In Europe, some nutrients are regulated under different legal frameworks for use in products such as food additives and pesticides. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has released a draft approach that aims to harmonize assessments of the intake of these nutrients, the potentially hazardous properties of excessive intakes, and the overall risks for consumers.

Intake of nutrients is generally positive and, in many cases, essential for human and animal health, but an excessive intake of some nutrients could raise health concerns. Risk assessors set Health-Based Guidance Values (HBGVs), a threshold value to indicate how much of a substance, including nutrients, is safe for people and animals. Decision-makers use the HBGVs to help them determine how much of a substance is permitted in regulated products such as food additives and pesticides.

Recent examples of regulated substances that are nutrients include phosphates, chlorides, and copper. EFSA recently accepted a new request from the European Commission to review consumer exposure to copper from multiple sources and, if necessary, reconsider the current “acceptable daily intake” of copper.

The EFSA is holding a public consultation on the draft so that other scientific experts, organizations with interest in the food chain, and members of the public can share their views on the Scientific Committee’s proposal. The public consultation is running from July 15 to September 15.

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