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Glossary

This multilingual glossary provides easy-to-understand definitions for the main scientific terms used on this website in the risk assessment domain. Terms and their definitions are referenced in our communication products as pop-up notes to explain concepts to the public with no specialist knowledge.
Standard English spelling is used throughout. Acronyms are capitalised. Terms are presented in lower case. Entries are translated into French, German, Italian and Spanish.
The glossary is a living document subject to regular updates. Relevant missing terms may be suggested by using the Ask A Question online form.

Disclaimer: Definitions in the glossary are intended solely to help this website's users understand scientific terminology. Definitions may differ from those given in European Union legislation and in the EFSA Journal.

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H


A hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) is a system that identifies, evaluates and controls hazards to food safety. It is implemented by food businesses to ensure safe production, storage and transport of food.

The time required for 50% of a substance present in an individual, population or ecosystem to break down or be eliminated naturally. It is often used to describe the disappearance of potentially harmful substances such as chemical toxins.

A substance or activity which has the potential to cause adverse effects to living organisms or environments.

A system that identifies, evaluates and controls hazards to food safety. It is implemented by food businesses to ensure safe production, storage and transport of food.

The second step in risk assessment, this involves defining the nature of the adverse health effects associated with biological, chemical and physical agents which may be present in food. The process should, if possible, involve an understanding of the doses involved and related responses.

The first step in risk assessment, this involves the identification of biological, chemical, and physical agents capable of causing adverse health effects.

Any practice (e.g. a statement or visual) used in food marketing to suggest that health benefits can be gained from consuming a given food, nutrient or ingredient.

Guidance on safe consumption of substances that takes into account current safety data, uncertainties in these data, and the likely duration of consumption.

An approach to risk assessment that takes into account the complexities of real life situations.

A plant on which a pest lives or by which it is nourished.

A direct measurement of the level of toxic chemical compounds present in the body. Often, these measurements are made using blood and urine.

A term to describe the myriad ways that animals and humans can interact, thus establishing a route for diseases to be transmitted (e.g. through foodstuffs or contaminated environments).

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