Refining customer exposure due to pesticide residues – Part 2

Monday, December 7, 2015

Authors: Andrea Zentai, Kata Kerekes, István J. Szabó, Árpád Ambrus


1. Summary


In the first part of our article principles of the point and probabilistic estimation of customer exposure were described. Individual crop weight distribution data and their characteristic properties, necessary for performing more accurate calculations, were also published.


In the current work, mathematical relationships used for the calculation of refinedprobabilistic exposure estimation are described, which can uniformly take into consideration the raw material proportions of complex foods, the effect of processing operations on the pesticide residue concentrations in the raw product, the pesticide residue concentration in the portion of produce to be consumed, and also the different pesticide residue concentrations in the individual crops.

Based on the determination of pesticide residues in nearly 20000 individual crops, by applying the experimental data obtained in different produce groups, it is possible to determine customer exposure more accurately than using values taken by random sampling from parametric functions fitted on the basis of a limited number of results, which can approximate the real distribution only with substantial error. In order to facilitate more accurate estimation, individual variability factors and values characteristic of the main produce groups are published.


2. Introduction


There has been no comprehensive risk assessment so far of the pesticide intake regarding the entire population of Hungary, although data that can be used for it are

available. The necessity to perform the risk assessment is also justified by the customer concerns mentioned in the first part.

The four main steps of food safety risk assessment are hazard identification, hazard characterization, exposure assessment and risk characterization. The first step is the

identification of known or possible health hazards arising from the consumption of the food. It is in the second step, during the characterization of the hazard, that qualitative

and quantitative evaluation of the nature of the harmful effect happens. During exposure (intake) assessment, this being the third step, it is roughly calculated how much of the toxic substabce in question is consumed by the entire population or a specific group of it. When performing the calculation, we try to find the answer to the question, what is the relationship between the intake and health reference levels (ADI, ARfD) determined by evaluating bodies based on toxicological studies. In the last step, when characterizing the risk, it is evaluated, by drawing conclusions from the first three steps and taking into account the uncertainties, which fraction of the consumer population examined is expected to have an exposure that is higher than the health reference value [1].

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