Environmental risk assessment for food-related substances


Authored by  M Smith, A König*

Published in Food Control     
* This author is not affiliated with PMI.

 

Abstract

This report analyses various environmental risk assessment practices that are currently in place for food-related substances in both the EU and the USA. Within the EU, reach requires the systematic review of the toxicity of chemicals, with varying degrees of extensiveness of testing required based on the quantities of the chemicals used in practice. Genetically modified organisms are another example of how the environmental impacts of food-producing crops are assessed. The requirements for the use of substances in organic agriculture imply that these should also be assessed for environmental impact. In the USA, the FDA requires environmental assessments for food substance requiring this agency’s action. The EPA has elaborated guidelines for ecological risk assessment that show parallels with the food safety assessment, including the stages of problem formulation, analysis (assessment), and risk characterisation. Also the stakeholder involvement and risk management play an important role in the procedures envisaged by these guidelines. The utility of integrated assessments has been further stressed by WHO/IPCS. It is considered that the new integrated risk-analysis approach recommended by safe foods can benefit from the integration of environmental issues, including their assessment in the risk–benefit stage of the risk analysis cycle.