EFSA explains its work on chemicals in food

21-03-2011 | |

EFSA has published new FAQ about its work on chemicals in food. The FAQs describe EFSA’s role and its risk assessment work in several key areas: food additives, flavourings, food contact materials, pesticides, environmental contaminants.

Example of questions tackled:
  • Has an assessment ever led to any food additive being removed from the market?
    Yes, EFSA’s advice can lead to a ban. For example, in 2007, EFSA’s experts advised that the food colour Red 2G (E 128) – which was permitted in certain breakfast sausages and burger meat – raised potential health concerns as it was found to be carcinogenic and genotoxic in animals. Within a month of EFSA’s advice being adopted, the European Commission and EU Member States suspended the use of this colour in foods.


  • What happens when there is concern over unforeseen chemical contamination in the food chain?
    When a new hazard is found in the food chain – for instance the recent cases of dioxin contamination of pig meat or melamine found in various foods – scientists must quickly assess who is exposed, through which foods and at what levels. This is in order to provide a rapid and reliable risk assessment and to help risk managers take appropriate action to protect consumers.