Download PDF
July 1, 2016

EFSA Priority Topics for Guidance Development Include Nanotechnologies

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

On June 20, 2016, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published a scientific opinion entitled “Priority topics for the development of risk assessment guidance by EFSA’s Scientific Committee in 2016-2018.”  EFSA asked its Scientific Committee to review its cross-cutting guidance for scientific assessments to identify gaps requiring either new or revised guidance.  The Scientific Committee identified topics to be included in its 2016-2018 work program without ranking their priority.  According to the scientific opinion, work is already underway in three areas, including nanotechnologies, that are intended to lead to new or revised cross-cutting guidance.  The Scientific Committee will continue to keep priorities for cross-cutting guidance across EFSA’s fields of responsibility under review.  Regarding nanotechnologies, the scientific opinion states:

Future developments are expected in the field of nano-encapsulates and nano-composites in applications such as novel foods, food/feed additives, biocides, food contact materials, but especially as pesticides.  In line with the revision of EFSA’s cross-cutting guidance documents (EFSA Scientific Committee, 2015), the Scientific Committee Nanomaterial Guidance (EFSA Scientific Committee, 2011) requires updating to stay aligned with fast developments in both scientific innovations and legal requirements in this area.  The need for this update has been agreed as a priority for the new Scientific Committee in 2015.  The guidance update should take into account the general extensions needed to cover also nanopesticides and nanoformulations, food contact materials, food and feed additives and novel foods; as well an update of the physico-chemical property measurements and the other data needed for food/feed assessment.  In addition, a second guidance document should be produced on the environmental risk assessment for nanoparticles used in the food chain.