Compilation of processing factors and evaluation of quality controlled data of food processing studies
Often, agricultural commodities are not eaten raw but undergo processing operations prior to human consumption. These may significantly affect the residue levels of pesticides contained therein and/or thereon. Due to the physico-chemical properties of the residue, its concentration may decrease or increase in processed fractions compared to the initial concentration in the raw agricultural commodity (RAC). The resulting ratio between processed fraction and RAC is denoted as processing factor (Pf). Information obtained from processing studies may serve for 2 different purposes: to decide on compliance of residues in processed products with legal standards for the RAC, and to refine dietary exposure estimation of humans and livestock with respect to residues in processed products. The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) extracted and compiled the results of several processing studies, the full reports of which had been made available to BfR in the framework of applications either for pesticide authorisation, for the setting of maximum residue levels (MRL), or within the EU active substances approval programme. Each Pf derived from processing studies was reviewed against transparent quality criteria and statements have been made regarding the robustness and reliability of the study results. Compared to the former version, the revised BfR database includes a more extended, more detailed and more trustworthy compilation of more than 6500 processing factors accompanied by relevant information on key parameters of the underlying processing studies.