FOCUS ON Dietary Exposure Assessment
2nd Workshop on ASEAN Food Consumption Data and Exposure Assessment, November 19-21, 2013, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
On November 19-21, 2013, ILSI Southeast Asia Region in collaboration with the Food Safety and Quality Division, Ministry of Health and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), organized the 2nd Workshop on ASEAN Food Consumption Data and Exposure Assessment in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The workshop is part of the ASEAN Expert Group on Food Safety (AEGFS) Project on “Strengthening ASEAN Risk Assessment Capacities: Food Consumption Data”, which falls within the program area of Monitoring and Surveillance under the ASEAN Food Safety Improvement Plan II (AFSIP II) being implemented by the AEGFS.
A total of 44 country participants with expertise in either food safety, risk assessment and/or food consumption data from all 10 ASEAN Member States attended the workshop. The technical experts of the workshop were Dr. Philippe Verger from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Dr. Catherine Leclercq from FAO, who helped to facilitate the workshop activities including the discussions on the ASEAN Food Consumption Database, as well as the case study exercises on dietary exposure assessment. Mr. Michael Glen from the ASEAN Secretariat also attended and provided support in relation to ASEAN procedural matters.
After intensive discussions on several key technical issues, the experts from ASEAN Member States finally agreed on the format for the ASEAN Food Consumption Database, which has also been harmonized with the FAO/WHO format, so that the collated ASEAN food consumption data can be used for both regional and international risk assessment purposes. The outcomes of the workshop were shared at the 10th Meeting of the AEGFS from December 3-5, 2013 in Brunei Darussalam. The next step for the initiative will be for countries to submit their national data into the ASEAN format, which will be compiled into the ASEAN Food Consumption Database.
This activity was supported in part by the ILSI Platform for International Partnerships.
NEWS AND RESEARCH
ILSI at the 2nd Annual Conference of the Global Food Safety Partnership
The Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP) is a unique public-private partnership facilitated by the World Bank aimed to improve food safety in developing and middle-income countries through provision of training and technical support for all food safety stakeholder. ILSI Southeast Asia Region participated at the recently concluded 2nd Annual Conference of the GFSP, which was held in Singapore from December 9-13, 2013. The Conference provided an opportunity to share updates and exchange views to stakeholders regarding the operation and ongoing programs of the GFSP, as well as to decide on its future directions. As part of media coverage for the event, Mr. Geoffrey Smith, President of ILSI Southeast Asia Region, was interviewed by Channel News Asia. A video clip of the interview can be viewed here.
ILSI Guidance for Dietary Intake Exposure Assessment (GUIDEA)
Recognizing the widespread need among different stakeholders for practical guidance on conducting, reporting and interpreting dietary exposure assessments, the ILSI Europe Food Intake Methodology Task Force initiated a project in 2009 to develop an interactive, web-based platform to serve as a reference source on all aspects of dietary exposure assessment. The output for this activity is ILSI GUIDEA, which was launched in October 2012. The ‘wiki-style’ website is intended to be used by a wide-range of users including students and academics for learning and teaching purposes, as well as by food safety risk assessors, risk managers and risk communicators in relation to their respective roles. The ILSI GUIDEA website can be accessed here. A companion publication on ILSI GUIDEA can also be found in the March 2013 issue of the journal Food and Nutrition Sciences.
Update on Total Diet Studies – Asia
Total diet studies are recognized internationally to be one of the most cost-effective means of obtaining estimates for the average dietary intake of toxic and nutritional chemicals in food. Several countries in the Southeast Asian region have already started to conduct total diet studies on a regular basis including Malaysia, most recently to estimate population exposures to aflatoxins, and Thailand for estimating exposure to pesticide residues in food. Other countries, such as Indonesia, are also planning to conduct national total diet studies in the very near future.
The 1st Hong Kong Total Diet Study commenced in 2010 and will be completed in 2014, aiming to estimate dietary exposures of the Hong Kong population and various population sub-groups to a range of substances, including contaminants and nutrients, and thus assess any associated health risks. A list of over a hundred substances such as persistent organic pollutants, pesticide residues, heavy metals, processing contaminants and mycotoxins, is included in the study. Results from the study thus far have been published as reports and are available on the website of the Hong Kong Centre for Food Safety here.
Update on Total Diet Studies – International
At the international level, efforts have been made to harmonize methodologies for the conduct of total diet studies. A joint guidance document was published in 2011 by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), FAO and WHO to serve as a reference on a harmonized approach to conducting total diet studies. The EU TDS-Exposure research project is also currently underway to standardize methods for the selection of chemical contaminant, priority foods, food sampling, food preparation and analyses, as well as exposure assessment and modelling. ILSI Europe, through its Food Intake Methodology Task Force, is contributing to this project as part of the work package on ‘Dissemination and Stakeholder – User Communication’.
More recently, the book ‘Total Diet Studies’ has been published in November 2013. Edited by Dr. Gerald Moy and Dr. Richard Vannoort, both who are renowned international experts on total diet studies, it serves as a comprehensive reference on a wide range of issues relating to dietary exposure assessment and total diet studies, and also shares national experiences of both developed and developing countries in conducting total diet studies.
Updated Exposure Assessment of Bisphenol A in Europe
EFSA recently published a draft opinion in July 2013 on consumer exposure to the chemical bisphenol A (BPA). This exposure assessment is a refinement of the previous assessment conducted as part of its scientific opinion on BPA in 2006. The updated assessment also covers both dietary and non-dietary sources of exposure, such as thermal paper and environmental sources including air and dust. The current assessment found that dietary sources are the main contributor of consumer exposure to BPA, although the estimates of exposure were significantly lower than those estimated in 2006. Apart from the diet, thermal paper is another significant source of exposure to BPA for populations above 3 years of age. Major dietary sources of BPA exposure for all populations include canned food as well as non-canned meat and meat products. Average dietary exposure to BPA for infants and toddlers (aged 6 months to 3 years) was 375 ng/kg bw/day; while for the population above 18 years of age, this was 132 ng/kg bw/day. The current refined estimates are less than 1% of the Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI) for BPA of 0.05 mg/kg bw/day, established by EFSA in its 2006 scientific opinion.
An overview of all the dietary exposure assessment methods used by the different EFSA panels can be found in the scientific report published by EFSA in 2011.