosted at CNR-ISPA, has reported main outcomes of his research programme in the last EFSA Journal edition.

The programme RECIPE (Risk AssEssment/Risk CommunIcation: understanding the context and addressing Priorities of the futurE – a learning-by-doing approach) was bulit with the aim of strenghteening the synergy beween ESFA and FS4EU.

A main focus was given to the development and testing of innovative ways of communicating food risks and food safety, targeting young adults and their families.

Read the full article HERE

All articles of EU-FORA 2021-2022 fellows are available HERE

Food Additives Campaign: Scientists answer consumer’s common questions this October

FoodSafety4EU and the European Food Information Council (EUFIC) are glad to announce the launch of a social media campaign about food additives, based on an analysis of consumers’ questions and concerns. Although food additives must prove a purpose and undergo strict safety evaluations, they are a source of concern for consumers. Therefore, the campaign features experts in the field who will answer consumers’ most common questions throughout the month of October.

Follow the EUFIC and FS4EU Food additive social media campaign in October!

European Research and Innovation Days 2022

European Research and Innovation Days is the European Commission’s annual flagship Research and Innovation event, bringing together policymakers, researchers, entrepreneurs and the public to debate and shape the future of research and innovation in Europe and beyond.

The event will take place online on 28 and 29 September 2022, allowing everyone to get involved from anywhere.

This year’s European Research and Innovation Days gives you the opportunity to discuss and shape new solutions to strengthen Europe’s resilience and its strategic autonomy.

This is your chance to discuss the new European Innovation Agenda, the European Year of Youth, the richness of European cultural creativity, the EU Missions and many more topics.

More info, agenda and registration here!

New project cooperation with Mycotwin

The FoodSafety4Eu network grows up again. Mycotwin project – Enhancing Research and Innovation Capacity of TÜBİTAK Marmara Research Center  on Mycotoxigenic Fungi and Mycotoxins” has closed a cooperation agreement to promote the networking activities.

The EU-funded project aims to significantly strengthen research on mycotoxigenic fungi and mycotoxins between TÜBİTAK, the Institute of Sciences of Food Production-National Research Council of Italy (CNR-ISPA) and the University of Valencia – Spain (UV).

MycoTWIN supports the entire value chain from planning of the cropping system to cultivation of crops, harvest, storage, transport, processing and consuming, all of which can be affected by mycotoxins.

FoodSafety4EU has established a cooperation to carry out common activities such as supporting in social media through re-tweet or like, and knowledge exchange, also participating to consultations or Projects meeting and events.

Find more here

EUSurvey: Sustainable food system – setting up an EU framework

The European Commission has launched a survey to gather stakeholder views on the Framework for Sustainable Food System initiative, one of the flagship initiatives of the Farm to Fork Strategy. The initiative aims to make the EU food system sustainable and to integrate sustainability into all food-related policies.

By filling out our survey, stakeholders can share their opinion on the key issues addressed by the initiative, including the potential impacts of different policy measures currently under assessment.

The survey is part of a wider public consultation, and insights from respondents will help shape the policies that make up the initiative. To respond, please follow the links below depending on the type of actors you represent:

The surveys will be running until 12 September 2022, and are available in all EU languages.

To make this consultation as inclusive and far-reaching as possible, you are encouraged to share the survey with your member or partner organisations that might be interested in the topic.

The ProFutere project collaboration enriches the FS4EU project family

The FS4EU welcomes the project ProFuture– Microalgae protein ingredients for the food and feed of the future.

ProFuture is a European-funded Horizon 2020 research project aiming to scale up microalgae production and prepare the market uptake of microalgae proteins as ingredients for innovative and sustainable food and feed products.

Microalgae are rich sources of energy, high-quality protein, healthy fats and health promoting compounds. The nutritional value of algae varies according to the species and their growing conditions, which can be tuned in order to obtain an optimal composition of nutrients in a more sustainable way.

Nonetheless, commercialised species present as nutritious ingredients that can be produced in a more sustainable way.

FoodSafety4EU has signed a cooperation agreement with PROFUTURE to promote dissemination activities, such as supporting in Socia Media through re-tweet or like, and knowledge exchange, also participating to consultations or Projects meeting and events

Find more here

#EUChooseSafeFood Campaign

On the occasion of the World Day of Food Safety, the EFSA -European Food Safety Authority, in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Health, has launched the second edition of the communication campaign #EUChooseSafeFood, with the aim of giving answers to the questions that consumers ask themselves in everyday life about food.

The Campaign has been launched on 7 June and it will last until October at the European level. With relevant stakeholders’ support, the European Agency has designed and disseminated a communication toolkit to help make informed decisions about everyday food choices and explain the science behind EU food safety.

In Italy, the Undersecretary of Health Ministry, Andrea Costa, stated that the initiative wants to help increase citizens’ confidence in the EU food safety system, thanks to the work carried out by the EFSA network of experts. The Campaign also strengthens existing cooperation between the Ministry of Health and the European Agency, consumer organisations, producers and civil society, helping consumers to trust the food they eat, wherever they are in Europe.

According to the Italian Ministry of Health opinion, the EFSA strategy ensures that food is safe From Farm to Fork by providing integrated actions in all the supply chain steps. The issue of food safety and the definition of international safety standards are an objective, which every single country should pursue individually and, more generally, in terms of global security, according to the One Health approach“.

Learn more here