Prioritization before risk assessment: The viability of uncertain data on food contact materials

Eelco Nicolaas Pieke*, Kit Granby, Bruno Teste, Jørn Smedsgaard, Gilles Rivière

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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The shortage of data on non-intentionally added substances (NIAS) present in food contact material (FCM) limits the ability to ensure food safety. Recent strategies in analytical method development allow investigating NIAS by using chemical exploration; but this has not been sufficiently investigated in risk assessment context. Here, exploration is applied on two paperboard FCM samples followed by risk prioritization for chemicals that can potentially migrate to food. Concentration estimates from exploration are converted into a tentative exposure assessment, while predicted chemical structures are assessed using quantitative structure-activity relationships (QSAR) models for carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, and reproductive toxicity. A selection of 60 chemical compounds from two FCMs is assessed by four risk assessors to classify chemical compounds based on probable risk. For 60% of cases, the assessors classified compounds as either high priority or low priority. Unclassified compounds are due to disagreements between experts or due to a lack of data. Among the high priority substances were high concentration compounds, benzophenone derivatives, and dyes. The low priority compounds contained e.g. oligomers from plasticizers and linear alkane amides. The classification scheme was demonstrated to provide valuable information based on tentative data, able to prioritize discovered chemical compounds for pending risk assessment.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRegulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology
Pages (from-to)134-143
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Risk prioritization
  • FCM
  • Structure assessment
  • Semi-quantification
  • Exposure assessment
  • Hazard assessment


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