Committee on Carcinogenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment

COC advises the government and government agencies on whether substances are likely to cause cancer.

Role of the group

COC provides independent advice to government departments and agencies on the potential carcinogenicity of chemicals, from natural products to new synthetic chemicals used in pesticides or pharmaceuticals.

Terms of reference

To advise at the request of:

  • Department of Health
  • Food Standards Agency
  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
  • Department for Transport
  • Department of Trade and Industry
  • Health and Safety Executive
  • Pesticides Safety Directorate
  • Veterinary Medicines Directorate
  • Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency
  • Environment Agency
  • Public Health England
  • Home Office
  • Welsh Assembly Government
  • Scottish Executive
  • Northern Ireland Executive
  • other government departments and agencies.

To assess and advise on the carcinogenic risk to man of substances that are:

  • used or proposed to be used as food additives, or used in such a way that they might contaminate food through their use or natural occurrence in agriculture, including horticulture and veterinary practice or in the distribution, storage, preparation, processing or packaging of food
  • used or proposed to be used or manufactured or produced in industry, agriculture, food storage or any other workplace
  • used or proposed to be used as household goods or toilet goods and preparations
  • used or proposed to be used as drugs, when advice is requested by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency
  • used or proposed to be used or disposed of in such a way as to result in pollution of the environment

To advise on important general principles or new scientific discoveries in connection with carcinogenic risks, to co-ordinate with other bodies concerned with the assessment of carcinogenic risks and to present recommendations for carcinogenicity testing.


Current members are:

  • Professor David H Phillips, Chair ( Professor of Environmental Carcinogenesis, Kings College London)
  • Derek Bodey (public interest representative)
  • Dr Gill Clare (independent consultant in genetic toxicology)
  • Dr John Doe (Consultant in Toxicology, Parker Doe Partnership)
  • Dr Peter Greaves (Consultant Pathologist and Honorary Senior Lecturer, Department of Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine, University of Leicester)
  • Professor Ray Kemp (Adjunct Professor of Risk and Sustainability)
  • Dr David P Lovell (Reader in Medical Statistics, Division of Medical Sciences, University of London)
  • Dr Brian G Miller (Principal Epidemiologist, Institute of Occupational Medicine)
  • Professor Julian Peto (Professor of Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)
  • Dr Christopher J Powell (Vice President Safety Assessment, GlaxoSmithKline)
  • Dr Lesley Rushton (Reader in Occupational Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Imperial College London)
  • Professor Heather Wallace (Senior Lecturer, Department of Medicine and Therapeutics and Biomedical Sciences, University of Aberdeen)
  • Dr Rosemary H Waring (Honorary Reader in Human Toxicology, School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham)


9 May 2013 minutes and discussion papers (ZIP, 2.93MB)

19 September 2013 minutes and discussion papers (ZIP, 756KB)

21 November 2013 minutes and discussion papers (ZIP, 1.18MB)

Minutes for meetingsbefore 2013 are on the National Archives website.

Open meetings

COC holds open meetings to increase the visibility and transparency of its work. To attend a meeting as an observer, you will need to send an open meetings application form to the secretariat and follow the code of conduct for observers.

COC open meeting application form (MS Word Document, 32KB) COC code of conduct for observers (PDF, 172KB, 1 page)


COC publishes its advice as statements and guidance statements.

Older publications are available on the the National Archives website.


Dr Diane Benford (Joint Secretary, Food Standards Agency)

F Pollitt (Scientific Secretary, PHE)



Telephone: 01235 825141

Gill Fisher
COC Secretariat
Public Health England
Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards
Oxfordshire OX11 0RQ

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