Evaluation of Certain Food Additives: Fifty-first Report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (WHO Technical Report Series)

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This report presents the conclusions of an expert committee commissioned to evaluate the safety for human consumption of selected food additives and to establish acceptable daily intakes for these substances. The committee also establishes specifications for the identity and purity of food additives in order to make certain that the materials subjected to toxicological testing are adequately defined and correspond to the products in commerce.
The report opens with discussions of methodological issues relevant to the safety assessment of food additives and contaminants. Noting the increasing importance of intake assessments in risk evaluation, the report provides detailed information on five methods used to assess dietary intake of food additives. Potential sources of uncertainty and variability associated with each method are also identified and discussed. Other methodological issues considered include principles governing the prediction of metabolism of flavouring agents into innocuous products, policies for setting microbiological criteria, especially for products of natural origin, and the information required for evaluation of enzyme preparations derived from genetically modified microorganisms.
Against this background, the second part of the book provides succinct summaries of the toxicological data examined and factors considered when evaluating selected substances and allocating an acceptable daily intake. Evaluations are presented for two enzyme preparations (a-acetolactate decarboxylase and maltogenic amylase), three flavouring agents (trans-anethole, furfural, and menthol), two food colours (curcumin and riboflavin from genetically modified Bacillus subtilis), one group of glazing agents (medium- and low-viscosity mineral oils), one group of preservatives (sulfur dioxide and sulfites), one sweetening agent (stevioside), three thickening agents (carrageenan, processed Eucheuma seaweed, and enzymatically hydrolysed sodium carboxymethyl cellulose), and three miscellaneous substances (g- cyclodextrin; glucono-d-lactone and the calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium salts of gluconic acid; and polyglycitol syrup).
The third and most extensive part presents conclusions about the safety of a large number of flavouring agents evaluated according to a procedure which integrates data on intake, in relation to human intake thresholds, with information on structure-activity relations, metabolism, and toxicity. The procedure facilitates the safety evaluation of flavouring substances that have extremely low intake but lack data on toxicity.
The final part summarizes the results of intake assessments conducted for five food additives: benzoates, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), sulfites, and tert-butylhydroquinone (TBHQ). Annexed to the report are tables summarizing the committee's recommendations for acceptable daily intakes, changes in the status of specifications, and further toxicological studies and other information required or desired.

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