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BENERIS - Benefit-Risk Assessment for Food: An Iterative Value-of-Information Approach


Food safety and risks are a highly sensitive area. Recent food crises have shown that risks related to food must be dealt with in a sophisticated and scientifically justifiable manner. This project will utilise a benefit-risk approach with an iterative top-down approach to explore risks of food and its contaminants. An essential part of the work is to develop and use integrated methods to evaluate both the risks and health benefits related to any given food item. Decision analytical methods will be used to find out the critical uncertainties for decision-making.

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Other advancements in the project will be to work on existing databases of food intake and nutrients, and food consumption studies in several European countries, while most previous work has been on national level. The data will be integrated and its applicability to other countries will be studied. This information will be combined to chemical contaminant measurements for an exposure assessment of both nutrients and contaminants. Variability between subpopulations (area, gender, age) will be especially addressed.
Health effects of contaminants and nutrients will be estimated by using new methods (to be developed in this project) integrating both epidemiological and toxicological data. Results and methods will be actively disseminated using a new Internet interface and other means, and feedback will be collected during the project.
Major advancements in benefit-risk analysis require highly interdisciplinary work with epidemiologists, toxicologists, nutrition scientists, exposure assessors, risk analysts, and authorities. All these disciplines are represented in this project by several partners. We also have good contacts with potential sources of data in different parts of Europe, and with ongoing or proposed EU projects. End-users and authorities will be involved from the beginning thus improving the science-policy interface, and ensuring that the work has both scientific and societal relevance.

For more information about this project, please visit the <a href="…; target="_blank">European Commission Food Quality and Safety in Europe</a> Web site

Tuomisto, Jouni
National Public Health Institute, KTL
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