The EFSA Journal is an open-access, online scientific journal that publishes the scientific outputs of the European Food Safety Authority. EFSA’s various output types are devoted to the field of risk assessment in relation to food and feed and include nutrition, animal health and welfare, plant health and plant protection.
Current issue

Just Published: October, 2015

Scientific Opinions: Opinions of the Scientific Committee/Scientific Panel

Re-evaluation of octyl gallate (E 311) as a food additive

Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to food (ANS)
Fernando Aguilar, Riccardo Crebelli, Alessandro Di Domenico, Birgit Dusemund, Maria Jose Frutos, Pierre Galtier, David Gott, Ursula Gundert-Remy, Claude Lambré, Jean-Charles Leblanc, Oliver Lindtner, Peter Moldeus, Alicja Mortensen, Pasquale Mosesso, Dominique Parent-Massin, Agneta Oskarsson, Ivan Stankovic, Ine Waalkens-Berendsen, Rudolf Antonius Woutersen, Matthew Wright and Maged Younes.
EFSA Journal 2015;13(10):4248 [39 pp.].

The EFSA ANS Panel was asked to deliver a scientific opinion re-evaluating octyl gallate (E 311) as a food additive. The Panel considered that, whilst from theoretical considerations octyl gallate could be metabolised to octyl alcohol and gallic acid, there were insufficient data to demonstrate the rate and extent of octyl gallate metabolism in vivo. Having reviewed the data on the toxicokinetics (rate and extent of metabolism) of propyl, octyl and dodecyl gallate in a previous EFSA evaluation of propyl gallate, the Panel concluded that the available metabolism data on gallates were insufficient to provide a basis for the read-across of systemic toxicity data on propyl, octyl and dodecyl gallate to be valid. The Panel noted the absence of concern for genotoxicity and the lack of increase in the number of tumours in the long-term study. However, owing to the lack of detailed reports on carcinogenicity and chronic toxicity studies with octyl gallate and the absence of a basis for read-across for systemic toxicity from propyl gallate data, the Panel could not reach a definitive conclusion on the presence or absence of a carcinogenic potential of octyl gallate. The Panel identified a no observed adverse effect level of 50 mg/kg body weight per day in a reproductive toxicity study. Overall, the available database was too limited to either establish an acceptable daily intake or serve as a basis for a margin of safety approach to be applied with confidence. The Panel concluded that, although a safety concern was unlikely from the single use (chewing gum) for which usage and analytical data were provided, an adequate assessment of the safety of octyl gallate as a food additive in all its currently permitted uses would require a sufficient toxicological database in line with its current guidance for submission for food additive evaluations.

Reasoned Opinions

Modification of existing MRL for acetamiprid in leafy brassicas

European Food Safety Authority
EFSA Journal 2015;13(9):4229 [20 pp.].

In accordance with Article 6 of Regulation (EC) No 396/2005, the evaluating Member State (EMS), Germany, received an application from Nisso Chemical Europe to modify the existing maximum residue levels (MRL) for the active substance acetamiprid in leafy brassica (Chinese cabbages, kales). In order to accommodate for the intended uses of acetamiprid, Germany proposed to raise the existing MRLs from the limit of quantification of 0.01 mg/kg to 1.5 mg/kg. Germany drafted an evaluation report in accordance with Article 8 of Regulation (EC) No 396/2005, which was submitted to the European Commission and forwarded to EFSA. The intended use on leafy brassica is adequately supported by residue data but no MRL is recommended by EFSA since an acute consumer intake concern cannot be excluded when considering the acute reference dose for acetamiprid proposed by the EFSA PPR panel in a previous assessment.

Scientific Reports of EFSA

Review of results published by Mesnage et al. (2015) and the laboratory findings by Samsel

European Food Safety Authority
EFSA Journal 2015;13(10):4258 [12 pp.].

In a paper published in PLoS One and entitled ‘Laboratory rodent diets contain toxic levels of environmental contaminants: Implications for regulatory tests’, Mesnage et al. (2015) analysed commercial laboratory rodent diets for environmental contaminants and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). In samples from 13 different commercial rodent diets obtained from five continents, the authors of the study report the presence of pesticides, heavy metals, polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans, and GMOs. The paper by Mesnage et al. (2015) provides a useful addition to the already existing knowledge in the field. However, there are several limitations with the methodological approach used by the authors, including insufficient information about the test material and methodology used, incomplete reporting of the data, and inappropriate interpretation of legislation and results. The vast majority of pesticides were absent (below the limit of detection), and where detected, the levels of pesticides, heavy metals and dioxins were only just above the limit of detection in the feed samples but below regulatory levels for feed and foodstuffs. Only in a limited number of feed diets did the authors report levels of lead that exceeded the maximum levels specified by legislation for foodstuffs. The application of the ADI concept to claim the existence of a health risk in rodents or to demonstrate background levels of diseases or disorders in rodents has no scientific justification. In an interview conducted with Dr Samsel, the website reports on the presence of glyphosate in three different rodent diets. The information reported on the website is not supported by sufficient detail or a reference to permit a full scientific review. In conclusion, no new scientific elements were provided that would impact on the validity of regulatory feeding tests in the EU.