EU Food Safety Authority defends pesticide risk studies activists call ‘unfit for purpose’

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The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published the results of its two pilot assessments on the risks posed to humans by residues of multiple pesticides in food, but an EU association advocating for a reduction of pesticides has deemed them “unfit for purpose.”

The overall conclusion for both assessments is that consumer risk from dietary cumulative exposure is, with varying degrees of certainty, below the threshold that triggers regulatory action for all the population groups covered.

However, Pesticide Action Network Europe (PAN), a group of more than 600 NGOs, said that the studies presented by EFSA seemed “unfit for purpose,” that is, to ensure that pesticides mixtures cause “no impact to human health and particularly to the most vulnerable groups in the population.”

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PAN criticized the studies for being “completely hypothetical,” saying that no experimental studies using pesticide mixtures took place at any step of the assessment.

Asked by EURACTIV about the choice not to include experimental studies, a spokesperson for EFSA said …. “The methodology used to evaluate the combined toxicological effects of pesticides on the nervous system and the thyroid were based on existing scientific work in the area of mixture toxicology.”

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