Dioxins and DL-PCBs in foods for infants and young children


dioxins (PCDD/Fs), dioxin-like PCBs, foods for infants and young children, legislation, occurrence, distribution
First published in the EFSA Journal
13 December 2012
21 November 2012
Last Updated
25 January 2013. This version replaces the previous one/s.
Opinion of the Scientific Committee/Scientific Panel

EFSA was asked by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) to deliver a scientific opinion on the presence of dioxins and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (DL-PCBs) in commercially available foods for infants and young children. It was requested to describe the relation of important parameters of the distribution of the occurrence data to the new EU maximum levels (MLs), and to assess whether these MLs are sufficient to aim to decrease the dietary exposure of infants and young children to dioxins and DL-PCBs. The CONTAM Panel did not perform an exposure or risk assessment, but evaluated whether the enforcement of the new EU MLs will result in a decrease in the concentration of dioxins and DL-PCBs in foods for infants and young children, and thus in a potential decrease in exposure of this population group. A total of 516 samples was included in the evaluation, reported by 13 European countries and covering the period 2003 to 2011. All accepted data (upper-bound) were below the current MLs for foods for infants and young children of 0.1 pg WHO2005-TEQ/g w.w. for dioxins and 0.2 pg WHO2005-TEQ/g w.w. for the sum of dioxins and DL-PCBs. Therefore, the CONTAM Panel concluded that, based on the available data, the current MLs are not an incentive to decrease the concentrations of dioxins and DL-PCBs in the relevant foods. From the reported data, it is not possible to conclude on any time trend concerning the dioxin and DL-PCB levels in foods for infants and young children. The Panel recommended that more occurrence data on representative samples are needed, particularly for those foods for infants and young children where only a few results are available so far. Moreover, the sensitivity of the analytical methods should be improved, if lower MLs were to be considered in the future.

Panel members at the time of adoption
Diane Benford, Sandra Ceccatelli, Bruce Cottrill, Michael Dinovi, Eugenia Dogliotti, Lutz Edler, Peter Farmer, Peter Fürst, Anne Katrine Haldorsen, Laurentius (Ron) Hoogenboom, Helle Katrine Knutsen, Manfred Metzler, Carlo Stefano Nebbia, Michael O’Keeffe, Ivonne Rietjens, Dieter Schrenk, Vittorio Silano, Hendrik Van Loveren, Christiane Vleminckx and Pieter Wester
Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain
contam [at] efsa.europa.eu
EFSA Journal 2012;10(12):2983 [29 pp.].
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