In a technical report published on May 15, 2019, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) proposed “a risk evaluation methodology that would allow a rapid and consistent risk-based classification of RASFF [Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed] notifications.” Developing such a methodology was necessary because “in accordance with Regulation (EU) no. 16/2011, the exceedance of a legal limit, i.e. ‘non-compliance’ with a regulatory framework (European or National) does not systematically trigger a RASFF notification,” and “an evaluation on the level of risk is necessary to decide if a notification should be issued.”  

The methodology “provide[s] a transparent set of criteria that can support the decision whether to notify in RASFF and increase transparency and harmonization.” These criteria address “toxicological properties and dietary exposure” and can be applied to contaminants “arising from food contact materials, pharmacologically active substances and other food contaminants.” The process compares “exposure to a relevant toxicological reference point” to subsequently classify the case as “no risk; low probability of adverse health effects or low concern for public health; potential risk; or risk.” 

To facilitate the proposed risk evaluation process, EFSA developed “Rapid Assessment of Contaminant Exposure (RACE)” tool, which “uses food consumption information from the EFSA Comprehensive European Food Consumption Database to provide estimates of acute and chronic exposure from single foods and compares the result to the relevant toxicological reference points.” 


EFSA (2019). “Risk evaluation of chemical contaminants in food in the context of RASFF notifications: Rapid Assessment of Contaminant Exposure tool (RACE).” doi:10.2903/sp.efsa.2019.EN-1625 (pdf)