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[Consumer risk assessment in case of maximum residue levels (MRLs) violations in food]

Paweł Struciński, Katarzyna Góralczyk, Katarzyna Czaja, Agnieszka Hernik, Wojciech Korcz, Jan K Ludwicki
Roczniki Państwowego Zakładu Higieny 2007, 58 (2): 377-88
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Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs), as legally binding normative values, have appeared in Polish food legislation for the first time in 1993. Currently, existing MRLs include those values implemented from EU Directives and National MRLs set up by experts from the National Institute of Hygiene. Monitoring of pesticide residues allows to assess exposure of consumers to these compounds present in food products. Monitoring results can also influence the scope of plant protection products application, and change in MRLs. Another tool used to check compliance of food products with MRLs is official control of foodstuffs. Poland, since its accession to the European Union in 2004 takes part in the EU coordinated monitoring programme and carries out the official control of pesticide residues in foodstuffs. Food present on the market must not contain pesticide residues at level exceeding legally binding MRLs. Each case of MRLs violation requires performing of individual risk assessment. In such case so called Predicted Short Term Intake from sampling result (PSTI) is calculated and compared to ARfD or to ADI. Such an assessment is applied to a high percentile of consumption (97,5) among general population (adults) and among the most vulnerable consumer group (children aged 1,5 up to 6 years old). Depending on the results of the assessment, the information about MRL exceedances may be notified to the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) by the Polish Contact Point placed in Chief Sanitary Inspectorate. In Poland, the risk assessment for MRLs violations is performed in the National Institute of Hygiene. The result of risk assessment is a basis for Chief Sanitary Inspector to undertake appropriate risk management decisions to eliminate of potential health risk for consumers.

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