Risk-Benefit Analysis for Foods
There is considerable disparity in the way in which benefits and risks are compared for compounds found in food, relying almost always on subjective judgement. This prevents adequate comparison of alternatives and renders resource prioritisation difficult. Furthermore, it is extremely difficult to provide comprehensible advice to consumers. It is therefore vital that an effective strategy be developed to enable an holistic analysis of the net health impact of chemicals in food to be assessed and quantified, in a manner analogous to the current assessment of risk.
The project follows up the EC FUFOSE, PASSCLAIM and FOSIE projects. The outcome of FOSIE was a risk assessment framework for chemicals in food; FUFOSE and PASSCLAIM specifically focused on benefit assessment. A European network was set up in September 2007 involving expertise in risk assessment, nutrition, and risk/benefit analysis with representatives from academia, regulatory agencies and the food industry. During the first year of the project, a methodology group reviewed and assembled the methodologies available. This group is collaborating with three case study groups, since October 2008, to integrate the methodological findings in their area and develop a framework applicable to a wide range of foods and food compounds.
They are investigating risk benefit analysis for the following food groups: fish and soy (natural foods); folic acid and macronutrient replacers (dietary interventions); heat processed compounds. They have reviewed the literature to undertake a risk analysis, a benefit assessment, an exposure evaluation and quantitative net health impact assessment on selected cases. Then, the methodology will be adjusted according to the feedback received from the case studies groups.
There is considerable value in harmonisation at the European level of the evaluations of economic impact of dietary strategies reinforcing consumer confidence and providing a common background for the development of new food strategies and dietary advice. The presently confused pattern of advice to consumers may be modified by the role of the system in improving consumer consensus and education; rational and clearly presented benefit/risk analysis will aid communication. The establishment of a common scale of measurement will be of value in decisions about the management of health claims related to food, including those relevant to safety and quality.
A risk-benefit analysis framework, as part of the final report, will be produced at the end of the project. It will be disseminated to interested stakeholders. The framework will be widely applicable, having been clearly defined by the work carried out in the project, and will be valuable to industry by virtue of its transparency and applicability to a wide range of foods and food components. Its primary purpose will be used to support policy development by identifying potential health benefits and permitting the evaluation of economic impact of dietary strategies.
Purpose of the workshop
This Workshop will include representatives of each BRAFO’s work packages, as well as representatives from academia, consumer interest groups, industry (including SMEs) and regulators.
Aims of the workshop
Presenting and reviewing the applicability of the BRAFO methodology through the application of the three groups of case studies
Identifying the common core elements, similarities and differences
Initiating the harmonisation of the different approaches
Setting the scene for the work of the working group on consensus
Collating these into the second Scientific Publication
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