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Update on the work of other advisory committees - September 2022

TOX/2022/52

Last updated: 02 September 2022

Paper for Information. 

Secretariat

July 2022

Scientific Advisory Committees (SAC) Summary of recent activities

This document summarises the recent activity of the FSA’s Scientific Advisory Committees (SACs).  We highlight topics discussed at the most recent meeting and agenda items for the next meeting.

Science Council

Updated: 11 August 2022.
Last open meeting: 23 June 2022.

  • The Chair presented a summary of her activity over the last 6 months.
  • The CSA updated the Council on his recent activity and discussions (publication of the first FSA annual review of food standards “Our Food”, modelling FSA staff headcount reduction for Cabinet Office, the Precision Breeding Bill and alternative proteins).
  • An update on progress of Working Group 6 on Food Safety and Net Zero Carbon (including the interim report and an HMG workshop).
  • Updates from Science Council members attending Scientific Advisory Committees (SACs) and a brief on the tailored SAC review for Cabinet Office.

Next open meeting: 8 December 2022.

Chair Professor Sandy Thomas

Contact for Science Council Secretariat

Link to Science Council Website

Advisory Committee for Social Science (ACSS)

Updated: August 2022.

Last meeting: 20th July 2022 (9th plenary, open session).

Key agenda items 

  • FSA updated on recruitment and the SAC review.
  • Professor Susan Michie announced that she is stepping down as ACSS Chair. Following the recent recruitment process, the current Deputy Chair, Julie Hill, will take over the role of Chair from October 2022. 
  •  Head of FSA Strategy Development explained the FSA’s focus on household food insecurity, with FSA head of Social Science outlining the future work plan in this area and facilitating a discussion amongst the ACSS members.

Minutes and papers are not yet available on the website.

Updates on working group activity

  • A proposal for an economics working group was discussed.  

  • Update from Prof. Sandy Thomas on working group outputs from the Science Council, and recruitment.  

  • Strategy team presented the emerging FSA strategy and the ACSS secretariat reported an initial assessment of how well ACSS expertise, and the FSA social science research plan, address key strategy topics.

Minutes and papers are available on the website.   

Working group highlights:

  • The Assurance working group are supporting the development of a ‘good science’ quality assurance toolkit to support the production of high-quality research. The group have also taken part in the first ‘Social Science Gateway Session’.

  • The Kitchen Life 2 working group continues to support the research project Kitchen Life 2.

  • The Climate Change and Consumer Behaviour working group had a recent publication around the impact of climate change on consumer food behaviours. The group has paused until new members are in position.

  • The Wider Consumer Interests working group continues to support this new ARI and focus on Household Food Insecurity.

  • The Economics working group have agreed their Terms of References and reviewed the economic work plan for the next financial year.

The next open meeting of the ACSS will be 2nd February 2023.

Chair: Professor Susan Michie
Contact: for ACSS Secretariat acss@food.gov.uk

Link: to ACSS Website 

Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP)

Updated: June 2022.

Last meeting: 8th June 2022.

  • Tetradenia riparia (Iboza), a traditional food from a third country was reviewed for the first time. Several aspects of the food and its production were highlighted as having insufficient information to complete an assessment. These will be highlighted to risk managers for consideration on whether reasoned safety objections should be raised triggering further review.
  • 2 dossiers from the same applicant; Lacto-N-fucopentaose I (LNFP-I) and 2'-fucosyllactose (2' FL) mixture (LNFP-I/2'-FL) and 3-Fucosyllactose were reviewed for the first time, with the first requiring a request for more info and the latter progressing to an opinion draft.
  • The Mung Bean protein dossier returned for further assessment with a request for further information regarding outstanding issues on allergenicity being advised once again.
  • Two previous protein applications; Barley Rice and Mung bean were reviewed once again. A request for opinions to be drafted for both was advised. The Committee subsequently evaluated the approach to opinions for Novel Foods seeing that these 2 opinions will the first of opinions to be drafted since the UK’s departure from the EU.
  • The application for Calcidiol was evaluated for the third time with data not sufficient to progress the application. Further information requested.
  • The annual report for 2021 was also discussed with conclusion that re-evaluation was needed in how data is presented so as to capture the full extent of work covered with the commencement of assessing full applications again.
  • The Science Council reported on areas identified that would be relevant to the ACNFP and their future assessment work on Food Safety and Net Zero Carbon.
  • Under AOB, an agreement was sought to formally appoint the Chair for the GM/GE sub-group. Dr Andy Greenfield who was put forward by the Secretariat and members of the ACNFP asked for comments or objections; none were raised, and he was subsequently welcomed as the Chair of the GM/GE subgroup.

Next meeting: 7th September 2022.

Chair: Dr Camilla Alexander-White

Contact for ACNFP Secretariat: acnfp@food.gov.uk
Link: to ACNFP Website:

Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF)

Updated: 19th August 2022.
The Committee’s last meeting was on the 23rd of June 2022, which was a horizon scanning workshop.
The questions the Committee considered were:
How are the following issues likely to affect the burden of foodborne disease in the UK over the next 10-20 years, in terms of existing and new hazards and likelihood of exposure, including AMR?

What are the key evidence gaps?

  • Challenges associated with disruption to food supply chains: Potential examples to consider: disease outbreaks, climate and environmental change, geopolitical issues including EU Exit, shortages of materials or resources.
  • Changes in methods of food production and new food technologies: Potential examples to consider: new food packaging, sustainable food practices, food reformulation trends. 
  • Changes in consumer behaviour and preferences: Potential examples to consider: food poverty and inequality, changes in food storage/preparation practices, changes in consumer diets influenced by health or sustainability issue.
  • Challenges associated with changes in the sizes of vulnerable groups: Potential examples to consider: ageing population.
  • Anything else?: What are other important issues or challenges that the Committee may face in the next 10-20 years?

An output paper has been produced, which will be discussed by the Committee at the next plenary meeting.
Next meeting: 20th October 2022.

Chair: Professor Bill Keevil
Contact: for ACMSF Secretariat acmsf@food.gov.uk
Link: to ACMSF Website

Advisory Committee on Animal Feeding stuffs (ACAF)

Updated: -
Last meeting: 27th June 2019.

Chair: -
Contact: for ACAF Secretariat: acaf@food.gov.uk
Link: to ACAF Website:

Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT)

Updated: September 2022.
Last meeting: 12th July 2022.
Topics discussed included: 

At their July meeting the Committee discussed items including the potential risk to human health of turmeric and curcumin supplements, the potential risks from ergot alkaloids in the maternal diet, the use of ocean bound plastic in food packaging, how the Scientific Advisory Committees evaluate the relevance and reliability of data when assessing a chemical of concern and the risks from potential organophosphate exposure in aircraft cabin air.

The Committee continued to work on draft statements considering the bioavailability of nicotine from the use of oral nicotine pouches and an assessment of the potential toxicological risk to users, and the safety of ginger supplement use in pregnancy. The Committee also commented on the proposed revisions to the Health Based Guidance Values for copper which have been published for consultation by EFSA.
Next meeting: 6th September 2022.

Chair: Professor Alan Boobis
Contact: for COT Secretariat: cot@food.gov.uk
Link: to COT Website

Committee on Carcinogenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COC)

Updated: April 2022.
Last meeting: 2nd March 2022
Topics on the agenda included:

  • Hydroxyanthracene derivatives in supplements.
  • Horizon scanning.
  • Annual report.
  • Update to guidance statements including biomarkers, interpretation of cancer risk characterisation and alternative approaches.

Next meeting: 21st July 2022.

Further meetings: 17th November 2022.

Chair: Professor David Harrison
Contact: for COC Secretariat COC@phe.gov.uk
Link: to COC Website

The Committee on Mutagenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COM)

Updated: April 2022.

Last meeting: 1st March 2022.
Topics discussed included:

  • Review of EFSA opinion on titanium dioxide.
  • Hydroxyanthracene derivatives in supplements.
  • Horizon scanning.
  • BPA
  • Smoke flavourings.
  • Draft COC guidance statement “The Use of Biomarkers in Carcinogenic Risk Assessment.
  • Draft COC, COM and COT document “How do the Committees evaluate the relevance and reliability of data when assessing a chemical of concern?”

Next meeting: 9th June 2022.

Further meetings: 13th October 2022.

Chair: Prof Gareth Jenkins
Contact: for COM Secretariat COM@phe.gov.uk
Link: to COM Website

Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN)

Updated: March 2022. 
Last meeting: 10th November 2021.
Topics discussed included:

  • Feeding children aged 1-5.
  • Nutrition and COVID.

Next meeting: Friday 17th June 2022.
Further meetings: Friday 11th Nov 2022.

Chair: Professor Ian Young
Contact: SACN Secretariat SACN@phe.gov.uk

Link: to SACWebsite