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EFSA EU-FORA Programme 2021/2022


Funding institution: European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)

Grant number: GP/EFSA/ENCO/2020/04

The European Food Risk Assessment (EU-FORA) Fellowship Programme is a key initiative for building the EU’s scientific assessment capacity and knowledge community. In this year’s call the following projects are implemented.

1. Risk Assessment of Food Contact Materials

Project description:

The aim of the project is to have the EU-FORA Fellow assist in the risk assessment of food conat materials at BfR, providing him with extensive knowledge in this area. The evaluation of substances for inclusion in the BfR recommendations for food contact materials and articles is carried out according to the specifications of the EFSA guidance document. The evaluation of substances for plastic food contact materials is carried out by EFSA in the same way. The fellow will improve her/his knowledge of tools to assess health risks posed by food contact materials. She/he will gain deep insight into the evaluation of dossiers for the inclusion of new substances in the database "BfR Recommendations on Food Contact Materials". This insight comes from both sides - the analytical and the toxicological side. The results of the BfR risk assessment are discussed in expert panels of the BfR Committee on Consumer Products. In addition, the risk assessment of substances originating from current issues will be one of the training objectives. As the National Reference Laboratory for Food Contact Materials, which is also located at the BfR, the fellow has the opportunity to carry out a project in the laboratory. The laboratory develops new analytical methods and carries out analyses on current issues and to support the risk assessment of food contact materials.

2. The use of NAM and omics data in risk assessment

Project description:

Centred around a large workshop on NAM and omics technologies taking place at the BfR in November 2021, the EFSA-fellow will acquire expert knowledge in the current state of integration of NAM and omics techniques in risk assessment, as well as into technical limitations and steps needed for further implementation. Based on the acquired knowledge and the outcomes of the workshop, the fellow will draft a workshop report and position paper on the use of NAM and omics in regulatory toxicology, in close cooperation with the BfR employees. This part of the work will be accompanied by practical training on various state-of-the-art in vitro and in silico methods, as well as by insights into ongoing risk assessment processes related to food and pesticides safety at BfR. Goal of the project is the improvement of the use of NAM and omics methods in risk assessment, to improve consumer safety.

3. Insects in food and their relevance regarding allergenicity assessment

Project description:

Insects as foods or food ingredients have become more popular and will soon receive authorization according to the “Novel Foods”-Regulation in the EU. The fellow will be introduced to allergenicity risk assessment and learn basics as well as high-end nucleic acid- and protein-based techniques to be used in the analysis of in vitro (mainly, proteolysis studies) tools to be used in the identification and assessment of potentially allergenic foodstuff derived from insects. In addition, the fellow could also explore the usefulness of more refined and advanced in silico approaches to assess the safety assessment of proteins. In parallel, the fellow will review the scientific evidence revealing the potential influence of the human gut microbiota on the immunogenicity of food antigens and, particularly, of well-described food allergens with the focus on insects as novel foods with potential allergenic potential. This particular activity will be linked to the recently granted proposal corresponding to the call “Thematic grants: Preparedness for future challenges in specific areas of EFSA`s work: Lot 1".

Project partner:

  • Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Spain

BfR activities within the EU-FORA programme:

  • Member of the EU-FORA programme committee
  • Member of a consortium to run module 2 on risk communication and crisis response

EFSA’s fellowship initiative contributes to building the EU’s scientific assessment capacity and knowledge community and is planned to be further continued.


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