Dr Suzanne Fitzpatrick, senior advisor for toxicology, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, USFDA
The following article has been penned by Dr Fitzpatrick, appearing in the FDA Voice Blog:
Anyone who regularly eats food containing low levels of certain chemical contaminants may be adversely affected over time. But some groups of people are more sensitive to chemical contaminants than others and thus are more likely to be harmed by long-term exposure. We call these groups "susceptible populations."
The FDA's charge to ensure the safety of the food supply is not limited to the protection of the general public. We also have a responsibility to protect susceptible populations.
Pregnant women, infants, young children, and older adults have long been recognized as susceptible populations by the scientific community.
In addition, people with cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and transplant recipients may have weakened immune systems and thus may also be more vulnerable. In short, these groups may be at greater risk from a given amount of a chemical contaminant because of their age, genetics, sex, or health status.