New dioxins risk assessment planned, says EFSA

A new EFSA scientific statement reviews the different recommended safe levels of dioxins in food and feed. EFSA recommends and recently accepted a request from the European Commission for a comprehensive risk assessment for animal and human health related to the presence of dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs in food and feed. This will be the first EFSA risk assessment of dioxins in feed.

Different organisations have done risk assessments of dioxins resulting in different recommended safety levels (known as “health-based guidance values”). EFSA reviewed the guidance values and approaches taken by the former Scientific Committee on Food (of the European Commission), the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) and the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs are pollutants present in the environment as a result of burning processes and industrial emissions, respectively. These pollutants persist in the environment and can enter the food chain. They accumulate in living things and there are public concerns about the health hazards arising from them.