The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is the agency of the European Union (EU) that provides independent scientific advice and communicates on existing and emerging risks associated with the food chain. EFSA was established in February 2002, is based in Parma, Italy and had a budget for 2008 of €65.9 million.

The work of EFSA covers all matters with a direct or indirect impact on food and feed safety, including animal health and welfare, plant protection and plant health and nutrition. EFSA supports the European Commission, the European Parliament and EU member states in taking effective and timely risk management decisions that ensure the protection of the healthof European consumers and the safety of the food and feed chain. EFSA also communicates to the public in an open and transparent way on all matters within its remit.

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Published on: 7 December 2018

This report is part of the `Echinococcus multilocularis surveillance’ scientific reports which are presented annually by EFSA to the European Commission and are intended to assess the sampling strategy, data collection and detection methods used by Finland, Ireland, Malta, the United Kingdom (UK) and Norway in their respective surveillance programmes. The surveillance programmes of these five countries were evaluated by checking the information submitted by each of them and verifying that the technical requirements laid down in Regulation (EU) No 1152/2011 were complied. The information was divided in four different categories for assessment: the type and sensitivity of the detection method, the selection of the target population, the sampling strategy and the methodology. For each category, the main aspects that need to be considered in order to accomplish the technical requirements of the legislation were checked against compliance of several criteria. All of the countries participating in this surveillance (Finland, the UK, Norway, Malta and Ireland) succeeded in the fulfilment of the technical legal requirements foreseen in Regulation (EU) No 1152/2011 concerning these four different categories. Northern Ireland (UK) fulfils those requirements only when assuming a diagnostic test sensitivity value of 0.99, which is higher than the sensitivity value suggested by EFSA (conservative value of 0.78). None of the five countries recorded positive samples in the 12‐month reporting period.

© European Food Safety Authority, 2015

Annual assessment of Echinococcus multilocularis surveillance reports submitted in 2018 in the context of Commission Regulation (EU) No 1152/2011

Published on: 6 December 2018

The present scientific opinion deals with the assessment of the bioavailability of magnesium, from the proposed nutrient source, magnesium citrate malate (MgCM), when added for nutritional purposes to food supplements. MgCM is a mixed salt consisting of magnesium cations and citrate and malate anions, and with a magnesium content of 12–15%. MgCM is proposed to be used in food supplements that are intended to provide up to 300–540 mg/day magnesium. The data provided demonstrate that the production process results in batches of MgCM that comply with the product specifications and that the product is stable throughout its proposed shelf life. The human studies provided demonstrate that magnesium from MgCM is bioavailable. However, the extent of its bioavailability per se or compared to other magnesium sources cannot be established due to the lack of an appropriate magnesium source as a comparator in the studies provided or relevant kinetic data for magnesium. One publication provided in the dossier reported that supplementation with MgCM decreases calcium absorption, but this finding was not supported by publications on different magnesium salts and therefore the Panel could not draw conclusions from this finding. The Panel concludes that MgCM is a source from which magnesium is bioavailable, but the extent of its bioavailability cannot be established. The Panel notes that at the proposed maximum use levels of MgCM, the existing tolerable upper intake level for magnesium in nutritional supplements, water, or added to food and beverages (250 mg/day) is exceeded.

© European Food Safety Authority, 2015

Magnesium citrate malate as a source of magnesium added for nutritional purposes to food supplements

Published on: 6 December 2018

The EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Flavourings (FAF) provides a scientific opinion re‐evaluating the safety of propane‐1,2‐diol esters of fatty acids (E 477) when used as a food additive. The Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) in 1978 endorsed the acceptable daily intake (ADI) of 25 mg/kg body weight (bw) per day, expressed as propane‐1,2‐diol, established by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) in 1974. No adverse effects were observed in short‐term studies in rats and dogs at the highest doses tested. The Panel considered that E 477 did not raise a concern for genotoxicity. No chronic toxicity, carcinogenicity, reproductive and developmental toxicity studies with propane‐1,2‐diol esters of fatty acids were available to the Panel. The Panel considered that any potential adverse effect of propane‐1,2‐diol ester of fatty acids would be due to propane‐1,2‐diol, previously re‐evaluated as a food additive and for which an ADI of 25 mg/kg bw per day was established. Considering the overall metabolic and toxicity database, the Panel confirmed the previously established ADI for propane‐1,2‐diol esters of fatty acids (E 477) of 25 mg/kg bw per day expressed as propane 1,2 diol. This corresponds to an ADI for E 477 of 80 mg/kg bw per day, based on the concentration of free and bound propane‐1,2‐diol amounting to a maximum of 31% as laid down in the EU specification. The Panel concluded that there would not be a safety concern at the reported use levels for E 477 because exposure estimates from the refined non‐brand loyal scenario did not exceed the ADI for E 477 in any of the population groups. However, the Panel aims to explore the feasibility of establishing a group ADI for those food additives that result in an exposure to propane‐1,2‐diol, such as E 477, E 1520 and E 405. Additionally, the Panel will also consider performing a combined exposure assessment to propane‐1,2‐diol resulting from the use of these food additives. The Panel also recommended some modifications of the EU specifications for E 477.

© European Food Safety Authority, 2015

Re‐evaluation of propane‐1,2‐diol esters of fatty acids (E 477) as a food additive

Published on: 4 December 2018

Parasites are important food‐borne pathogens. Their complex lifecycles, varied transmission routes, and prolonged periods between infection and symptoms mean that the public health burden and relative importance of different transmission routes are often difficult to assess. Furthermore, there are challenges in detection and diagnostics, and variations in reporting. A Europe‐focused ranking exercise, using multicriteria decision analysis, identified potentially food‐borne parasites of importance, and that are currently not routinely controlled in food. These are Cryptosporidium spp., Toxoplasma gondii and Echinococcus spp. Infection with these parasites in humans and animals, or their occurrence in food, is not notifiable in all Member States. This Opinion reviews current methods for detection, identification and tracing of these parasites in relevant foods, reviews literature on food‐borne pathways, examines information on their occurrence and persistence in foods, and investigates possible control measures along the food chain. The differences between these three parasites are substantial, but for all there is a paucity of well‐established, standardised, validated methods that can be applied across the range of relevant foods. Furthermore, the prolonged period between infection and clinical symptoms (from several days for Cryptosporidium to years for Echinococcus spp.) means that source attribution studies are very difficult. Nevertheless, our knowledge of the domestic animal lifecycle (involving dogs and livestock) for Echinoccocus granulosus means that this parasite is controllable. For Echinococcus multilocularis, for which the lifecycle involves wildlife (foxes and rodents), control would be expensive and complicated, but could be achieved in targeted areas with sufficient commitment and resources. Quantitative risk assessments have been described for Toxoplasma in meat. However, for T. gondii and Cryptosporidium as faecal contaminants, development of validated detection methods, including survival/infectivity assays and consensus molecular typing protocols, are required for the development of quantitative risk assessments and efficient control measures.

© European Food Safety Authority, 2015

Public health risks associated with food‐borne parasites

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