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Fitzgerald M.,Health Service Executive Health Protection Surveillance Center | Fitzgerald M.,U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention | Thornton L.,Health Service Executive Health Protection Surveillance Center | O'Gorman J.,University College Dublin | And 30 more authors.

In May 2013, a European alert was issued regarding a hepatitis A virus (HAV) outbreak in Italy. In June 2013, HAV subgenotype IA with an identical sequence was identified in Ireland in three cases who had not travelled to Italy. The investigation consisted of descriptive epidemiology, a case-control study, microbiological testing of human and food specimens, molecular typing of positive specimens and food traceback. We identified 21 outbreak cases (14 confirmed primary cases) with symptom onset between 31 January and 11 October 2013. For the case-control study, we recruited 11 confirmed primary cases and 42 matched controls. Cases were more likely than controls to have eaten berry cheesecake (matched odds ratio (mOR): 12; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.3-114), whole frozen berries (mOR: 9.5; 95% CI: 1.0-89), yoghurt containing fro- zen berries (mOR: 6.6, 95% CI: 1.2-37) or raw celery (mOR: 4; 95% CI: 1.2-16). Among cases, 91% had consumed at least one of four products containing frozen berries (mOR: 12; 95% CI: 1.5-94). Sixteen food samples tested were all negative for HAV. As products containing frozen berries were implicated in the outbreak, the public were advised to heat-treat frozen berries before consumption. © 2014, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). All rights reserved. Source

Mertena C.,European Food Safety Authority EFSA | Ferrari P.,European Food Safety Authority EFSA | Bakker M.,Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu RIVM | Boss A.,Food Standards Agency FSA | And 7 more authors.
Food Additives and Contaminants - Part A Chemistry, Analysis, Control, Exposure and Risk Assessment

In 2009 competent organisations in the European Union provided the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) with data from the most recent national dietary survey at the level of individuals' consumption. Twenty different Member States provided EFSA with data from 22 different national dietary surveys, with consumption figures for adults and, when available, for children. Member States' dietary data were assembled into the EFSA Comprehensive European Food Consumption Database. In this paper an overview of the methodologies and protocols employed in the different national dietary surveys is provided. Specifically, details about dietary assessment methods, interview administration, sampling design, portion size estimation, dietary software, evaluation of under-reporting and non-dietary information collected are described. This information is crucial to evaluate the level of accuracy of food consumption data and to anticipate and acknowledge the utmost important sources of heterogeneity of national databases included in the Comprehensive Database. The Comprehensive Database constitutes a unique resource for the estimation of consumption figures across the European Union and represents a useful tool to assess dietary exposure to hazardous substances and nutrient intake in Europe. Nevertheless, the many substantial methodological differences that characterise the Comprehensive Database are acknowledged and critically discussed. © 2011 Taylor & Francis. Source

Trudel D.,ETH Zurich | Tlustos C.,Food Safety Authority of Ireland FSAI | von Goetz N.,ETH Zurich | Scheringer M.,ETH Zurich | And 2 more authors.
Food Additives and Contaminants - Part A Chemistry, Analysis, Control, Exposure and Risk Assessment

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are brominated flame retardants used to retard the ignition and/or spread of fire. PBDEs are used in various consumer products, such as textiles, mattresses and TV screens. This study presents a chemical risk assessment for the Irish population based on exposure to PBDEs from food. Special regard is given to the influence of parameter uncertainty and variability on the margins of safety. To quantitatively model uncertainty and variability in concentration data and variability in consumer behavior, a hierarchical probabilistic model was constructed. This model was evaluated using a two-dimensional Monte Carlo simulation (2D-MCS) approach. By considering uncertainty and variability in concentration data, margins of safety (MOS) were derived that are lower by a factor of ~2 compared to MOS based on dose estimates that only consider variability. The lowest MOS is 7.5×10 4 for BDE-99, with impaired spermatogenesis as toxic endpoint. Assuming an MOS of 10 4 as acceptable, we conclude that there is no significant risk for human health through intake of contaminated food. To investigate whether additional measurements could improve the quality of dose estimates, the statistic "uncertainty-to-variability (UVR)" was developed. By applying the UVR to our dose estimates, we show that, in our case, the datasets contain little uncertainty and additional measurements would not significantly improve the quality of dose estimates. © 2011 Taylor & Francis. Source

Trudel D.,ETH Zurich | Tlustos C.,Food Safety Authority of Ireland FSAI | Von Goetz N.,ETH Zurich | Scheringer M.,ETH Zurich | Hungerbuhler K.,ETH Zurich
Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are a class of brominated flame retardants added to plastics, polyurethane foam, electronics, textiles, and other products. These products release PBDEs into the indoor and outdoor environment, thus causing human exposure through food and dust. This study models PBDE dose distributions from ingestion of food for Irish adults on congener basis by using two probabilistic and one semi-deterministic method. One of the probabilistic methods was newly developed and is based on summary statistics of food consumption combined with a model generating realistic daily energy supply from food. Median (intermediate) doses of total PBDEs are in the range of 0.4-0.6 ng/kg bw /day for Irish adults. The 97.5th percentiles of total PBDE doses lie in a range of 1.7-2.2 ng/kg bw /day, which is comparable to doses derived for Belgian and Dutch adults. BDE-47 and BDE-99 were identified as the congeners contributing most to estimated intakes, accounting for more than half of the total doses. The most influential food groups contributing to this intake are lean fish and salmon which together account for about 22-25% of the total doses. © 2011 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved. Source

Vennemann F.B.C.,Evidence Management Unit | Ioannidou S.,Evidence Management Unit | Valsta L.M.,Evidence Management Unit | Dumas C.,Nutrition Unit | And 10 more authors.
British Journal of Nutrition

Choline is an important nutrient for humans. Choline intake of the European population was assessed considering the European Food Safety Authority European Comprehensive Food Consumption Database and the United States Department of Agriculture Nutrient Database. Average choline intake ranges were 151-210 mg/d among toddlers (1 to ≤3 years old), 177-304 mg/d among other children (3 to ≤10 years old), 244-373 mg/d among adolescents (10 to ≤18 years old), 291-468 mg/d among adults (18 to ≤65 years old), 284-450 mg/d among elderly people (65 to ≤75 years old) and 269-444 mg/d among very elderly people (≥75 years old). The intakes were higher among males compared with females, mainly due to larger quantities of food consumed per day. In most of the population groups considered, the average choline intake was below the adequate intake (AI) set by the Institute of Medicine in the USA. The main food groups contributing to choline intake were meat, milk, grain, egg and their derived products, composite dishes and fish. The main limitations of this study are related to the absence of choline composition data of foods consumed by the European population and the subsequent assumption made to assess their intake levels. Given the definition of AI, no conclusion on the adequacy of choline intake can be drawn for most European population groups. Such results improve the knowledge on choline intake in Europe that could be further refined by the collection of choline composition data for foods as consumed in Europe. © Copyright The Authors 2015. Source

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