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Flavours, additives and food contact material exposure task

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 211686

Status

Closed project

  • Start date

    1 September 2008

  • End date

    31 August 2012

Funded under:

FP7-KBBE

  • Overall budget:

    € 8 889 961,40

  • EU contribution

    € 5 886 105

Coordinated by:

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN, NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF IRELAND, DUBLIN

English EN

Food exposure risk: flavour of things to come

"You are what you eat," they say. European efforts to better understand the ingredients and handling of food for human consumption are an important safeguard in the food production system.

Health
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Flavours, additives and packaging are a major part of the modern food production chain. Exposure to chemicals added to food, such as flavour enhancers and contact with packaging, have become the focus of food safety research among European scientists. However, according to the research project 'Flavours, additives and food contact material exposure task' (FACET), bottlenecks exist in exposure assessment. These include access to national food consumption databases, difficulty with food categorisation, limited knowledge on food chemical occurrence, and lack of data on food chemical concentration and packaging substances. The 20-partner FACET project is tackling these shortcomings through the creation of a food chemical exposure surveillance system, focusing on flavourings, food additives and food contact materials. The consortium, made up of academia, industry, SMEs and national governmental agencies, is working on a database of targeted food chemical concentrations and their intake, as well as creating publicly available software with the data already integrated to help with exposure risk modelling. Work to date on the food additives side has focused on evaluating high-risk candidates (where the theoretical estimated intake is higher than the acceptable daily intake). But it will also illustrate different situations for additives authorised in the EU for future exposure assessments. Linking these additives with foods consumed in representative regions of the EU, and with concentration data is underway, according to the FACET team. As for flavourings, data for both added and natural substances is being analysed for a limited number of target substances. Classification of foods according to a hierarchical tiered system, which meets the needs of the three chemical groups, has been completed, the consortium confirms. Database managers from eight countries (France, Ireland, Italy, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Finland and the UK) are coding their national consumption surveys according to this tiered system. A targeted survey of the occurrence of food additives, flavourings and food contact materials available in each of the eight countries is nearing the end of the planning phase (minimum of 3 000 products). A database for logging information contained on these product labels is well underway, say the researchers. And cluster analysis of consumption patterns in EU countries has been completed using available data. This technique provides a method for identifying countries with similar food consumption profiles. Development of the exposure model is well advanced, including an investigation of techniques to improve the treatment of uncertainty in the modelling. The first prototype of the software was released in January 2010, and the feedback collected will guide subsequent versions. Work on model validation and testing begins in earnest once adequate data comes on-stream. At the end of the four-year project, the FACET team expects its scientific approach will help boost consumer protection efforts in Europe while fostering innovation in the food chain. Through a focused risk management approach, their results should also inform international food regulatory affairs.

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 211686

Status

Closed project

  • Start date

    1 September 2008

  • End date

    31 August 2012

Funded under:

FP7-KBBE

  • Overall budget:

    € 8 889 961,40

  • EU contribution

    € 5 886 105

Coordinated by:

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN, NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF IRELAND, DUBLIN

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