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EFSA Scientific Colloquium 25 – A coordinated approach to assess the human health risks of micro‐ and nanoplastics in food

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Disclaimer: The views or positions expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent in legal terms the official position of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). EFSA assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or inaccuracies that may appear.


An online colloquium, held on the 6‐7th of May 2021, was organized by EFSA to bring researchers, risk assessors and risk managers together, understand the current state of play and ongoing research in micro‐ and nanoplastics, foster collaboration and build synergies. The aim of the colloquium was to contribute to filling gaps in scientific knowledge and facilitate the assessment of the risks of micro and nanoplastics to human health and facilitate the translation of new data into policy decisions. After the opening plenary session an overview of the scientific evidence since the EFSA CONTAM PANEL 2016 statement was provided in three specific sessions: (1) analytical methods, (2) exposure and (3) hazard identification and characterisation for micro‐ and nanoplastics. The participants discussed synergies, collaboration opportunities with ongoing and planned research activities and priorities for the generation of data necessary to perform a comprehensive assessment of the risks to human health of micro‐ and nanoplastics in food and feed, through breakout sessions in the three areas. At the final plenary session, a panel of experts discussed the identified priorities, main relevant players and relevance for regulators and for citizens/consumers. Significant progress has been made since the EFSA CONTAM panel opinion in 2016. However, it is clear from the large list of uncertainties presented that further efforts are needed to generate the data necessary for a comprehensive human health risk assessment. The complexity, interdisciplinarity and globality of the problem require expertise of different stakeholders, coordinated research initiatives and international cooperation in a full life‐cycle risk assessment, addressing risk perceptions and stakeholders’ priorities.