EFSA creates new food enzyme exposure tool

EFSA scientists have devised a way to more accurately estimate consumer exposure to enzymes used in food production, improving their safety evaluation as required by EU law. Dr Christina Tlustos, an exposure expert who sits on EFSA’s Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids (CEF), which developed the approach, 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.” Enzymes are protein molecules that catalyse chemical reactions. They have been used in the production of foods such as bread and beer for centuries. Historically enzymes are considered to be non-toxic and not a safety concern for consumers since they are produced naturally by living organisms and present in ingredients used to make food. However, today’s foods are also made using food enzymes produced industrially. These enzymes are extracted from plant and animal tissues or produced by fermentation of microorganisms.