Now showing 1 - 10 of 13
  • Publication
    Guidance Document on Scientific criteria for grouping chemicals into assessment groups for human risk assessment of combined exposure to multiple chemicals
    This guidance document provides harmonised and flexible methodologies to apply scientific criteria and prioritisation methods for grouping chemicals into assessment groups for human risk assessment of combined exposure to multiple chemicals. In the context of EFSA’s risk assessments, the problem formulation step defines the chemicals to be assessed in the terms of reference usually through regulatory criteria often set by risk managers based on legislative requirements. Scientific criteria such as hazard-driven criteria can be used to group these chemicals into assessment groups. In this guidance document, a framework is proposed to apply hazard-driven criteria for grouping of chemicals into assessment groups using mechanistic information on toxicity as the gold standard where available (i.e. common mode of action or adverse outcome pathway) through a structured weight of evidence approach. However, when such mechanistic data are not available, grouping may be performed using a common adverse outcome. Toxicokinetic data can also be useful for grouping, particularly when metabolism information is available for a class of compounds and common toxicologically relevant metabolites are shared. In addition, prioritisation methods provide means to identify low-priority chemicals and reduce the number of chemicals in an assessment group. Prioritisation methods include combined risk-based approaches, risk-based approaches for single chemicals and exposure-driven approaches. Case studies have been provided to illustrate the practical application of hazard-driven criteria and the use of prioritisation methods for grouping of chemicals in assessment groups. Recommendations for future work are discussed.
      132Scopus© Citations 41
  • Publication
    Statement on the derivation of Health-Based Guidance Values (HBGVs) for regulated products that are also nutrients
    This Statement presents a proposal for harmonising the establishment of Health-Based Guidance Values (HBGVs) for regulated products that are also nutrients. This is a recurrent issue for food additives and pesticides, and may occasionally occur for other regulated products. The Statement describes the specific considerations that should be followed for establishing the HBGVs during the assessment of a regulated product that is also a nutrient. It also addresses the elements to be considered in the intake assessment; and proposes a decision tree for ensuring a harmonised process for the risk characterisation of regulated products that are also nutrients. The Scientific Committee recommends the involvement of the relevant EFSA Panels and units, in order to ensure an integrated and harmonised approach for the hazard and risk characterisation of regulated products that are also nutrients, considering the intake from all relevant sources.
      213Scopus© Citations 30
  • Publication
    Evaluation of existing guidelines for their adequacy for the microbial characterisation and environmental risk assessment of microorganisms obtained through synthetic biology
    EFSA was asked by the European Commission to consider synthetic biology developments for agri-food use in the near future and to determine if the use of this technology is expected to constitute potential risks and hazards for the environment. Moreover, EFSA was requested to evaluate the adequacy of existing guidelines for risk assessment and if updated guidance is needed. The scope of this Opinion covers viable synthetic biology microorganisms (SynBioMs) expected to be deliberately released into the environment. The evaluation was based on: (i) horizon scanning of published information, (ii) gap analysis of existing guidelines covering the scope of this mandate, and (iii) future outlooks. A horizon scan showed that SynBioM applications could be ready for deliberate release into the environment of the EU in the next decade. However, extensively engineered SynBioMs are only expected in the wider future. For the microbial characterisation and the environmental risk assessment, the existing EFSA Guidances are useful as a basis. The extent to which existing Guidances can be used depends on the familiarity of the SynBioM with non-modified organisms. Among the recommendations for updated Guidance, the range of uses of products to be assessed covering all agri-food uses and taking into account all types of microorganisms, their relevant exposure routes and receiving environments. It is suggested that new EFSA Guidances address all ‘specific areas of risk’ as per Directive 2001/18/EC. No novel environmental hazards are expected for current and near future SynBioMs. However, the efficacy by which the SynBioMs interact with the environment may differ. This could lead to increased exposure and risk. Novel hazards connected with the development of xenobionts may be expected in the wider future.
      224Scopus© Citations 19
  • Publication
    Guidance on protocol development for EFSA generic scientific assessments
    EFSA Strategy 2027 outlines the need for fit‐for‐purpose protocols for EFSA generic scientific assessments to aid in delivering trustworthy scientific advice. This EFSA Scientific Committee guidance document helps address this need by providing a harmonised and flexible framework for developing protocols for EFSA generic assessments. The guidance replaces the ‘Draft framework for protocol development for EFSA's scientific assessments’ published in 2020. The two main steps in protocol development are described. The first is problem formulation, which illustrates the objectives of the assessment. Here a new approach to translating the mandated Terms of Reference into scientifically answerable assessment questions and sub‐questions is proposed: the ‘APRIO' paradigm (Agent, Pathway, Receptor, Intervention and Output). Owing to its cross‐cutting nature, this paradigm is considered adaptable and broadly applicable within and across the various EFSA domains and, if applied using the definitions given in this guidance, is expected to help harmonise the problem formulation process and outputs and foster consistency in protocol development. APRIO may also overcome the difficulty of implementing some existing frameworks across the multiple EFSA disciplines, e.g. the PICO/PECO approach (Population, Intervention/Exposure, Comparator, Outcome). Therefore, although not mandatory, APRIO is recommended. The second step in protocol development is the specification of the evidence needs and the methods that will be applied for answering the assessment questions and sub‐questions, including uncertainty analysis. Five possible approaches to answering individual (sub‐)questions are outlined: using evidence from scientific literature and study reports; using data from databases other than bibliographic; using expert judgement informally collected or elicited via semi‐formal or formal expert knowledge elicitation processes; using mathematical/statistical models; and – not covered in this guidance – generating empirical evidence ex novo. The guidance is complemented by a standalone ‘template’ for EFSA protocols that guides the users step by step through the process of planning an EFSA scientific assessment.
      38Scopus© Citations 2
  • Publication
    Evaluation of existing guidelines for their adequacy for the food and feed risk assessment of microorganisms obtained through synthetic biology
    EFSA was asked by the European Commission to evaluate synthetic biology (SynBio) developments for agri-food use in the near future and to determine whether or not they are expected to constitute potential new hazards/risks. Moreover, EFSA was requested to evaluate the adequacy of existing guidelines for risk assessment of SynBio and if updated guidance is needed. The scope of this Opinion covers food and feed risk assessment, the variety of microorganisms that can be used in the food/feed chain and the whole spectrum of techniques used in SynBio. This Opinion complements a previously adopted Opinion with the evaluation of existing guidelines for the microbial characterisation and environmental risk assessment of microorganisms obtained through SynBio. The present Opinion confirms that microbial SynBio applications for food and feed use, with the exception of xenobionts, could be ready in the European Union in the next decade. New hazards were identified related to the use or production of unusual and/or new-to-nature components. Fifteen cases were selected for evaluating the adequacy of existing guidelines. These were generally adequate for assessing the product, the production process, nutritional and toxicological safety, allergenicity, exposure and post-market monitoring. The comparative approach and a safety assessment per se could be applied depending on the degree of familiarity of the SynBio organism/product with the non-genetically modified counterparts. Updated guidance is recommended for: (i) bacteriophages, protists/microalgae, (ii) exposure to plant protection products and biostimulants, (iii) xenobionts and (iv) feed additives for insects as target species. Development of risk assessment tools is recommended for assessing nutritional value of biomasses, influence of microorganisms on the gut microbiome and the gut function, allergenic potential of new-to-nature proteins, impact of horizontal gene transfer and potential risks of living cell intake. A further development towards a strain-driven risk assessment approach is recommended.
      426Scopus© Citations 6
  • Publication
    Re-evaluation of the existing health-based guidance values for copper and exposure assessment from all sources
    Copper is an essential micronutrient and also a regulated product used in organic and in conventional farming pest management. Both deficiency and excessive exposure to copper can have adverse health effects. In this Scientific Opinion, the EFSA 2021 harmonised approach for establishing health-based guidance values (HBGVs) for substances that are regulated products and also nutrients was used to resolve the divergent existing HBGVs for copper. The tightly regulated homeostasis prevents toxicity manifestation in the short term, but the development of chronic copper toxicity is dependent on copper homeostasis and its tissue retention. Evidence from Wilson disease suggests that hepatic retention is indicative of potential future and possibly sudden onset of copper toxicity under conditions of continuous intake. Hence, emphasis was placed on copper retention as an early marker of potential adverse effects. The relationships between (a) chronic copper exposure and its retention in the body, particularly the liver, and (b) hepatic copper concentrations and evidence of toxicity were examined. The Scientific Committee (SC) concludes that no retention of copper is expected to occur with intake of 5 mg/day and established an Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of 0.07 mg/kg bw. A refined dietary exposure assessment was performed, assessing contribution from dietary and non-dietary sources. Background copper levels are a significant source of copper. The contribution of copper from its use as plant protection product (PPP), food and feed additives or fertilisers is negligible. The use of copper in fertilisers or PPPs contributes to copper accumulation in soil. Infant formula and follow-on formula are important contributors to dietary exposure of copper in infants and toddlers. Contribution from non-oral sources is negligible. Dietary exposure to total copper does not exceed the HBGV in adolescents, adults, elderly and the very elderly. Neither hepatic copper retention nor adverse effects are expected to occur from the estimated copper exposure in children due to higher nutrient requirements related to growth.
      46Scopus© Citations 19
  • Publication
    Guidance on the use of the benchmark dose approach in risk assessment
    The Scientific Committee (SC) reconfirms that the benchmark dose (BMD) approach is a scientifically more advanced method compared to the no-observed-adverse-effect-level (NOAEL) approach for deriving a Reference Point (RP). The major change compared to the previous Guidance (EFSA SC, 2017) concerns the Section 2.5, in which a change from the frequentist to the Bayesian paradigm is recommended. In the former, uncertainty about the unknown parameters is measured by confidence and significance levels, interpreted and calibrated under hypothetical repetition, while probability distributions are attached to the unknown parameters in the Bayesian approach, and the notion of probability is extended to reflect uncertainty of knowledge. In addition, the Bayesian approach can mimic a learning process and reflects the accumulation of knowledge over time. Model averaging is again recommended as the preferred method for estimating the BMD and calculating its credible interval. The set of default models to be used for BMD analysis has been reviewed and amended so that there is now a single set of models for quantal and continuous data. The flow chart guiding the reader step-by-step when performing a BMD analysis has also been updated, and a chapter comparing the frequentist to the Bayesian paradigm inserted. Also, when using Bayesian BMD modelling, the lower bound (BMDL) is to be considered as potential RP, and the upper bound (BMDU) is needed for establishing the BMDU/BMDL ratio reflecting the uncertainty in the BMD estimate. This updated guidance does not call for a general re-evaluation of previous assessments where the NOAEL approach or the BMD approach as described in the 2009 or 2017 Guidance was used, in particular when the exposure is clearly lower (e.g. more than one order of magnitude) than the health-based guidance value. Finally, the SC firmly reiterates to reconsider test guidelines given the wide application of the BMD approach.
      56Scopus© Citations 46
  • Publication
    Guidance on technical requirements for regulated food and feed product applications to establish the presence of small particles including nanoparticles
    Following a mandate from the European Commission, EFSA has developed a Guidance on Technical Requirements (Guidance on Particle-TR), defining the criteria for assessing the presence of a fraction of small particles, and setting out information requirements for applications in the regulated food and feed product areas (e.g. novel food, food/feed additives, food contact materials and pesticides). These requirements apply to particles requiring specific assessment at the nanoscale in conventional materials that do not meet the definition of engineered nanomaterial as set out in the Novel Food Regulation (EU) 2015/2283. The guidance outlines appraisal criteria grouped in three sections, to confirm whether or not the conventional risk assessment should be complemented with nanospecific considerations. The first group addresses solubility and dissolution rate as key physicochemical properties to assess whether consumers will be exposed to particles. The second group establishes the information requirements for assessing whether the conventional material contains a fraction or consists of small particles, and its characterisation. The third group describes the information to be presented for existing safety studies to demonstrate that the fraction of small particles, including particles at the nanoscale, has been properly evaluated. In addition, in order to guide the appraisal of existing safety studies, recommendations for closing the data gaps while minimising the need for conducting new animal studies are provided. This Guidance on Particle-TR complements the Guidance on risk assessment of nanomaterials to be applied in the food and feed chain, human and animal health updated by the EFSA Scientific Committee as co-published with this Guidance. Applicants are advised to consult both guidance documents before conducting new studies.
      115Scopus© Citations 82
  • Publication
    A systems‐based approach to the environmental risk assessment of multiple stressors in honey bees
    The European Parliament requested EFSA to develop a holistic risk assessment of multiple stressors in honey bees. To this end, a systems-based approach that is composed of two core components: a monitoring system and a modelling system are put forward with honey bees taken as a showcase. Key developments in the current scientific opinion (including systematic data collection from sentinel beehives and an agent-based simulation) have the potential to substantially contribute to future development of environmental risk assessments of multiple stressors at larger spatial and temporal scales. For the monitoring, sentinel hives would be placed across representative climatic zones and landscapes in the EU and connected to a platform for data storage and analysis. Data on bee health status, chemical residues and the immediate or broader landscape around the hives would be collected in a harmonised and standardised manner, and would be used to inform stakeholders, and the modelling system, ApisRAM, which simulates as accurately as possible a honey bee colony. ApisRAM would be calibrated and continuously updated with incoming monitoring data and emerging scientific knowledge from research. It will be a supportive tool for beekeeping, farming, research, risk assessment and risk management, and it will benefit the wider society. A societal outlook on the proposed approach is included and this was conducted with targeted social science research with 64 beekeepers from eight EU Member States and with members of the EU Bee Partnership. Gaps and opportunities are identified to further implement the approach. Conclusions and recommendations are made on a way forward, both for the application of the approach and its use in a broader context.
      230Scopus© Citations 27
  • Publication
    Draft for internal testing Scientific Committee guidance on appraising and integrating evidence from epidemiological studies for use in EFSA's scientific assessments
    EFSA requested its Scientific Committee to prepare a guidance document on appraising and integrating evidence from epidemiological studies for use in EFSA's scientific assessments. The guidance document provides an introduction to epidemiological studies and illustrates the typical biases of the different epidemiological study designs. It describes key epidemiological concepts relevant for evidence appraisal. Regarding study reliability, measures of association, exposure assessment, statistical inferences, systematic error and effect modification are explained. Regarding study relevance, the guidance describes the concept of external validity. The principles of appraising epidemiological studies are illustrated, and an overview of Risk of Bias (RoB) tools is given. A decision tree is developed to assist in the selection of the appropriate Risk of Bias tool, depending on study question, population and design. The customisation of the study appraisal process is explained, detailing the use of RoB tools and assessing the risk of bias in the body of evidence. Several examples of appraising experimental and observational studies using a Risk of Bias tool are annexed to the document to illustrate the application of the approach. This document constitutes a draft that will be applied in EFSA's assessments during a 1-year pilot phase and be revised and complemented as necessary. Before finalisation of the document, a public consultation will be launched.
      281Scopus© Citations 15