Scientists discuss assessment of toxicological content in food
LCTech, manufacturer of automated sample preparation systems for food and environmental laboratories in Obertaufkirchen, held a top-class congress on the topic of halogenated persistent pollutants, the FoHP (Forum on Halogenated Pollutants), at the TUM Science & Study Center in Raitenhaslach near Burghausen from 04. - 05.04.2019.
The focus was on toxic substances such as dioxins/PCBs, brominated flame retardants, chlorinated paraffins and especially poly- and perfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) in food and drinking water. The extent to which these substances are already influencing our daily lives can be seen in the public discussion in the district of Altötting due to past PFAS contamination in the chemical industry.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is working hard to take into account the particular hazards of these substances and to reduce them further for consumers. The key to the assessment of the danger is the quantity of these substances absorbed by food and drinking water from an average consumer in combination with their corresponding toxicological evaluation. The values determined to submitted to the European Commission and then enter into legislative procedures.
First, these issues must be examined for their feasibility in analytical laboratories, governmental agencies and private industry. The fact that the ever-widening limit values represent a considerable challenge for analytical laboratories was clearly demonstrated in this congress. It was quarreled collegially for the best strategies, but also discussed meaning and nonsense of certain limits. Finally, the discussion between the European Authority, the European Reference Laboratory, national laboratories and private environmental laboratories has been intensified in this congress.
An important area, however, is communication with consumers and consumers. Here, there is the tension between toxicological evaluation and real life situation, since organically produced and therefore desirable and healthy food may be more heavily contaminated due to environmental influences than products from factory farming. This applies to wild caught fish, as well as to organic meat from grazing or eggs from organic production. The scientists agreed that the contamination of the environment must be contained in the long term and sustainably.
77 opinion-forming and leading scientists from 14 nations attended this congress. They were tuned the day before with a city and castle tour as well as a get-together in the evening. All participants were fascinated about the "Stony Hall" of the monastery complex of the TUM Science & Study Center Raitenhaslach, where the lectures were held. Spontaneously, the TU Munich staff also conducted a guided tour through the remarkable premises of the Prälatenstock, which further enhanced the positive impression of the venue. Not only important topics of the future were discussed with this event, all participants also took a positive memory of Burghausen and the historical background of the town.