On February 5, 2014 the European branch of the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI Europe) organised a stakeholder workshop in Brussels, Belgium on behalf of the EU funded project entitled “Total Diet Studies Exposure” to inform on the first results of the project. The following day, ILSI Europe held a workshop to discuss the assessment and reporting of uncertainties in dietary exposure analysis.

The “Total Diet Study Exposure” project funded by the 7th European Framework Programme (FP-7) and led by the French food, environmental and occupational safety agency (ANSES), aims to harmonize Total Diet Studies (TDS) and increase their number in Europe. In TDS, dietary surveys are carried out on which basis food stuffs are pooled, homogenized and subsequently analyzed for the presence of beneficiary and harmful chemicals to assess dietary exposure throughout the population. The number of chemicals analyzed in TDS ranges from about 20 to several 100. Applying the designed prioritization methodology may lead to the inclusion of the food contact substances cadmium, phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA) in future TDS. TDS appeals due to its cost efficiency and the analysis of food samples as consumed. Because food stuffs are analyzed in a pooled rather than individual manner, it is important to focus on those food categories containing a chemical in question. In TDS, chemicals present at low concentrations and/or in a small quantity of foods are difficult to detect. During the workshop, participants discussed the difficulty of analyzing a complex food matrix in a harmonized manner as to achieve comparable results across Member States as well as the extrapolation of generated data to individual food stuffs. Also the general harmonization of TDS procedure across old and new Member States was addressed. Presentations held at the workshop may be accessed on the project’s web page.

The workshop held on February 6, 2014 was organized by the ILSI Europe Food Intake Methodology Task Force. Participating stakeholders were invited to discuss uncertainty assessment in dietary exposure analysis. The importance of identifying the sources of uncertainty and, where possible, their quantification, was underlined. When addressing expert elicitations, some participants expressed unease with the assignment of quantitative values to the uncertainties discussed. It was pointed out, that uncertainties as quantified by expert elicitations cannot be added up to arrive at overall uncertainty levels. The participants further argued the necessity to foster communication between risk managers and risk assessors to ensure adequate interpretation of uncertainties was stressed. The conclusions of the discussions will be included in peer-reviewed publications soon to be published.

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TDS – Exposure. "Stakeholder’s meeting 2014."