The Swiss Food Science Meeting, which took place June 27 and 28, 2013 in Neuchâtel, identified non-intentionally added substances (NIAS) as a current and future food safety issue (for more information: see FPF report on NIAS). Scientists from European governmental research and enforcement laboratories, universities and industry presented their research on analytical techniques, showed examples and discussed strategies for the risk assessment of NIAS in food and food contact materials.
Great advances in analytical techniques and better databases allow the identification and (semi‑)quantification of an increasing number of NIAS. Yet, these improvements demand novel risk assessment concepts. Firstly, a flexible five-step approach including (knowledge) gap description and involving the close cooperation of authorities and industry was proposed. Secondly, the application of the Threshold of Toxicological Concern (TTC) concept for the evaluation of identified and unidentified NIAS was discussed. Thirdly, a variety of concepts for hazard identification addressing novel endpoints such as endocrine disruption, as well as in silico modeling of toxicity, were presented. The concluding podium discussion showed the lessons learnt, the controversial views and the need for new strategies on how to deal with NIAS. The experts present were in agreement that predicting the presence of NIAS remains difficult and that full identification and risk assessment continue being a major challenge.
The Swiss Food Science Meeting was organized by the Association of the Head Chemists of the Swiss Cantons and the Swiss Society for Food and Environmental Chemistry.