The Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) is an independent scientific advisory committee which conducts risk assessment of chemicals, including those in food. Its aim is to form an objective view on the available evidence in a way that recognises both uncertainties and assumptions and considers the possible variation in interpretation of scientists working from different standpoints.
Related international committees dealing with chemicals in food are those of the European Food Safety Authority and of the World Health Organisation (see below for links).
The risk assessment process is defined as consisting of four linking steps. These are:
- hazard identification
- hazard characterisation
- exposure assessment
- risk characterisation
Risk is determined by both the hazard and the exposure. If there is no exposure, then there will be no risk. The higher the exposure, the more likely it becomes that there will be a risk.