Process Management

News last update:6 Aug 2012

New tool to measure transfer risk additives to food

TNO developed a feed additive transfer database which helps to determine the consumer exposure. Using the database is a cost- and time-efficient approach for risk assessment of feed additives.

Feed additives need to be safe for both target animals and consumers of edible animal commodities. Information on the transfer of feed to foods of animal origin is essential to determine consumer risk. However, gathering data from animal experiments on this issue, is both expensive and time consuming. TNO therefore developed a quantitative, scientifically sound method that estimates the transfer of contaminants in feed to concentrations in edible animal products called the TNO feed additive transfer database.

Risk assessment
The database consists for the largest part of literature data from over 300 publications. All these publications review the risks of different feed additives on consumer exposure. Because the database has been set up with feed scares (contaminants) in mind, the main part of the data comes from "unwanted substances" in animal feed. These are herbicides, heavy metals, mycotoxins, dioxins, furans, PCB's, PAK's, hormones and veterinary medicines. It has been shown that based on the chemical characteristics of a substance (mainly the fat solubility) a general risk assessment can be made for substances that are not in the database. Therefore, the database can also be used for feed additives and not only for contaminates.

Fish not included
In total, 4,000 transfer factors are present in the database coming from over 250 substances. During an evaluation, a distinction can be made for animal specie (fish is not possible), levels of animal feed and feed duration. With the different filters, more specific questions will include in the total evaluation.

Transfer factor
The risk assessment of a feed additive results in a "transfer factor". This means the amount of the additive that is transferred to a product intended for human consumption. Apart from the database, this can be combined with consumption data to gain a total risk assessment of human exposure to the product. This risk then is compared with the maximum allowed intake of a certain substance to gain a good understanding whether the substance should be qualified as safe or unsafe.

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