Environmental Health in Israel | 2014

Maximum levels of contaminants in food are determined in accordance with the “as low as reasonably achievable” (ALARA) principle and the risk assessments conducted by the Risk Management Unit of the National Food Service at the Ministry of Health (MoH). The main parameters for determining maximum levels of contaminants are risk assessments and recommendations and regulations from international organizations such as theWorld Health Organization (WHO) (the Codex Alimentarious Commission), the European Union, and the US Food and Drug Administration. The MoH conducts supervision and enforcement in accordance with its authority, including destroying food that is deemed dangerous for consumption. Regulations from 1977 restrict use of potentially hazardous materials in food containers and include specific restrictions regarding the use of polyvinyl chloride in food containers. Regulations from 2004 passed by the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MoEP) establish maximum bacterial levels and heavy metal content of sludge, including sludge applied to agricultural land where produce for human consumption is grown. Regulations from 2010 (passed by the MoH and the MoEP) establish maximum bacterial levels and heavy metal content of treated wastewater used for agricultural irrigation. Data on Chemical Food Contaminants The MoH routinely samples imported food products at quarantine stations. Products that are more sensitive to food contaminants or in which excess levels of contaminants have been found in the past are inspected more frequently than products that are less sensitive to these pollutants. In addition, ongoing monitoring of mycotoxins is conducted in the framework of an annual sampling program. Testing for other food pollutants is conducted in periodic surveys, based on risk evaluation. If the survey shows an excess level of contaminants, sampling is expanded as needed. The Veterinary Services at the Ministry of Agriculture (MoAg) conduct annual surveys of animal products according to regulations from 2000. A professional steering committee coordinated jointly by the MoH and the MoAg determines the structure of the surveys. The summaries of the findings from the various surveys are available to the public on each ministry's website. In 2013, the MoH in conjunction with the MoAg conducted a follow-up survey on the presence of dioxins, furans, and PCB-like dioxins in food. One hundred and ten samples of animal products and ten samples of animal feed were tested. Low or very low levels of the substances (up to one picogram per gram of fat) were detected in 87% of the samples. The average level of dioxins found relative to the maximum permitted level was 16.3% in milk and milk products, 3.4% in fish, 11.8% in meat and in beef fat, 6.4% in beef liver, 33.1% in chicken liver, and 72% in eggs. Overall dietary exposure was calculated at 56.2% of the tolerable intake as established by the WHO (120 pg/day for 60 kg adult). Compared to the previous survey results from 2008, there was a significant decrease in the level of exposure to dioxins, furans, and PCB-like dioxins from food Environmental Health in Israel 2014  Chapter 6 - 48 -

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