Books – Risk Regulation in Non-Animal Food Imports (Montanari F. et al.)

My dear friend Francesco Montanari recently published this excellent book – co-authored with Veronika Jezso and Carlo Donati – which highlights one of the less explored areas of food law: the import of food of non-animal origin. Despite these products are traditionally considered less dangerous than food of animal origin, recent food crisis showed that this stereotype is set to change. Moreover, this subject has a major impact on market access and, more generally, on trade flows in a globalized and theoretically liberalized market.

Risk Regulation in Non-Animal Food Imports,  Montanari F., Jezso V., Donati. C., Springer Brief February 2015. Here you can download the table of contents.

This latest Springer Brief aims at providing a general understanding of the rationale – scientific as well as political – behind EU policy and related risk management decisions regarding imports of food of non-animal origin. Indeed, over the last years, threats deriving from imported food of non-animal origin seem to have multiplied, including sprout seeds contaminated with E. coli  and strawberries containing hepatitis A or noroviruses.

Against this background, the authors explain the mechanism of reinforced controls at EU borders on certain imports of non-animal origin as well as the wide spectrum of EU emergency measures  currently imposing trade restrictions on some of those products considered as presenting a high risk for public health. They also examine all chemical and non-chemical risks that may be associated with imports of non-animal origin and their impact on human health, taking into account the scientific output by the European Food Safety Authority.

EFSA – No consumer health risk from bisphenol A exposure

EFSA’s comprehensive re-evaluation of bisphenol A (BPA) exposure and toxicity concludes that BPA poses no health risk to consumers of any age group (including unborn children, infants and adolescents) at current exposure levels. Exposure from the diet or from a combination of sources (diet, dust, cosmetics and thermal paper) is considerably under the safe level (the “tolerable daily intake” or TDI).

Although new data and refined methodologies have led EFSA’s experts to considerably reduce the safe level of BPA from 50 micrograms per kilogram of body weight per day (µg/kg of bw/day) to 4 µg/kg of bw/day, the highest estimates for dietary exposure and for exposure from a combination of sources (called “aggregated exposure” in EFSA’s opinion) are three to five times lower than the new TDI.

Uncertainties surrounding potential health effects of BPA on the mammary gland, reproductive, metabolic, neurobehavioural and immune systems have been quantified and factored in to the calculation of the TDI. In addition, the TDI is temporary pending the outcome of a long-term study in rats, which will help to reduce these uncertainties.

You can find the full opinion and the toxicological/exposure assessments HERE.

BPA is a controversial chemical compound used in the manufacture of food contact materials such as re-usable plastic tableware and can coatings (mainly protective linings). Another widespread use of BPA is in thermal paper commonly used in till/cash register receipts. Residues of BPA can migrate into food and beverages and be ingested by the consumer; BPA from other sources including thermal paper, cosmetics and dust can be absorbed through the skin and by inhalation.

Despite the positive outcomes of many scientific opinions, BPA is banned in many countries for the use in baby bottles and in France, since 1st January 2015, is prohibited for use in all food contact materials.

A recent study is advacing he hypothesis that some substitutes of BPA could be even more dangerous than this substance.