EFSA develops new tool for food enzyme evaluations


The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) scientists have developed a new approach that has the potential to accurately calculate consumers exposure to enzymes used in food production.

This is expected to improve their safety evaluation as required by EU law.

Enzymes are protein molecules that catalyse chemical reactions and are used to produce food and beverages such as bread and beer.

Foods are currently made using industrially produced enzymes that are extracted from plant and animal tissues, or made by fermentated microorganisms.

“We have developed an exposure tool, which can be tailored to each food process involving food enzymes."

This new approach by EFSA has provided a new platform for the evaluation of the remaining 300 applications.

EFSA food contact materials, enzymes, flavourings and processing aids (CEF) panel member Christina Tlustos said: “We have developed an exposure tool, which can be tailored to each food process involving food enzymes.

“The tool uses technical conversion factors, which means we can combine food consumption data with enzyme use levels and take into account the level of transfer of food enzymes into food products.”

EFSA plans to use the same methodology for the remaining food enzymes’ applications that are scheduled for assessment.

Last September, the CEF panel published a new methodology for dietary exposure to food enzymes based on actual consumption data collected from individual European citizens.


Image: Enzymes are protein molecules that catalyse chemical reactions and are being used to production food and beverages. Photo: courtesy of EFSA.