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Risk Characterisation of Chemicals in Food and Diet


Renwick, Andrew G.; Barlow, Susan M.; Hertz-Picciotto, Irva; Boobis, Alan R.; Dybing, Erik; Edler, Lutz; Eisenbrand, Gerhard; Greig, John B.; Kleiner, Juergen; & Lambe, Joyce, et al. (2003). Risk Characterisation of Chemicals in Food and Diet. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 41(9), 1211-1271.


This report presents a review of risk characterisation, the final step in risk assessment of exposures to food chemicals. The report is the second publication of the project “Food Safety in Europe: Risk Assessment of Chemicals in the Food and Diet (FOSIE)”. The science underpinning the hazard identification, hazard characterisation and exposure assessment steps has been published in a previous report (Food Safety in Europe, 2002). Risk characterisation is the stage of risk assessment that integrates information from exposure assessment and hazard characterisation into advice suitable for use in decision-making. The focus of this review is primarily on risk characterisation of low molecular weight chemicals, but consideration is also given to micronutrients and nutritional supplements, macronutrients and whole foods. Problem formulation, as discussed here, is a preliminary step in risk assessment that considers whether an assessment is needed, who should be involved in the process and the further risk management, and how the information will provide the necessary support for risk management. In this step an evaluation is made of whether data are available and what level of resources are needed, as well as the timeline for completing the assessment. The report describes good evaluation practice as an organisational process and the necessary condition under which risk assessment of chemicals should be planned, performed, scrutinised and reported. The outcome of risk characterisation may be quantitative estimates of risks, if any, associated with different levels of exposure, or advice on particular levels of exposure that would be without appreciable risk to health, e.g. a guidance value such as an acceptable daily intake (ADI). It should be recognised that risk characterisation often is an iterative and evolving process.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Food and Chemical Toxicology


Renwick, Andrew G.
Barlow, Susan M.
Hertz-Picciotto, Irva
Boobis, Alan R.
Dybing, Erik
Edler, Lutz
Eisenbrand, Gerhard
Greig, John B.
Kleiner, Juergen
Lambe, Joyce
Muller, Detlef J. G.
Smith, M. R.
Tritscher, Angelika
Tuijtelaars, Sandra
van den Brandt, Piet A.
Walker, Robert T.
Kroes, Robert