WHO is looking for experts to work on the burden of disease caused by foodborne exposure to cadmium, methylmercury, arsenic, and lead.

It is part of the World Health Organization (WHO) Department of Nutrition and Food Safety’s process to collect and assess evidence to estimate the global burden of foodborne diseases.

WHO is seeking support from independent consultants or groups of experts with relevant expertise and experience to undertake systematic reviews to gather the evidence for different topics.

Other calls have covered 14 pathogens commonly transmitted by food, aflatoxin B1 and M1 as well as Taenia solium infection and cysticercosis. 

Expressions of

Continue Reading WHO turns foodborne estimates focus to heavy metals

The benefits of eating more fish outweigh the risks, according to an assessment in Norway.

Health advantages from increasing fish intake to two to three meals a week outweigh the risks of exposure to environmental contaminants, according to the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment (VKM).

The benefit and risk assessment of fish in the diet was commissioned by the Norwegian Food Safety Authority (Mattilsynet). The agency will use the findings to update advice and warnings about fish to Norwegians. The work looks at nutrients and environmental toxins and assesses whether it is overall positive to eat a food

Continue Reading Norwegian fish assessment finds benefits outweigh risks

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for data on two heavy metals in a range of food types.

The first covers methylmercury and total mercury in orange roughy, pink cusk-eel and all toothfish and the second is on lead in cereal-based foods and ready-to-eat meals for infants and young children; dried spices and culinary herbs; eggs; sugars and sugar-based candies. Both have a deadline of Oct. 15, 2021.

New or additional data for mercury in fish should cover the past 12 years. It must be submitted to WHO through the Global Environment Monitoring System (GEMS) database. Data already
Continue Reading WHO wants data on heavy metals in food

A Codex committee has recommended new maximum levels (MLs) for cadmium in chocolate.

The levels set for cadmium are 0.3 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) for chocolate containing up to 30 percent cocoa total solids and 0.7mg/kg for the 30 percent to 50 percent category.

The European Union, Norway and Egypt did not agree with the 0.3 mg/kg levels put forward and these three nations plus Switzerland didn’t back the 0.7mg/kg levels.

Instead of 0.3 mg/kg the three countries wanted a level of 0.1 mg/kg. In the other category, a lower ML of 0.3 mg/kg was proposed as protecting consumers, especially
Continue Reading Cadmium in chocolate limits put forward in Codex meeting

Food safety advice for pregnant women has been updated in New Zealand including changes to fish, certain cheeses and pasteurized dairy products.

The focus is Listeria monocytogenes, Toxoplasma gondii, methylmercury and caffeine, as these hazards have known specific impacts on the fetus. For Salmonella and Campylobacter, associated with adverse outcomes on the pregnancy period, supporting epidemiological evidence is weaker.

New Zealand Food Safety advice on the topic during pregnancy was published in 2007. The Institute of Environmental Science and Research Limited (ESR) helped update the guidance.

Update to advice
Claire McDonald, manager of operational research at New Zealand Food
Continue Reading Research shows need to update food safety guidance for pregnant women

The World Health Organization (WHO) is requesting data on methylmercury and total mercury in certain fish species.

Fish types for which maximum limits have already been established are excluded.

People are mainly exposed to methylmercury when they eat fish and shellfish that contain the compound. It can adversely affect a baby’s growing brain and nervous system.

The 13th Session of the Codex Committee on Contaminants in Foods in Indonesia in mid-2019 agreed to continue work on the subject and re-establish the electronic working group led by New Zealand and Canada to prepare proposals for maximum levels and sampling plans for
Continue Reading WHO wants data on mercury in fish

An analysis by Norwegian scientists has found a low level of heavy metals in processed fish products in the country.

Commercially available items were collected from 2015 to 2018 and analyzed as composite samples for mercury, lead, arsenic, and cadmium.

Levels of cadmium, lead, and arsenic were low and human exposure to these metals would be minimal from consumption of the tested seafood products. Dietary advice from health authorities in the country is to have fish for dinner no more than two to three times a week.

Mercury levels were below the EU maximum limit for this contaminant in fish.
Continue Reading Norway looks at metals in seafood; assesses local meat producers

The impacts of climate change could potentially increase foodborne disease, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

An FAO publication has identified and attempted to quantify some current and anticipated food safety issues associated with climate change.

Hazards considered are foodborne pathogens and parasites, harmful algal blooms, pesticides, mycotoxins and heavy metals with focus on methylmercury. The report also covers the benefits of forward-looking approaches such as horizon scanning and foresight, which should aid in anticipating future challenges instead of reacting to them and help build resilient food systems that can be updated when
Continue Reading FAO: Climate change is changing food safety landscape

Researchers have presented updated data on the global disease burden caused by foodborne chemicals and toxins.

The data were discussed at a symposia in Arlington, VA, at the annual meeting of the Society for Risk Analysis. This past month the society updated a 2015 World Health Organization (WHO) publication that analyzed disease burdens caused by certain toxins.

Clark Carrington gave a talk on foodborne lead and contributions to decreased IQ in children. Dr. Chen Chen spoke about cassava cyanide, which is primarily a problem in Central Africa. Dr. Aron Barchowsky presented on foodborne arsenic and its impact on cancer and
Continue Reading Experts present on foodborne chemical and toxin burden