Evaluation of certain food additives and contaminants.
Article Type: Book review
Subject: Books (Book reviews)
Author: Polasa, Kalpgam
Pub Date: 01/01/2009
Publication: Name: Indian Journal of Medical Research Publisher: Indian Council of Medical Research Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Biological sciences; Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2009 Indian Council of Medical Research ISSN: 0971-5916
Issue: Date: Jan, 2009 Source Volume: 129 Source Issue: 1
Topic: NamedWork: Evaluation of Certain Food Additives and Contaminants (Nonfiction work)
Accession Number: 197413803
Full Text: Evaluation of certain food additives and contaminants, Sixty-eighth Report of Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (World Health Organization, Geneva) 2008. 238 pages. Price: CHF/US $ 40.00; in developing countries: CHF/US $ 28.00 ISBN 978-92-4-120947-2

The sixty eighth meeting of the joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives was held at Geneva from June 19-28, 2007. This meeting was convened to evaluate the safety of various food additives including flavouring agents in order to recommend acceptable daily intakes (ADIs) and to prepare specifications for identification and purity. The Committee also evaluated the risk posed by two food contaminants namely, aflatoxin and ochratoxin A to recommend risk management options in order to protect public health.

The publication begins with a very brief introduction and declaration of interests. Chapter two is titled as general considerations with nine sections. The section two contains information on principal achievements of thirty-ninth session of Codex Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants (CCFAC). This was the first meeting after the split of CCFAC into two committees, one for food additives (CCFA) and another for contaminants in food (CCCF). The third section gives the references to principles governing the toxicological evaluation of compounds. Section five discusses the safety evaluation of flavouring agents under various headings namely dietary exposure estimates, development of the Single Portion Exposure Technique (SPET), criteria to identify flavouring agents of potential concern, data on their usage levels, comparison of dietary estimates from the SPET with Maximized Survey Derived Intake (MSDI) and consideration of combined dietary exposure estimates. The recommendation made was that the assessment of combined dietary exposure for flavouring agents should be undertaken for agents that share a common metabolite and are members of a homologous series. Section six discusses whether an ADI allocated to an additive obtained from specific source and/or by specific manufacturing process can be applied to similar additives obtained by other means or from other sources.

The committee was of the opinion that it is necessary to compare source, method of manufacture and composition of the new product with the product tested originally for toxicity and for which the ADI was originally allocated.

Section seven emphasizes the need to develop guidelines for safety evaluation of enzymes produced by genetically modified microorganisms, and section eight has brought forth an important point that agents used for flavouring and as additives should confirm to specifications in both the food additives format and the flavouring agent format. The committee agreed to review in future deliberations, whether any substantial differences exist between the two sets of specifications and to make revisions as and when necessary. The ninth section has listed withdrawal of specification for the food additives namely anisyl acetone, furfural and zeaxanthin rich extract from Tagetes erecta.

The third chapter deals with the safety evaluations and revision of specification for specific food additives other than flavouring agents. Section one lists nine additives that were evaluated; of which asparaginase from Aspergillus oryzae, cyclotetraglucose, magnesium sulphate and sodium iron (III)--(EDTA) have been evaluated for the first time.

The other additives that were re-evaluated are acidified sodium chlorite, carrageenan and processed Eucheuma seaweed, isoamylase from Pseudomonas amyloderamosa, phospholipase A1 from Fusarium, venenatum produced by Aspergillus oryzae and steviol glycosides. The second section discusses the food additives that were considered for specifications only. These were maltol and ethyl maltol, nisin, pectins, polyvinyl alcohol and sucrose esters of fatty acids.

Chapter four gives detailed account of flavouring agents evaluated by the procedure for the safety evaluation of flavouring agents and specifications of purity for flavouring agents. Section one has covered eight groups of flavouring agents. In the application of the procedure, the chemical was first assigned to a structural class as identified by the committee at its forty-sixth meeting. The three classes I, II and III have been defined. The class I flavouring agents have simple, chemical structure and low toxicity by oral route. The class II agents have features that are less innocuous than those of class I which however, do not suggest toxicity. The class III agents have structural characteristics that permit no initial presumption of safety or may even suggest toxicity. Therefore, the key element of the procedure would involve determining whether a flavouring agent and the product(s) of its metabolism are innocuous and / or endogenous substances. Figure I gives the decision tree approach used in the evaluation. Tables 2-11 excluding Table 8 summarise the results of safety evaluations of all the classes of flavouring agents. Table 8 gives the annual volumes of production of aliphatic acetals used as flavouring agents in Europe, USA and Japan.

The second section of fourth chapter briefly mentions the revision of existing specification for flavouring agents. Overall this chapter is a very exhaustive one covering all aspects of safety evaluation of the additives used as flavouring agents. The tables included in the chapter gives all the necessary information in nutshell.

Chapter five has dealt with two contaminants namely aflatoxins and ochratoxin A in two major sections. Section one has eight subsections and section two has eleven subsections. The topics covered in section one are brief introduction to the problem of aflatoxin contamination and ends with a note stating that the risk posed by aflatoxins has been unequivoaccly substantiated and therefore was not considered for assessment of toxicity by the present Committee. Subsections two to eight deal with a variety of topics ranging from analytical methods, sampling protocols, effect of processing, aflatoxin occurrence and levels in food commodities particularly tree nuts, assessment of dietary exposure from tree nuts and other foods, effect of hypothetical maximum levels in almonds, brazil nuts, hazel nuts, pistachios and dried figs on dietary exposure. Table 13 shows statistics on impact of different hypothetical levels on world trade. Tables 14-16 provide summary of mean overall estimates of dietary exposure from various foods.

The second section of fifth chapter starts with introduction to ochratoxin, its toxicity and evaluation. The other sections give an account of absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion; toxicological data; observations in humans; analytical methods; sampling protocols; effects of processing; prevention and control and dietary exposure assessment.

The dietary exposure assessment has detailed several aspects namely analysis of data submitted, estimation of the levels of ochratoxin A in cereals, various methods of calculating the average level of contamination, impact of new data on estimates of dietary exposure to ochratoxin A and a final note on the evaluation of ochratoxin A.

Chapter six has listed the agenda of future work to be done by the Committee. Chapter seven is brief summarizing the recommendations, the noteworthy being emphasis on need for harmonized sampling plants, both between different countries and within the same country. The reference section has an impressive list of 57 citations. There are four annexures which support statements made in relevant chapters.

Annexure 1 is a compilation of reports and other documents of previous meetings of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives. Annexure 2 gives ADIs, other toxicological information and information on specifications. Annexure 3 has listed three additives for which further information is required. Annexure 4 gives summary of safety evaluation of secondary components for flavouring agents with minimum assay values of less than 95 per cent.

The Report is concise and covers all details and information on some of the food additives and two most important contaminants. It will be of great reference value to manufacturers, regulatory authorities and other concerned with food industry. The Report has many abbreviations almost in every page and some of them are less familiar. A list of abbreviations with their expanded form either in the beginning or at the end could have been included.

Kalpgam Polasa Food & Drug Toxicology Research Centre National Institute of Nutrition Hyderabad 500 007, India fdtrc_kp@yahoo.com
Gale Copyright: Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.