The International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) Europe organized a session on Non-Intentionally Added Substances (NIAS) in food contact materials (FCMs) and food at the Eurotox 2014 conference, which took place on September 7-10, 2014 in Edinburgh, UK. The aim of the session was to gather academic and industry researchers, as well as regulatory authorities to assess the current status on NIAS and discuss different viewpoints on how to move forward their safety assessment. Chaired by Hans Ketelslegers and Heli Miriam Hollnagel of ExxonMobil and Dow Europe respectively, the session proceeded with 4 presentations providing:
- a detailed overview of the regulations and industry efforts focused on NIAS
- recent examples of NIAS and their toxicological assessment
- practical limitations of analytical methods for NIAS
- new approaches for prioritisation of NIAS analytics and risk assessment
Hollnagel emphasized that risk assessments in the EU are traditionally not based on realistic exposure estimates. Therefore, industry has proposed regulatory changes aiming to include more realistic values in the exposure assessment for NIAS.
From a regulator’s point of view, there is a clear need for better exchange of data and emergent knowledge on NIAS as well as increased transparency (e.g. comprehensive lists of identified NIAS), as explained by Beat Brüschweiler of the Swiss Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office in his talk.
The concluding discussion questioned the appropriateness of expectations set regarding NIAS by asking whether food can ever be conclusively considered “safe”. Finally, the need for new pragmatic approaches in safety assessment of NIAS was highlighted.