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BOOK REVIEW
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 135  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 446-447

Evaluation of certain food additives and contaminants, Seventy-third report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives


Food Technology Division, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre & Homi Bhabha National Institute, Mumbai 400 085, India

Date of Web Publication3-May-2012

Correspondence Address:
A K Sharma
Food Technology Division, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre & Homi Bhabha National Institute, Mumbai 400 085
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


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How to cite this article:
Sharma A K. Evaluation of certain food additives and contaminants, Seventy-third report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives. Indian J Med Res 2012;135:446-7

How to cite this URL:
Sharma A K. Evaluation of certain food additives and contaminants, Seventy-third report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives. Indian J Med Res [serial online] 2012 [cited 2019 Dec 15];135:446-7. Available from: http://www.ijmr.org.in/text.asp?2012/135/3/446/95646

Evaluation of certain food additives and contaminants, Seventy-third report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives, WHO Technical Report Series No.960 (World Health Organization, Geneva) 2011. 233 pages. Price: US$: 50.00; in developing countries: CHF/US$ 35.00

ISBN 978 92 4 120960 1.

The book deals with the safety of flavouring agents and contaminants as food additives. A short introduction is followed by a chapter on general considerations that prepares the readers for the technical content. Before getting into the main theme of the Report, it has a chapter on revised specifications of seven food additives other than flavouring agents.

To simplify procedure, the known flavouring agents have been divided in 12 chemical groups. These chemical groups have further been categorized in three broad classes, Class I comprises flavouring agents with simple chemical structure and easy to metabolize; Class II has flavouring agents with more complex structure but not suggesting toxicity; whereas Class III has flavouring agents with structural features that suggest potential toxic nature. The two approaches employed for assessment of dietary exposure were maximized survey-derived intake (MSDI) and single portion exposure technique (SPET). The former is based on total annual production volume of the chemical divided by the population of consumers, whereas, the later takes in to account dietary exposure for an individual who consumes it every day in a portion of food or drink. This is followed by subjecting the flavouring agent to procedure for safety evaluation.

Results of the safety evaluation showed that alicyclic ketones, secondary alcohols and related esters, alicyclic primary alcohols, aldehydes, acids and related esters, aliphatic acyclic, alicyclic α diketones and related hydroxy α lketones, aliphatic acyclic and alicyclic terpenoid tertiary alcohols and structurally related substances, aliphatic lactones did not indicate any safety concerns. However, aliphatic and aromatic amines and amides used as flavouring agents needed further evaluation to be declared safe. Interestingly, the dietary exposure to this last category is reported to be exceeded in Japan, Europe and USA. The large category of aliphatic primary alcohols, aldehydes, carboxylic acids, acetals and esters containing oxygenated functional groups was also found to be safe, barring a few exceptions like ethyl levulinate propylene glycol ketal, and the mixture of isopropylidene glyceryl 5-hydroxyoctanoate and decalactone, where additional data were required. Dietary exposure to propylene glycol, adipate and lactate is reported to be exceeded in USA and Europe. There were no safety concerns in the use of aliphatic secondary alcohols, ketones, and related esters and acetals, aromatic substituted secondary alcohols, ketones and related esters, bezyl derivatives, phenol and phenol derivatives, aliphatic and aromatic sulphides and thiols used as flavouring agents, except for butanal dibenzyl thioacetal, and methyl thiopropyl hexanoate, cis - and trans-2 pentyl propyl oxathiane, methylthiopropyl mercaptoacetate, and bis-2-methylphenyl disulphide, where additional data were required.

The two contaminants evaluated by the Committee were cadmium and lead. The Committee considered the new information on cadmium levels in food and dietary exposure emanating from European Food Safety Agency (EFSA). China, Europe, and Japan reported high dietary exposure 9-12 ΅g/kg b.w. per month, compared to USA of 4.6 ug/kg b.w. per month. Higher urinary cadmium levels were associated with a steep increase in beta-2 microglobulin (β2MG) excretion. A provisional tolerable monthly intake of 25 ΅g/kg b.w. was established for cadmium by the Committee.

The Committee considered information on lead related to toxicology, epidemiology, exposure assessment and analytical methodology. It took into consideration review by EFSA, 2010, and the national lead dietary exposure estimates provided by other countries including India. The dietary exposure varied from 0.02-3 ΅g/kg b.w. per day for adult population and 0.03-9 ΅g/kg b.w. per day for children. The health impact at the lower end of this range is considered negligible by the Committee, because it was below the exposure level of 0.3 ΅g/kg b.w. per day calculated to be associated with a decrease of 0.5 IQ point. The higher end is much higher than the limit of 1.9 ΅g/kg b.w. per day associated with the decrease of 3 IQ points. For adults the higher end of limit can result in increase of 2 mm of Hg in systolic blood pressure resulting in a modest increase in ischaemic heart disease and cerebrovascular stroke. The Committee concluded that risks of dietary exposure to lead at higher levels should be identified, particularly in children to reduce risk of lead toxicity.

In addition to the safety evaluation details on flavouring agents and cadmium and lead as contaminants, crisply summarized in 25 Tables, and a few Figures; the book provides a list of relevant references, an annex containing references to reports and other documents resulting from previous meetings of Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee, an annex of tolerable intakes, other toxicological information and specifications, and an annex on further information desired. Also, there is an annex on summary of the safety evaluation of the secondary components for flavouring agents. Finally, there is an annex on food categories and standard portion sizes to be used for making estimates of dietary exposure.

This book is a very useful compendium for food industry, regulators, toxicologists and healthcare professionals around the world.




 

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