Safety evaluation of certain contaminants in food

  • 10th January 2019
  • by secretary

Safety evaluationof certaincontaminantsin food
WHO FOOD ADDITIVES SERIES: 74 FAO JECFA Monographs 19 bis Prepared by the eighty-third meeting of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA)
© World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2018
992 pages

The full monograph on the 83rd JECFA appeared in recent days. Clocking in at 1000 pages.

This is the longest monograph in the 55 year history of the program. Along with a number of contaminants of food, the monograph contains the first re-analysis of aflatoxin in 20 years, an update on fumonisin and a new chapter on the interactions of the two compounds (additive or synergistic depending on endpoint). The JECFA found that as with other mammals, aflatoxin and fumonisin contribute to stunting in children.

Aflatoxin is potently carcinogenic in humans particularly so from early exposures, potently immunosuppressive (in humans) and a potent renal toxicant (in humans). Fumonisin is a potent renal toxin, a potent cancer promoter and causes birth defects. In Africa and parts of Latin America, co-exposure to the two toxins is ubiquitous. Aside from toxicology and health information, there is a risk characterization for different parts of the world. However, exposure data in Africa are and have always been inadequate to give a reliable assessment except for the few thousand children where exposure has been measured properly at a given point.