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Pilot Nutrivigilance System for Adverse Toxicological Events

Friday, 15 January 2021

Pilot nutrivigilance system for adverse toxicological events to help protect consumers' health.

What: A nutrivigilance system is a reporting system for adverse toxicological events that provides early signals of risk if foods or food supplements are causing harm in the community. Nutrivigilance systematically gathers food trends and risks, so that early action can be taken to help protect consumers’ health.

Why: There are documented cases of adverse toxicological events that have occurred in recent years in Ireland that were reported to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) and the National Poisons Information Centre (NPIC) concerning wild mushroom poisoning, apricot kernel poisoning and the presence of illegal steroids in sports supplements. However, while there are some systems in place in Ireland where the general public can report a suspected adverse toxicological effect from food or food supplements, there is no nutrivigilance system to connect information from a range of health professionals (e.g. GP, dietitians, practice nurses, public health nurses) and the information provided by the general public. A nutrivigilance system will create this connection, and this will allow for earlier reporting and enable risk assessments to protect public health. The desired aim of nutrivigilance is to create and maintain a system to encourage and capture reports of adverse toxicological effects of food and food supplements from health professionals and the general public.

Where: Nutrivigilance already exists in European countries and the concept is proven, however it has not been set up in Ireland yet.

How: A pilot project is underway at present at the NPIC at Beaumont Hospital to establish a framework for nutrivigilance in Ireland. It is developing how a reporting system could work and is identifying the stakeholders, partnerships and networks.

When: The pilot started in November 2020 and will continue until April 2021.

For further information or to discuss opportunities for nutrivigilance, please contact