Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - NOFORISK (Quantitative risk assessment strategies for novel foods)

The ultimate aim of the NOFORISK project was to develop and validate the scientific methodology necessary for the safety assessment of novel foods in accordance with a specific European Union (EU) regulation which concerned novel foods and novel food ingredients as well as communicate the importance of the approaches to key end users, including the consumers.

The project addressed the scientific challenge of developing state-of-the-art approaches to assess the safety, nutritional adequacy and efficacy of such novel foods in a comprehensive and interlinked set of studies. The novel approaches deployed were tested on three model examples which were either already on the market or ready to be introduced to. The models selected were:
(i) Genetically modified (GM) and conventionally bred potato tubers with altered content and balance of inherent toxicants (glycoalkaloids);
(ii) a conventionally bred rice mutated line low in an anti-nutritional constituent (phytic acid); and
(iii) functional food ingredients of natural origin (phytosterol and phytostanol esters).

The presumed benefits of the mutated rice with lowered content of phytic acid included increased bioavailability of calcium, phosphate, magnesium, iron and zinc from the rice and the food including the rice, which should lead to better bone calcification, improved iron depots, stronger immune system and thereby, a better health. The direct safety issues concerned the question whether rice low in phytic acid may facilitate the uptake of inorganic contaminants like cadmium from the rice or the diet at large like. Also undetected, secondary compositional changes of the low-phytic acid rice caused directly or indirectly by the mutational event in the rice could become a safety issue.

The presumed benefit of the GM potato was less toxicity through altered relative content of glycoalkaloids keeping the total level of glycoalkaloids unchanged. The safety issues were unaltered human toxicity, even higher human toxicity, and possible lower nutritional value of the potato due to unintended changes not picked up by the chemical analysis of the composition. The comparator was the parental non-GM potato.

The presumed benefit of the rapeseed phytosterols and phytostanols was a lowered frequency / severity of cardiovascular changes, since they were known to lower the content of cholesterol in the human blood. Deposit of cholesterols in the walls of the cardiovascular system plays a major role of the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases.

The outcomes of NOFORISK were expected to be used for:
- creation of scientific guidance for consumers, retailers and governments in their choices of safe, nutritious and/or health keeping novel foods;
-creation of new scientific instruments for the assessment of such novel foods in a premarket situation where no experiences from previous human intake yet exist;
- improvement of the possibilities for the food industry to develop safe novel foods with high efficacy for fulfilling safety as well as nutritional or health preserving needs;
- reduction of the cost for development of new novel foods by the introduction of wide ranging short-term test methods leading to the use of fewer tests each addressing more endpoints;
- formulation of the scientific basis for updated regulations by the European Commission (EC), as well as the national governments regarding novel foods, including novel food supplements.

Related information

Reported by

Anker Engelundsvej, 1


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