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Tuesday, 02 March 2010

EFSA consults on guidance on risk-benefit assessment of food

The European Food Safety Authority’s Scientific Committee has published guidance on the risk-benefit assessment of food for public consultation. As foods provide health benefits but can sometimes also present health risks – for example, fruit and vegetables provide key nutrients but can sometimes also contain potentially harmful substances such as nitrates – it is important for decision-makers to be able to take into account the net health impact of different foods. EFSA’s Scientific Committee recommends a three-step approach consisting of: an initial assessment which considers whether a risk-benefit assessment is actually needed or, alternatively, if the health risk clearly outweighs the health benefit (or vice versa); a refined assessment aimed at quantifying estimates of risk and benefit at relevant exposure levels; and finally, a full comparison of the combined risk and benefit to establish a net health impact value.

Source: European Food Safety Authority