Recognised world experts in their respective areas gave a range of high quality talks across the following themes:
In the first session on Food Safety, Exposure and Risk Assessment theme, Bob Safford (Independent Consultant with 40 years experience in Unilever SEAC) talked about toxicology risk assessment and defining the safe dose for humans.
Cian O’Mahony from Creme then expanded on risk assessment describing dose response models focussing in particular on Microbial growth modelling software that Creme has been working on.
David Tennant introduced the upcoming ILSI GUIDEA initiative. The GUIDEA system will provide a valuable online resource for exposure assessment professionals with information and links to best practice methodologies and up-to-date data sources.
After a lively discussion around the posters and the Creme demo machines over coffee, the conference moved on to the Exposure, Food Safety and Regulation theme.
This session illustrated the extremely large data sets that regulators process and analyse in order to make the best possible decisions.
Fanny Heraud from EFSA showed the amount of data EFSA has to handle and process to carry out exposure assessments across Europe. EFSA runs their assessments for each country in Europe individually which takes very large scale data management and computing power.
Christina Tlustos from the FSAI showed some detailed analysis carried out for Ireland. The graphs were very impressive and answered the question we commonly hear “how many iterations should be run?” The answer that I have always used, since my time in Trinity College, is to run enough iterations so that the graphs of the statistic of interest are smooth. Christina illustrated this perfectly with the nice smooth graphs she presented.
Mike Bolger from the FDA gave the keynote speech which was one of the highlights of the conference. Mike demonstrated the level of detail and the high quality of science that the FDA requires before making any public announcement or decision. Mike explained how the FDA carries out detailed risk / benefit analyses of all issues before making any decision. For example, they have issued advisories for particular demographic groups (e.g. expectant mothers) regarding consumption of certain foods, rather than set an MRL limit which would potentially curtail the supply of healthy and beneficial foods for the population as a whole.
In the nutrition and health theme we had three excellent speakers: Mary Gilsenan from Leatherhead Food, Sandrine Pigat from Creme and Eileen Gibney from UCD.
Mary Gilsenan’s talk educated us on the complex area of health claims and novel foods. Mary discussed the legalities and the level of science and evidence that is now required to have health claims granted in the EU.
Sandrine Pigat emphasised the high costs of nutrition-related, non communicable diseases. For example, strokes in the Republic of Ireland alone are estimated to cost more than €1BN annually, and cardiovascular disease in the US is estimated to cost more than $444BN each year. This shows the significant economic impact of nutrition and health matters to economies and how improved policy decisions could have a significant beneficial effect. Sandrine went on to show how validated scientific models and data can be used to better understand the issues and demonstrated how the Creme Nutrition models on food reformulation, food replacement and portion size control scenarios can be used to get the data needed to make better policy decisions.
Eileen Gibney from UCD took us through the fascinating future applications of personalised nutrition and the impact that it can have on health. Eileen showed how personalised nutrition is most practically applied at the level of clusters of similar people rather than the individual level. Eileen also went on to show how studies have shown that targeted nutritional interventions that are targeted based on genetic information (such as “super-tasters”) can have a significant impact on the outcome of the effectiveness of diet plans.
The final session of the day was on Aggregate Exposure Assessment. First up was E.J. Daly from Creme who gave an excellent overview of the problems of combining distributions of exposure and the fact that summing percentiles does not give a clear picture of the exposure.
E.J. quoted the former CEO of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Dr. Richard Pike who said that “Merely adding arithmetically the proven reserves reported by each of the oil-rich countries of the world significantly underestimates the true figure. These data, instead need to be added probabilistically rather than arithmetically, with the result that the true reserves for the world may be nearly twice the conventional figure”.
Because of the uncertainty around how much oil will be recoverable, reserves are calculated with a certain probability. A reserve estimate is given with for instance the ‘P90’ which means that there is a 90% chance that there is at least as much recoverable oil as the reserve estimate claims. The analogy was then made to reporting of P90’s of population exposure from individual products, which cannot be easily combined to find the P90 of exposure from all products for the population (aggregate exposure).
E.J. went on to explain how the P90 aggregate exposure for the population can be calculated by combining exposures at the subject level, taking all relevant habits and practice data, probabilities and correlations into account in a robust model.
Sarah Tozer from P&G continued the aggregate exposure theme. Sarah outlined the need to address aggregate exposure and discussed the efforts being invested in this area including collaborations that are in place to develop a consistent, industry-wide approach.
Sarah outlined two aggregate exposure projects:
Both projects have used the aggregate exposure methods and models developed by Creme and explained by E.J. in the previous talk.
The conference then closed and was followed by an enjoyable evening in the Unicorn restaurant followed by drinks in O’Donoghue’s pub.
To read about day 2 of the conference, the demonstration day, see Creme Exposure, Food Safety and Nutrition Conference – Day 2 – Demonstration Day.
For more pictures from the conference click here.