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BRAFO — Result In Brief

Project ID: 31731
Funded under: FP6-FOOD
Country: Belgium

Harmonising benefit/risk analyses for foodstuffs

Following on from other related projects, an EU-funded consortium developed a framework for comparative measurement of benefits and health risks of foods and food compounds.
Harmonising benefit/risk analyses for foodstuffs
Given widespread variations in risk assessment for chemicals found in food, a comprehensive methodology framework is needed that can serve as a reference for harmonising evaluation methods. The project 'A specific support action to investigate the risk benefit analysis for foods' (BRAFO) set out to fulfil this need by developing a strategy for holistic analysis of the net health impact of food compounds.

BRAFO partners, representing academia, regulatory agencies and the food industry, brought together methodologies from several disciplines related to the evaluation of benefits and risks in food. To achieve a standard representation of inputs and outputs, available data were reprocessed following the formulation of agreed guidelines common to the project’s main elements.

Work on the production of a guidance document describing a tiered approach for performing benefit and risk assessments of foods resulted in a statement for a preferred scenario relevant to net health effects. Based on this groundwork, BRAFO members focused on developing their envisioned framework using various examples of foodstuffs and food components.

Three case study groups worked to apply and adapt the developed methodological approach for a benefit assessment, a risk assessment and a quantitative net health impact assessment. These focused on natural foods, with emphasis on consumption of fish and soy; dietary interventions; and heat processing, which included examples of heat treatment of foods and milk and its products.

Results obtained were used to determine the broad applicability of the BRAFO methodology across various benefit and risk categories. Reviewed recommendations were included in a paper that was communicated to the scientific community, industry and consumers.

Project work will help future research and related actions on the role that nutrition can play in a better quality of life for different sub-populations as well as deterring the onset of disease. The developed framework aims to harmonise evaluations at both the EU and the international scale.

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