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Stakeholder workshop on re-evaluation of food additives focusing on those used in foods for infants below 16 weeks of age

EFSA organised a one-day stakeholder workshop on the data requirements for the re-evaluation of food additives used in foods for infants below 16 weeks of age.

The workshop was an occasion for stakeholders, EFSA and its experts to have an open exchange on the data requirements for the re-evaluation of food additives used in foods for infants below 16 weeks of age, for which data calls were published in July, October and November 2018. Analysing the challenges encountered and promoting examples of good collaboration, the event also served as a platform for stakeholders to provide feedback on their data provision plans.

During the one-day workshop, which was attended by over 30 registered stakeholders, participants had the opportunity to share their views and discuss suggestions on how to strengthen scientific cooperation and engagement with EFSA in this specific area of re-evaluation. They also gained a better understanding of the follow-up activities resulting from certain safety concerns or data gaps identified in previous assessments of the food additives under discussion.

 

Under Regulation EC 1333/2008, EFSA must re-evaluate by 2020 all food additives authorised for use in the EU prior to 20 January 2009. All substances authorised under previous legislation are allowed until their re-evaluation is complete. The programme for this re-evaluation is defined by Regulation (EU) No 257/2010.

So far, uses of food additives in foods for infants in their first months of life have not been re-evaluated by EFSA, the reason being that its risk assessment approach followed for food additives until now was not applicable to this age group. In May 2017, EFSA’s Scientific Committee published a guidance document on the risk assessment of substances present in foods intended for infants below 16 weeks of age, which advises on the approach to be followed. In line with this approach, EFSA launched several calls for scientific data on the use of specific additives in foods for infants below 16 weeks of age. With the same calls EFSA is seeking data to address gaps that have previously been identified for all uses of these substances.

To deliver effective re-evaluations, it is critical that EFSA receives these scientific data (e.g. on chemical and biological properties or toxicological studies) from additive producers, food processors and other interested parties (including national authorities, research institutions and academia). Engaging all stakeholders is therefore vital to the completion of the safety assessment of these food additives, and ultimately to the protection of consumers across the EU.