Emrisk Identification of emerging risks

FAO is a partner in the European Commission-sponsored EMRISK project (http://www. efsa.europa.eu/EFSA/ScientificPanels/efsa_locale-1178620753812_EMRISK.htm) to identify food-related emerging risks, which utilizes FAO case studies on mycotoxins as its basis. The goal is to identify emerging risks, e.g., mycotoxins, associated with feed and food production in a global setting. It considers the increasing complexity of feed and food pro-

duction systems, trade globalization, novel foods and new food processing technologies. Emerging risks are identified from a combination of knowledge of the food supply chain and the production environment. Five past food incidents were used to identify signals that indicate the possibility of an emerging hazard. For mycotoxins, the emphasis is on the occurrence of conditions for fungal growth and mycotoxin production. The main indicators that contribute to the mycotoxin contamination identified were: (i) food available to the population, (ii) the lack of application of good practices, (iii) erratic or atypical weather patterns conducive to higher mycotoxins production, and (iv) health status of the population. Thus, both technical aspects and information on human behavior and environment are very important and must be considered simultaneously and weighed appropriately. The system can identify an emerging hazard but it does not quantify the associated risk.

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