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EU’s EFSA rules on pyrrolizidine alkaloids

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has recently published a report citing possible human health concerns related to the presence of pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) in honey, tea, herbal infusions and food supplements.

Appearing in 2017 in the EFSA Journal, the report updated prior research by the EFSA Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM Panel) on PAs in food, and found “a possible concern for human health related to the exposure to PAs, in particular for frequent and high consumers of tea and herbal infusions.” Further, the study noted that consumption of food supplements based on PA-producing plants “could result in exposure levels causing acute/short-term toxicity.”

According to the online blog Foodlaw-Reading, the publication of this research has reportedly led the Commission of the European Union (EU) to propose the undertaking of risk management actions to reduce possible risks to consumers, as well as to discussions about possible additional regulatory measures to reduce the risk, including setting maximum PA levels for various categories of food.

The text of the report on PAs in honey, tea, herbal infusions and food supplements is available here.

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