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Identification and prioritisation of risks to food safety and quality associated with the use of recycled waste-derived materials in agriculture and other aspects of food production


<p>The aim of this project was to allow the FSA to identify the key risks (if any) to consumer safety from recycled waste and waste-derived materials and to enable future research projects to be targeted to investigate specific issues of concern to fill any data gaps. The specific objectives were as follows. Identify the waste and waste-derived materials that are or could be associated with food production, whether in the UK or from food produced outside the UK and imported. Identify potentially hazardous agents within these materials, and routes through which food could be exposed to them. Rank the waste and waste-derived materials using qualitative methods (and for a selected subset using a semi-quantitative risk assessment technique), all underpinned by data from published literature and outputs from a stakeholder workshop. Produce a report that prioritises the waste and waste-derived materials and recycling routes that require further investigation, highlighting significant data/knowledge gaps and detailing how these could be addressed in subsequent studies. For each material and recycling mode combination, a literature review was conducted, which informed a qualitative risk assessment using experts’ opinions. The qualitative risk assessment included the following. The number of different categories of potentially hazardous agents (microbiological, chemical, physical, radiological, nanoparticles, and anti-microbial resistance) that a material may contain and whether these are present at concentrations judged to be capable of causing harm in the human food chain. The number and effectiveness of the modifiers that may be present along an exposure pathway. These act to prevent the potentially hazardous agent(s) from entering the human food chain (e.g. dilution, washing), or conversely lead to accumulation or multiplication of potentially hazardous agents (e.g. growth of microbes). The degree of uncertainty regarding the potentially hazardous agents and exposure pathway due to deficiencies in the evidence base. Different practices that occur within the UK, other EU countries, and non-EU countries were considered separately. Materials and practises that have recently been evaluated were not re-evaluated. Where multiple scenarios could be included within a term, the highest plausible hazard scenario was selected.</p>