Prior to the introduction of a novel food into the market, it is necessary to carry out a safety assessment, and wherever possible this is based on a comparison of whether the product is as safe as a similar traditional food. A group of European scientists, drawn from a variety of food companies and research institutes, has published a critical discussion on the value of post-market monitoring (PMM) as a tool in following up such assessments, citing specific case studies (on aspartame, olestra, phytosterol esters and Starlink maize). Overall, the scientists concluded that the PMM process should complement, but not replace, a comprehensive pre-market assessment, and that PMMs should be undertaken “to meet defined, hypothesis-driven objectives…related to safety aspects” or to help meet public health goals. In particular, they felt that PMMs were appropriate for confirming the predicted levels of exposure to a novel product, for providing reassurance that any effects observed during pre-market evaluation were not problematical, and for investigating the validity of any side effects reported by consumers (Hepburn P. et al., Food and Chemical Toxicology 2008, 46, 9). {174075}

The above item is taken from the March 2008 issue of Toxicology and Regulatory News which is sent automatically to members of bibra (click here for more details).

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