Summer School 2015

Summer School: Introduction to Total Diet Studies for Assessing Exposure

Sunday 5th July – Friday 10th July 2015, EVIRA, Finland (see Section 1.7 for further details of location)

Total diet studies complement traditional monitoring and surveillance providing a scientific basis for population dietary exposure to contaminants and nutrients and the potential impact on public health. Food selection is based on (national) consumption data, prepared as eaten, and data from related foods pooled prior to analysis. TDS-Exposure is focussing on exposure to food contaminants including heavy metals, mycotoxins and persistent organic pollutants (POPs, e.g. polychlorinated biphenyls), which pose a risk to human health and the environment, and estimation of chronic exposure to pesticide residues in food as well as food additives intake. However, exposure is based on whole diets, as consumed, rather than contamination of raw commodities as previously measured, resulting in a more realistic measure of exposure to potentially harmful compounds than currently available.

TDS facilitate risk assessment and health monitoring, but some EU Member States and Candidate Countries do not have TDS programmes or use a variety of methods to collect data, and it is not clear whether data are comparable. It is important to harmonise methods for dietary exposure risks worldwide, and TDS-Exposure will standardise methods for food sampling, analyses, exposure assessment calculations and modelling, priority foods, and selection of chemical contaminants. In the process, a variety of approaches and methods for sampling and analyses will be assessed, and best practice defined. Priority contaminants for TDS and foods that contribute most to total exposure in Europe will also be established.

Information about these and existing European TDS will be published to promote better handling of dietary exposure data, and establish a legacy of harmonised methods and science-based recommendations for public health worldwide. In addition, TDS-Exposure is providing training, enabling best practice in the creation and execution of TDS programmes, and ensuring data collected are coherent with others studies globally. This TDS-Exposure Summer School is the second of three introducing key aspects of TDS and contaminant analysis.

– Application form (WORD – 500 KB) (TDS-Exposure Beneficiaries log in and CLICK HERE)
   (Deadline Friday 1st May 2015 midnight, Announcement of places Friday 8th May 2015)

– Guidance notes for applications (PDF – 1.1 MB)

– Programme (w.e.f. 20/05/2015) (PDF – 429 KB)

1. Programme description

The programme consists of five elements: (1) basic foundations of total diet studies, (2) design and planning, (3) sample preparation and analysis, (4) exposure assessment and publication, and (5) quality management, each including aspects of theoretical and practical learning. Basic foundations of total diet studies will introduce TDS and planning as well as application of food consumption data in dietary assessment of contaminants; Design and planning will explain development of a food list, criteria for selecting chemical substances and populations of interest, sampling plans and collection of foods for TDS; Sample preparation and analysis will look at the culinary preparation of foods (as eaten) and a range of analytical issues, and how food databases are created and managed, and food information coded accurately; Exposure assessment and publication will explore data management using FoodCASE-Risk, exposure and risk assessment using MCRA, and how data should be processed and used appropriately; and Quality management will examine quality control approaches and documentation standards.

1.2. Educational objectives

The objectives of this Summer School are to introduce total diet studies, generally, and dietary exposure to contaminants, specifically:

  • Explore the scientific and technical knowledge underpinning total diet studies for exposure assessment
  • Provide insight into methods and approaches, and the quality of data
  • Enable students to apply this knowledge in their expert field (e.g. public health, food technology, research)

1.3. Expected learning outcomes

a. Knowledgeaccount for the design and planning for total diet studies as well as their use in monitoring and surveillance in human health, particularly in respect of dietary contaminants. Describe food sampling, preparation and analysis, data collection and quality control, and identification and selection of relevant chemical substances and populations of interest. Explain the differences between data management and quality control options, and the principles underpinning each. Describe how research and healthcare messages should be formulated based on information from these studies, and maintain knowledge and access appropriate resources.

b. Skills: apply knowledge to carry out independent assessment of food and application of information from TDS/ TDS-Exposure as relevant to their field of expertise. Identify key aspects of TDS-Exposure research, comment on the potential and limitations, especially in exposure analysis. Understand the requirements for selecting foods, populations of interest and chemical contaminants. Use relevant IT-based tools to input and retrieve total diet study and exposure information, document and ensure data quality, and apply outcomes appropriately.

c. Competences: critically evaluate total diet studies information, particularly in reference to exposure to contaminants in specific populations. Demonstrate independent thinking in the application of information from total diet studies including exposure and national consumption patterns, and formulate healthcare messages based on these data. Participate effectively and with confidence in peer-group discussions developing/ applying information from total diet studies. Act autonomously in the creation, management and use of information from total diet studies including exposure assessment, and demonstrate skills relevant for future employment. Use lifelong learning skills for evaluation and critical thinking, and take responsibility for continuing professional development.

1.4. Career outcomes

The modules provide knowledge, skills and competence supporting an independent, professional role within international diet and health research, food manufacturing or aspects of healthcare.

1.5. Programme faculty and their credentials

  • Gerald Moy (WHO, retired)
  • Véronique Sirot (ANSES, FR)
  • Siân Astley (EuroFIR AISBL, BE)
  • Aida Turrini (CRA-Nut, IT)
  • Davide Arcella (EFSA, IT)
  • Oliver Lindtner (BfR, DE)
  • Marcela Dofkova (SZU, CZ)
  • Martin Rose (FERA, UK)
  • Stefan Voorspoels (VITO, BE)
  • Jayne Ireland (DFI, DK)
  • Karl Presser (ETHZ, CH)
  • Isabel Castanheira (INSA, PT)
  • Jacob van Klaveren (RIVM, NL)

CLICK HERE for further information

1.6. Contact information

Siân Astley, EuroFIR AISBL, 40 Rue Washington, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
Telephone: +44 (0)754 869 8343, email:

Tanja Nurmi, EVIRA, Tel. + 358 40 489 3415, email

1.7 Location

Best Western Hotel Rantapuisto, Ramsinniementie 16, 00980 Helsinki, Finland

CLICK HERE for further information

2. Admission requirements

a. Standard undergraduate entry requirements

Applicant should have at least a Bachelor of Science at Honours level (BSc Hons) or equivalent in food science or another science subject (e.g. dietetics, biology or chemistry or completed the non-clinical teaching for undergraduate medicine). Those with degrees in other science or engineering topics will be accepted provided they have A-level(s) or equivalent (Advanced Higher or International Baccalaureate) in biology, biochemistry or human biology.

b. English language proficiency

These modules will be taught in English and are highly interactive. To benefit from the learning, candidates should be conversant in English and able to understand the lectures, take part in discussions and follow supplementary information.

c. Eligibility

Applications are complete and received before the deadline, and applicants are able to cover accommodation and travel in addition to the 100 EUR fee, which is used to support costs related to handouts, meals and refreshments only. NuGO, MoniQA, HealthGrain Forum and EuroFIR members will receive a 50% discount on these fees only (50 EUR).

3. Programme overview

a. List of modules

  • Introduction to TDS studies
  • Criteria for selection of chemical substances and population targets
  • Planning of TDS
  • Food consumption databases and use in dietary assessments of contaminants
  • Developing a food list including food classification systems
  • Sampling plan
  • Food collection for TDS
  • Sample preparation and culinary operations
  • Analytical Issues
  • Langual and FoodEx2 including practical exercise
  • Data management: FoodCASE-Risk
  • Exposure and risk assessment: MCRA including practical exercise
  • Uses of TDS information
  • Quality management systems

b. Programme schedule:

CLICK HERE for more information


c. Description of exercises:

Criteria for selection of chemical substances and population targets
(Monday, 6th July 2015, 11.00-12.30)

EXERCISE: (part 3 of the lecture) will consist in an application of the prioritization tool. Depending on time, the exercise could be about the definition of the weights allocated to prioritization criteria and/or the evaluation of one or several substances regarding the prioritization tool

Systems for describing food – LanguaL/FoodEx
(Wednesday, 8th July 2015, 14.00-18.00)

EXERCISE: The intention is to present an overview of the LanguaL and FoodEx tools and try to code some products and discuss the outcomes. Participants are encouraged to bring a few food labels (actual or printed label information) for a range of products from their own country, which they can try to code, either individually or in groups, and see what interesting problems arise. The value of the exercise is in getting an idea of what is involved and the difficulties. The systems are very comprehensive and complex so it will just be a snapshot with (hopefully) some interesting discussion but not necessarily all the answers!

Quality Management Principles and Practices suited to TDS
(Thursday 9th July 2015, 11.00-12.30 and 14.00-15.30)

EXERCISE: Describe a flowchart for TDS project at country-level and identify similarities and differences with a generic TDS flowchart

Exposure assessment at the international level
(Thursday, 9th July 2015, 11.00-12.30)

EXERCISE: Students will learn how to upload TDS data to the MCRA software and how to perform an exposure assessment with different input data.

d. Additional reading


  • Saaty, TL (1980) The Analytic Hierarchy Process: Planning, Priority Setting, Resource Allocation. McGraw-Hill, NY
  • Moy G and Vannoort R (in press) Total Diet Studies, Springer, New York
  • Rehurkova I (2002) Monitoring of the dietary exposure of the population of chemical substances in the Czech Republic: design and history. Central European Journal of Public Health 10(4): 174-179
  • Ruprich J, Rehurkova I (2002) “Chemon” – TDS project – dietary exposure to chemical substances, Proceedings from the Total Diet Study Sub-Regional Training Workshop, WHO GEMS/Food Euro, 25-30 November 2002, Brno, Czech Republic
  • Sirot V, Volatier JL, Calamassi-Tran G, Dubuisson C, Menard C, Dufour A & Leblanc JC (2009). Core food of the French food supply: second Total Diet Study. Food Additives and Contaminants part A-Chemistry Analysis Control Exposure & Risk Assessment, 26 (5), 623-639
  • Turrini A, Lombardi-Boccia G (2002) The formulation of the market basket for evaluating the Italian total diet 1994- 96. Nutrition Research 22(10): 1151-62

– software for downloading:

These two zip files should be extracted to the same folder (e.g. C:\FoodexBrowserHome). Instructions for installation are given in “Instructions for using the browsing tool.pdf
It would also be useful to download and extract “” and “The food classification and description system FoodEx2 (revision 2).pdf

e. Review of learning – CLICK HERE

– model answers will be provided after the event