EFSA’s Scientific Committee promotes alternatives to animal testing

EFSA’s Scientific Committee promotes alternatives to animal testing


EFSA’s Scientific Committee has underlined the importance of risk assessment approaches in the area of food and feed safety which not only minimise the use of experimental animals and their
suffering but also lead towards the replacement of animal testing. The published opinion reviews the state-of-the-art concerning the use of experimental animals in different areas of EFSA’s
risk assessment activities, and outlines strategies which can reduce the number of animal studies needed.

The opinion stresses that animal testing should be conducted in line with guidelines endorsed by the European Commission, EU agencies or other international bodies such as the OECD. It also
recommends a dialogue between EFSA and the European Commission on the best ways to address the inclusion of new, validated testing methods in existing guidelines based on the replacement,
reduction and refinement of animal testing. Furthermore, it stresses the importance of good communication in this area between the different agencies dealing with chemical risk assessment.

“This opinion is a thorough review of the guiding principles on the use of animals for experimental purposes. It summarises possibilities for replacement, reduction and refinement of animal
testing within the different areas of EFSA’s activities. We hope it will help EFSA in further developing a proactive approach to animal welfare in its risk assessment activities based on sound
scientific principles,” said Professor Vittorio Silano, Chair of EFSA’s Scientific Committee.

Most of the risk assessments conducted by EFSA require experimental data. It is currently not possible to obtain all the necessary data and information required to ensure a high level of
consumer protection without some use of animal experiments.

This opinion lists the type of internationally-recognised alternative methods to animal testing which are available for different types of studies used in risk assessment – e.g. acute toxicity,
skin irritation and eye irritation testing – and says that these should be used in line with existing Community legislation[1] . For areas where alternative methods cannot provide all of the
necessary information, such as reproductive and developmental toxicity, the opinion describes integrated testing and risk assessment strategies which can help to reduce the need for animal
experiments.

The opinion also proposes ways to better implement animal welfare practices within EFSA’s work. The Scientific Committee notes that, in line with existing EU legislation, applicants submitting
dossiers to EFSA should use accepted alternative methods to animal testing whenever possible. Moreover, the opinion emphasises the importance of fully reflecting the use of such methods in any
guidelines for applicants developed by EFSA. The Scientific Committee also recommends that, when carrying out risk assessments, all existing data should be reviewed before any additional animal
studies are requested.

This opinion is in line with EFSA’s commitment to continuing to improve animal welfare when conducting risk assessments. The Scientific Committee recommended that EFSA should follow up on this
opinion with a review of progress in the field of alternatives to animal testing in three years’ time.

EFSA’s Scientific Committee has underlined the importance of risk assessment approaches in the area of food and feed safety which not only minimise the use of experimental animals and their
suffering but also lead towards the replacement of animal testing. The published opinion reviews the state-of-the-art concerning the use of experimental animals in different areas of EFSA’s
risk assessment activities, and outlines strategies which can reduce the number of animal studies needed.

The opinion stresses that animal testing should be conducted in line with guidelines endorsed by the European Commission, EU agencies or other international bodies such as the OECD. It also
recommends a dialogue between EFSA and the European Commission on the best ways to address the inclusion of new, validated testing methods in existing guidelines based on the replacement,
reduction and refinement of animal testing. Furthermore, it stresses the importance of good communication in this area between the different agencies dealing with chemical risk assessment.

“This opinion is a thorough review of the guiding principles on the use of animals for experimental purposes. It summarises possibilities for replacement, reduction and refinement of animal
testing within the different areas of EFSA’s activities. We hope it will help EFSA in further developing a proactive approach to animal welfare in its risk assessment activities based on sound
scientific principles,” said Professor Vittorio Silano, Chair of EFSA’s Scientific Committee.

Most of the risk assessments conducted by EFSA require experimental data. It is currently not possible to obtain all the necessary data and information required to ensure a high level of
consumer protection without some use of animal experiments.

This opinion lists the type of internationally-recognised alternative methods to animal testing which are available for different types of studies used in risk assessment – e.g. acute toxicity,
skin irritation and eye irritation testing – and says that these should be used in line with existing Community legislation[1] . For areas where alternative methods cannot provide all of the
necessary information, such as reproductive and developmental toxicity, the opinion describes integrated testing and risk assessment strategies which can help to reduce the need for animal
experiments.

The opinion also proposes ways to better implement animal welfare practices within EFSA’s work. The Scientific Committee notes that, in line with existing EU legislation, applicants submitting
dossiers to EFSA should use accepted alternative methods to animal testing whenever possible. Moreover, the opinion emphasises the importance of fully reflecting the use of such methods in any
guidelines for applicants developed by EFSA. The Scientific Committee also recommends that, when carrying out risk assessments, all existing data should be reviewed before any additional animal
studies are requested.

This opinion is in line with EFSA’s commitment to continuing to improve animal welfare when conducting risk assessments. The Scientific Committee recommended that EFSA should follow up on this
opinion with a review of progress in the field of alternatives to animal testing in three years’ time.

Leggi Anche
Scrivi un commento