Joint Guidance on Dietary Exposure Assessments by EFSA, FAO and WHO Aims for Harmonization

November 28, 2011 By

Clara di Tella, BSc, Pharm. QA
Regulatory Affairs Specialist, dicentra Inc.

On November 24, 2011 the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) jointly published guidance for a harmonized Total Diet Study (TDS) approach. This guidance document outlines the joint principles that the three organizations could take to internationally harmonize Total Diet Study (TDS) approaches.

A Total Diet Study consists of selecting, collecting and analyzing commonly consumed food purchased at the retail level, processing the food as for consumption, pooling the prepared food items into representative food groups, homogenizing the pooled samples, and analyzing them for harmful and beneficial chemical substances. TDSs are used to measure the amount of each chemical substance ingested by the population living in a country, to estimate the proportion of the population with inadequate nutrient intake levels. Representatives from EFSA, FAO and WHO have reviewed the current state and prepared this guidance, which outlines the joint Total Diet Study approach. It presents principles for carrying out a study, including the planning phase, collection of results, exposure assessment calculation and communication on the results.

The working group concluded that, together with other dietary surveillance programs, TDS is an effective tool to estimate population dietary exposure to chemicals, both harmful and beneficial, across the overall diet. This harmonization would enable international comparability of dietary exposure results from food and support assessment in multiple regions or countries.

For the complete document “Towards a harmonized Total Diet Study approach: a guidance document” please go to:

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