The acceptable daily intake or similar construct (e.g., reference dose) has been used by regulatory and public health organizations to set standards for chemicals for over 50 years. The purpose of regulating chemicals in food involves the promulgation of risk management policies that will result in the approval to introduce a chemical (e.g., food additive and pesticide) into the food supply or eliminate or reduce exposure to a chemical whether it be anthropogenic or natural in origin. Two of the most common policy formulations involve either (1) setting a contaminant level that is considered tolerable or (2) proscribing particular food production practices. The establishment of a contaminant level in food generally is determined on the basis of a toxicological/epidemiological evaluation that identifies an exposure/dosage level deemed to be tolerable and an assessment of the potential dietary exposure to the chemical.

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