Human Biomonitoring Requires Validation
Though human biomonitoring can be an important tool in risk assessment for food and feed safety, suitable biomarkers need to be valid from both analytical and physiological perspectives.
Hans Verhagen, Caroline Merten, Arianna Chiusolo, Davide Arcella, and Marco Binaglia |
Food safety is at the heart of all: consumers, policy makers, food producers, scientists, and so on. EU Regulation 178/2002 (1) lays down the ‘general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the procedures in matters of food safety’. Hence EFSA, based in Parma, Italy, is an integral part of the EU’s food safety system. EFSA’s mission is to contribute to the safety of the EU food chain by providing scientific advice to risk managers, by communicating risks to the public, and by cooperating with Member States and other parties to deliver a coherent, trusted food safety system in the EU (2). EFSA’s core responsibilities are the delivery and communication of advice on general scientific assessment priorities, and the evaluation of food and feed products that require a safety assessment before they can be used in the EU market.
EFSA conducts risk assessments using the four steps of the risk assessment paradigm: hazard identification, hazard characterization, exposure assessment and risk characterization. When considering exposure assessment, dietary exposure is most frequently estimated by combining information on the levels in food of a given substances – such as a contaminant, pesticide, a food additive, or micronutrient – with food consumption data from national dietary surveys. A more precise quantification of exposure that is closer to the ultimate health effect can be achieved by using information from human biomonitoring. In particular, biomarkers can be used to estimate internal levels of exposure, which is particularly relevant when we need to assess combined exposure from different routes and sources.
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