EFSA updates on its work on the Threshold of Toxicological Concern (TTC)

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) informed the European Commission on 15 February that the Authority’s Scientific Committee did not formally adopt its opinion on the Threshold of Toxicological Concern (TTC) at its February 2012 meeting. This decision was taken pending further discussion with the non-food Scientific Committees of the European Commission, which are finalising an opinion on the same subject.

EFSA and the non-food Scientific Committees are working together in order to ensure a coherent approach to the use of TTC in assessing risks from chemicals. However, some areas of scientific divergence remain.

Both scientific bodies aim to reach a common understanding on the possible use of the TTC approach in the food and feed area, as well as in non-food consumer products, in particular cosmetics, following the process laid down in Article 30 of EFSA’s Founding Regulation on avoiding diverging scientific views.

Notes to editors

- At its last plenary meeting on 7-8 February, EFSA’s Scientific Committee discussed its draft scientific opinion on TTC and made revisions following an open public consultation .

- The Threshold of Toxicological Concern (TTC) approach is a science-based methodology which is used to screen chemicals for possible safety concerns. The TTC approach has been developed to qualitatively assess the risk of chemicals found in food and feed at low and very low concentrations and for which there are little or no toxicological data available. The TTC approach would not be used for the evaluation of regulated products, such as pesticides, where there is a legislative requirement for the submission of toxicological data.

- Article 30 of EFSA’s Founding Regulation provides for cases where the Authority may have a potentially diverging scientific opinion from other EU risk assessors. In such cases, EFSA makes contact with the body concerned to share all relevant scientific information and identify potentially contentious scientific issues with a view to resolving the divergence.

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