Health risk assessment when giving grounds for hygienic criteria of food products safety

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P.Z. Shur, N.V. Zaitseva


Federal Scientific Center for Medical and Preventive Health Risk Management Technologies, 82 Monastyrskaya Str., Perm, 614045, Russian Federation


Safety of any product, including food, is viewed as absence of unacceptable risks for life and health. Given that, we propose methodical approaches to health risk assessment in substantiating hygienic standards for contaminants contents in food products; these standards are to be harmonized with internationally accepted principles and supplemented with a methodology recommended by the Eurasian Economic Commission. We describe approaches to assessment of product risks with application of health risk evolution modeling; when giving grounds for hygienic standards, these approaches allow to predict health risk evolution over a period during which a consumer contacts a product; to calculate risk levels for different consumer groups, including sensitive ones; to model health risk as per preset exposure scenarios.

The article contains some examples of setting hygienic requirements to contents of chemical contaminants and biological agents in food products. Thus, a hygienic standard for contents of tetracycline antibiotics in meat products was fixed taking into account consequences of gut organisms imbalance as an increased risk of digestive organs diseases, dermatitis, food allergy, or blood diseases. When a hygienic standard for ractopamine contents in meat products was being fixed, it was shown that its occurrence in any concentration that can be detected with contemporary techniques caused unacceptable health risk in a form of functional disorders in the circulatory system. Therefore, ractopamine was to be prohibited in any concentration. When maximum permissible nitrates contents in fruit and vegetable was being substantiated, experts took into account both carcinogenic risks caused by transformation of nitrates into nitrosoamines, and health risks related to methemoglobin formation. Hygienic requirements to permissible listeria contents in food products ready for consumption were substantiated taking into account quantities of such products (primarily, dairy ones) recommended for consumption by sensitive population groups (first of all, pregnant and breast-feeding women).

The outlined experience accumulated in health risk assessment when giving grounds for hygienic criteria of food products safety in the EAEU and Russia can be useful for improvement and international harmonization of risk assessment. It is advisable to consider such basic aspects in the process as possible convergence of scientific approaches to assessing consumer health risks when substantiating hygienic standards, harmonization of risk assessment tools, exchange of experience and a constructive international discussion on practices related to substantiation of hygienic standards.

health risk assessment, hygienic standards, food products, hazard factors, level of exposure, international harmonization of risk assessment
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