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Total Diet Study Exposure

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Improved and harmonized assessment of dietary exposure to contaminants

A common methodology of total diet studies (TDS) has been developed and is being promoted in Europe with the implementation of pilot studies and a network of centres.

Industrial Technologies icon Industrial Technologies
Food and Natural Resources icon Food and Natural Resources

Realistic data on food contamination and chronic exposure levels to chemicals of relevant populations is provided with the use of TDS. The results, however, cannot be compared across countries due to a lack of uniform methods. The EU-funded project TDSEXPOSURE (Total Diet Study Exposure) aimed to close this gap. A SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) of food classification and description systems was used. A methodology to prioritise substances to be included in a TDS was developed. An existing food data management system known as FoodCASE was extended to support the process of a TDS. This allowed TDS data to be managed in the same database as food composition and consumption data. Differences in food consumption patterns amongst populations were examined with an emphasis on pregnant women. Seasonal variations were also considered. Data derived from the various partners was organised to adhere to the requirements of the system and exposures were re-calculated for these partners. This allowed for two new functionalities to be embedded in the Monte Carlo Risk Assessment (MCRA) software. One is the uncertainty analyses based on summary data combining TDS results with the variation observed in European monitoring programmes. The other is a MCRA TDS risk management tool. Fieldwork for pilot studies was organised in five countries (Portugal, Czech Republic, Germany, Iceland and Finland) and a collection of samples and analyses were completed. Objectives have been successfully met. Literature reviews and data analyses of food lists, a food products database, a protocol for food products collection, and a tool to formulate specific food shopping lists were produced. A report was published on food grouping and food classification issues, as well as the influence of sources of variations in relation to TDS. A complete quality management system was developed including standard operating procedures. TDSEXPOSURE has created an information system for TDS and exposure assessment software for food contaminants which will be useful for risk assessors and risk managers for existing EU TDSs.


Total diet studies (TDS), food contamination, FoodCASE, food consumption patterns, Monte Carlo Risk Assessment (MCRA)

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