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International peer review of our dietary modelling practices

(May 2014)
 
In 2006‒07 we reviewed our dietary exposure assessment principles, modelling procedures and supporting systems to ensure we continue to produce robust dietary exposure assessments, using international best practice approaches. The review was initiated under the FSANZ Science Strategy for 2006‒2009, which aimed to enhance our scientific capabilities. In agreeing to the strategy, the FSANZ Board also agreed to four key priorities for maintaining and further enhancing scientific capability in 2006‒2007. This included commissioning an external review of FSANZ’s scientific capability and performance, focusing initially on FSANZ’s dietary exposure assessment capability.
 
Consequently, in 2006 FSANZ engaged international expert, Dr Mike DiNovi (United States Food and Drug Administration), to undertake a review of FSANZ’s dietary exposure assessment principles, procedures and supporting systems to ensure that FSANZ is currently and continues to produce robust dietary exposure assessments. While FSANZ has informally benchmarked its dietary exposure assessments against international developments in the past, this was the first time that the overall approach and supporting systems were formally reviewed. The review did not cover dietary exposure assessments of microbiological hazards.

Aims of the review

The aims of the dietary exposure assessment review were to:
  • determine the enhancements needed for FSANZ’s dietary exposure assessment capabilities to remain at the forefront of international best practice and adequately support the risk assessment and risk analysis process within the context of resource constraints and the Australia/New Zealand regulatory environment
  • assess the underpinning scientific approach to conducting dietary exposure assessments at FSANZ
  • evaluate dietary exposure assessment reports and other information provided to stakeholders about FSANZ dietary exposure assessment procedures and determine what type and level of documentation is required in the future
  • assess the IT environment needed in the future to fully support the FSANZ’s custom built computer program and other databases used in dietary exposure assessments. 

Key findings and recommendations

The review conclusions were, overall, very positive about FSANZ’s dietary modelling capability and practices, finding them consistent with international best practice. The review also included some recommendations to further enhance our practices and to ensure FSANZ continues to produce high quality, fit for purpose dietary exposure assessments.
 
 
Where possible, FSANZ has implemented the recommendations from the international peer reviewer, including providing a range of updated documents and web information about our dietary exposure assessments, and running a number of workshops during 2006‒2008 to help stakeholders understand more about our dietary modelling process, data sets, methodologies and outputs.

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