Health for humans, animals & plants

Risk assessment of chemical substances in food as a basis for communicating risks

The assessment of health risks of chemical substances in food is carried out within the framework of risk assessment, which consists of hazard identification, characterization, exposure assessment and risk characterization.

In the course of this, guideline health values (such as ADI - acceptable daily intake, ARfD - acute reference dose) are derived. The risk assessment is the basis for legal limits and/or further risk management measures.

Within the framework of an interdisciplinary stakeholder dialogue at AGES, uniform descriptions of possible risks were drawn up for substances with health reference values (such as pesticides or heavy metals) and genotoxic carcinogenic contaminants (e.g. polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, aflatoxin, arsenic), and appropriate communication measures were subsequently defined, ranging from education to warnings of a health hazard.

Depending on the risk, this can create trust or awareness, improve the level of information about risks, or initiate a change in behavior. This basis for a uniform communication of risk terms also helps to increase the risk awareness of the population, but also to improve the risk perception of food risks. Furthermore, confidence in food safety in Austria is further strengthened, which makes a significant contribution to the health of the population.

Last updated: 14.09.2022

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