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BOOK REVIEW
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 135  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 795-796

Evaluation of certain contaminants in food (Seventy-second report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives)


Food Safety & Analytical Quality, Control Laboratory, CSIR-Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore 570 020, India

Date of Web Publication29-Jun-2012

Correspondence Address:
Prema Viswanath
Food Safety & Analytical Quality, Control Laboratory, CSIR-Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore 570 020
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


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How to cite this article:
Viswanath P. Evaluation of certain contaminants in food (Seventy-second report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives). Indian J Med Res 2012;135:795-6

How to cite this URL:
Viswanath P. Evaluation of certain contaminants in food (Seventy-second report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives). Indian J Med Res [serial online] 2012 [cited 2019 Nov 20];135:795-6. Available from: http://www.ijmr.org.in/text.asp?2012/135/5/795/97772

WHO Technical Report Series, No. 959 (World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland) 2011. Pages 113. Price: US$ 30.00; in developing countries: CHF/US$ 21.00

ISBN 978-92-4-120959-5

The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) serves as a scientific advisory body to FAO, WHO, their Member States and the Codex Alimentarius Commission. It is an international scientific expert committee that discusses issues on toxicological evaluations of contaminants, naturally occurring toxicants and residues of veterinary drugs in foods, at the deliberations of their bi-annual meetings. The WHO Technical Report Series, No. 959, represents the conclusions and deliberations of the 72 nd JECFA meeting convened in Rome, Italy, from February 16 to 25, 2010. The two issues discussed at the meeting were (i) further elaboration of the principles for evaluating the health risk of food contaminants, and (ii) toxicological evaluation of six food contaminants, namely acrylamide, arsenic, deoxynivalenol, furan, mercury and perchlorate in the light of new information available. The book comprises five sections and three related annexe aimed at providing advice on risk management for the purpose of public health protection.

The Introduction provides highlights, such as the date and venue of the JECFA meeting and the importance of evaluating the toxic chemicals addressed in this document. Section 2 on General Considerations outlines the principles followed for evaluating the safety of the food contaminants. Two issues are discussed, one on modelling of dose-response and the other on dietary exposure estimates in epidemiological studies. Using models and developed software fitted to available data, the dose-responses of the contaminants were evaluated. The point of departure (POD) for the estimation of a margin of exposure (MOE) or health-based guidance values was then derived to determine the dose exposure effects. Due consideration has been given to the influence of random exposure miscalculation in food frequency questionnaires (FFQ) used in the dietary exposure estimates in data of epidemiological studies. Random exposure calculation was a non-systematic error that resulted in over-estimation of some and under-estimation of other individuals with dietary exposure to contaminants. The Committee recognized this as a developing field and recommended establishing an expert group to develop detailed guidelines. The examples provided for illustrative purposes of a dose-response model are of much use for those involved in risk assessment.

The third section on the toxicological, epidemiological and dietary exposure evaluation of compounds on the agenda is the main section of the document. The Committee evaluated the technical, toxicological and dietary exposure of acrylamide, arsenic, deoxynivalenol, furan, mercury and perchlorate. The literature available for each of these contaminants is summarized mainly under the following heads: Explanation (giving background information of the compound); Absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion (studies on men and animals); Toxicological data; Genotoxicity; Carcinogenicity; Observations in humans; Analytical methods; Effect of processing (including cooking and heat processing); Prevention and control; Levels and patterns of contamination in food commodities (data from Europe, Asia, North America, the Pacific and Latin America); Food consumption and dietary exposure assessment; Dose response analysis; Evaluation and Recommendations. This information is of immense relevance to those developing risk assessment and risk management programmes for public health protection.

Section 4 on Future work gives information of the future work to be addressed, which is a more detailed assessment of application of dose response modeling for evaluating food contaminants.

Recommendations under Section 5, discuss the agenda to be taken up for future meetings. Some of the issues decided are on developing and implementing mitigation methods of dietary exposure to acrylamide; validating methods for arsenic determination and preparation of reference materials; the possible contribution to DON toxicity by DON-3-glucoside detected in cereals and beers and on validation of methods for both inorganic mercury and methylmercury contents in food.

Annexed to the Report are Tables summarizing the recommendations for dietary exposure and toxicological evaluation of the six contaminants. Annex 1 gives a list of the 200 reports and documents resulting from previous meetings of JECFA. Annex 2 comprises Tables summarizing the recommendations for dietary exposure and toxicological evaluation of the six contaminants covered in Section 3. NOAEL (no-observed-adverse-effect level) and BMDL (lower limit on the benchmark dose for a 10 per cent response) have been determined for acrylamide. Similarly, the PTMDI (provisional maximum tolerable daily intake) and PTWI (provisionable tolerable weekly intake levels) for deoxynivalenol, furan, mercury and perchlorate are deduced. There has been a revision of the PTWI for arsenic and mercury since previous evaluations. The significance of acetylated derivatives of DON (3-Ac-DON and 15-Ac-DON) in the total DON-induced toxicity is also emphasized.

This Technical Report is well-written and would be of immense use to scientific personnel involved in the risk assessment and management of these toxicants. The interpretation of dose response and of epidemiological data of toxic chemicals is of importance to all food scientists, policy and regulatory personnel. This document is a must-read particularly for regulatory authorities, as the data are presented such that these can be directly used for laying down or revising regulations on maximum permissible limits for these contaminants in various foods. For more detailed information on the various aspects of these six chemicals discussed, one can refer to the document, 'WHO Food Additives Series No. 63/ FAO JECFA Monographs 8. 2011.




 

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