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NOFORISK — Result In Brief

Project ID: 506387
Funded under: FP6-FOOD
Country: Denmark

Testing novel foods

Many new foods are coming on the market, from genetically engineered produce to products with novel food additives. The EU wants to standardise methodology to evaluate the safety of these food items.
Testing novel foods
The world is seeing an emergence of novel foods that are targeting consumers, from genetically modified (GM) potatoes to mutated rice varieties and food containing super nutrients. The EU-funded project 'Quantitative risk assessment strategies for novel foods' (Noforisk) aimed to develop and test the scientific methodology required for safety assessment of these foods, in line with EU regulations.

Noforisk tested new assessment approaches on three food categories, including GM vs. conventionally bred produce. For example, it looked at mutated rice with less phytic acid which offers much more essential minerals that promise to improve health. However, decreased phytic acid might also encourage absorption of inorganic contaminants such as cadmium, a potential hazard that the project aimed to investigate.

Other foods investigated that had purported health benefits were GM potatoes with lower glykoalkaloids known to be toxic to the consumer. Rapeseed oil with increased phytosterol for the lowering of blood cholesterol levels was also examined. Through such examples, the project aimed to guide consumers, retailers and governments in assessing the safety and health of foods that appear on the market.

Noforisk established mechanisms and tests to evaluate these foods in a pre-market situation and encouraged the food industry to develop safe novel foods following the right standards. This will provide the EU and local governments with a strong knowledge base to update their regulations in this area.

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