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Assessment of substance risks in foods

Milch

Foods are complex mixtures of nutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals) and many natural accompanying substances. In addition, they can also contain low amounts of other substances which reach the foods unintentionally as contaminations and/or occur at the production, storage and preparation of foods. On the other hand, certain substances, such as additives or aroma substances, are added to foods intentionally during production. Such substances, including the natural ingredients of foods, can become a health risk for consumers under certain circumstances. For that reason additives and aroma substances must undergo a health assessment and be approved prior to their use in foods.

BfR assesses substance risks for:

  • Food ingredients, e.g. ingredients of plants and nutrients such as fats, vitamins and minerals which are relevant for health
  • Food additives, e.g. colorants and preservatives as well as processing auxiliaries
  • Aroma substances
  • Residues of pesticides and veterinary medicinal products
  • Contaminants, i.e. contaminations which can either reach the foods from the environment (such as heavy metals, dioxins) or are formed by microorganisms (such as moulds, algae) on or in the food and migrate into it (e.g. mould toxins (mycotoxins), marine biotoxins (phycotoxins).
  • Substances caused by processing, e.g. during the heating of foods

Substance risks must be distinguished from microbial risks, which are triggered by bacteria, viruses or fungi.

Risk assessment as a dynamic process

The basis for the health assessment of these substances in foods by BfR is the current international scientific state of knowledge. Since the latter is permanently developing, the appraisal of the health risk involved in a substance is always a dynamic process.

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Information

 (1)
Date Title Größe
01.03.2013
BfR Information No. 008/2013
Increased aflatoxin concentrations detected in raw milk 22.9 KB
PDF-File

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Opinion

 (41)
Date Title Größe
27.03.2017
BfR Opinion No 003/2017
Risk assessment of the occurrence of alkaloids in lupin seeds 312.7 KB
PDF-File
28.09.2016
BfR Opinion No. 030/2016
Pyrrolizidine alkaloids: Levels in foods should continue to be kept as low as possible 42.4 KB
PDF-File
10.08.2016
BfR Opinion No. 023/2016
Levels of styrene oligomers measured in food simulants show that health risks are unlikely 30.7 KB
PDF-File
08.06.2015
BfR Opinion no. 044/2015
Bisphenol F in mustard: adverse effects on health due to the measured BPF concentrations are unlikely 37.9 KB
PDF-File
07.04.2015
Updated BfR opinion No. 009/2015
Two bitter apricot kernels per day are the limit for adults - children should refrain from consuming apricot kernels altogether 40.4 KB
PDF-File
24.06.2014
BfR Opinion No. 018/2015
Arsenic in Rice and Rice Products 74.0 KB
PDF-File
06.02.2014
Updated BfR Opinion No. 017/2015
Supplement EU maximum levels for inorganic arsenic in rice and rice products through consumption recommendations for the protection of infants, toddlers and children 26.4 KB
PDF-File
13.11.2013
Opinion No 035/2014 of the BfR
High tropane alkaloid levels in cereal products: Health impairments are possible in individuals with heart problems 115.7 KB
PDF-File
05.07.2013
BfR Opinion No. 018/2013
Pyrrolizidine alkaloids in herbal teas and teas 313.6 KB
PDF-File
02.07.2013
BfR Opinion Nr. 017/2013
Assessment of a possible connection between milk consumption and the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus 64.2 KB
PDF-File
19.03.2013
BfR Opinion No. 009/2014
Health problems resulting from Guduchi herbal tea are possible - however, the available data is still insufficient 28.0 KB
PDF-File
04.03.2013
BfR Opinion No. 009/2013
Transfer of aflatoxins to milk, eggs, meat and offal 107.6 KB
PDF-File
27.09.2012
BfR Opinion No. 036/2012
New insights into coumarin contained in cinnamon 55.6 KB
PDF-File
30.11.2011
Updated BfR Opinion No. 052/2011
Transglutaminase in Meat Products 28.2 KB
PDF-File
19.10.2011
BfR, MRI and RKI Opinion No. 007/2012
Lowering blood pressure through a reduction of salt in foods 40.9 KB
PDF-File
18.10.2011
Updated BfR Opinion No. 053/2011
Too Hot Isn’t Healthy - Foods with very high capsaicin concentrations can damage health 226.0 KB
PDF-File
26.09.2011
Updated BfR Opinion No. 045/2011
Cause of the Bitter Taste of Pine Seeds Still Unknown 32.5 KB
PDF-File
11.08.2011
BfR Opinion No. 038/2011
Chemical analysis and toxicity of pyrrolizidine alkaloids and assessment of the health risks posed by their occurrence in honey 33.6 KB
PDF-File
29.06.2011
BfR Opinion Nr. 043/2011
Acrylamide in Food 31.7 KB
PDF-File
15.05.2011
BfR Opinion Nr. 030/2011
According to the current state of scientific knowledge 5-HMF concentrations occurring in foods do not give rise to safety concerns 28.4 KB
PDF-File
06.10.2010
BfR Opinion Nr. 046/2010
BfR answers questions of the Bundestag Committee on Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection 28.5 KB
PDF-File
03.09.2010
BfR Opinion Nr. 043/2010
Cases of poisoning through grayanotoxins in rhododendron honey originating from the Turkish Black Sea Region 31.4 KB
PDF-File
09.12.2009
BfR Opinion No. 021/2010
The safety of herbal teas containing ginkgo leaves cannot be evaluated due to insufficient data 23.0 KB
PDF-File
02.11.2009
Updated BfR Opinion No. 042/2009
Adverse health effects resulting from the consumption of snake mackerel 26.5 KB
PDF-File
29.07.2009
BfR Opinion No 002/2010
Improved labelling of allergens in foods for consumers: Threshold values cannot at present be determined reliably 31.8 KB
PDF-File
29.05.2009
BfR Opinion, No. 023/2009
Study on meat intake and mortality 96.4 KB
PDF-File
10.03.2009
BfR Opinion No. 007/2009
Initial evaluation of the assessment of levels of glycidol fatty acid esters detected in refined vegetable fats 27.5 KB
PDF-File
13.02.2009
BfR Opinion No. 021/2009
BfR sees need for research into the influence of milk processing on the allergenic potential of cow’s milk 28.1 KB
PDF-File
27.11.2008
BfR Opinion No. 018/2009
Deep groundwater with sodium chloride levels of more than 25 g per litre is not suitable as a food 27.4 KB
PDF-File
23.10.2008
BfR Opinion No. 005/2009
Does glycidamide in food constitute a health risk? 27.7 KB
PDF-File
03.09.2008
BfR Opinion No. 042/2008
People with normal cholesterol levels should refrain from eating food fortified with plant sterols 28.4 KB
PDF-File
30.07.2008
BfR Opinion No. 035/2009
BfR recommends measures to reduce salt content in food 29.9 KB
PDF-File
30.04.2008
BfR Opinion No. 038/2008
New concept for the labelling of allergen traces in food 30.4 KB
PDF-File
21.01.2008
BfR Opinion No. 022/2008
BfR does not see any association between progesterone levels in milk and breast cancer 27.7 KB
PDF-File
29.10.2007
Updated BfR Expert Opinion No. 039/2007
Isolated isoflavones are not without risk 277.7 KB
PDF-File
12.06.2007
Updated BfR Opinion No. 026/2007
Health risks linked to high iodine levels in dried algae 35.6 KB
PDF-File
17.04.2007
BfR Opinion No. 016/2007
Soya products can trigger serious allergic reactions in birch pollen allergy sufferers 30.5 KB
PDF-File
09.03.2007
BfR Opinion No. 048/2007
BfR proposes maximum levels for coumarin in food 37.8 KB
PDF-File
05.01.2007
BfR Opinion No. 006/2007
Garlic can trigger allergic reactions 27.3 KB
PDF-File
07.02.2006
BfR Opinion No. 024/2006
Maximum limits for boron and fluoride in natural mineral water should be in line with drinking water regulations 30.9 KB
PDF-File
01.12.2005
BfR Expert Opinion No. 013/2006
Indications of the possible formation of benzene from benzoic acid in foods 54.8 KB
PDF-File

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FAQ

 (2)
Date Title Größe
28.09.2016
Updated BfR FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions on Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids in Foods 49.5 KB
PDF-File
02.04.2015
Updated BfR FAQ
Frequently asked questions about folate and folic acid 40.4 KB
PDF-File

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Reports

 (1)
Date Title Größe
19.12.2014
Final report of the BfR
Research project "Safety of game meat obtained through hunting" (LEMISI) 137.2 KB
PDF-File

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Press information

 (33)
Date Title Keywords
10.05.2017
17/2017
Increase in ciguatera fish poisoning cases in Europe fish , food poisoning , marine biotoxins
27.03.2017
12/2017
Lupin seeds: Health impairments possible with bitter taste food ingredients , food safety , lupine protein
27.04.2017
16/2017
Between low and high - what is the hazard potential of individual pyrrolizidine alkaloids? food , pyrrolizidine alkaloids
04.10.2016
40/2016
Digital tools for more safety in the food chain contaminants , feed , poly- and perfluoralkyl substances (PFAS/PFC)
03.08.2016
30/2016
Energy Drinks & Co: BfR film provides information on health risks posed by caffeine-containing beverages caffeine , energy drinks , food safety
22.06.2016
25/2016
How do marine biotoxins interfere with health? marine biotoxins , research
22.06.2016
24/2016
Cooked on the inside, but not charred on the outside: BfR web film on the art of grilling food safety
16.06.2016
22/2016
Quite a few things in your morning pick-me-up: coffee poses a challenge to risk assessment caffeine , food ingredients
31.05.2016
19/2016
Spices and herbs: Ingredients which may pose a health risk food , food safety
26.05.2016
17/2016
Does perfluorooctanoic acid damage the human liver? poly- and perfluoralkyl substances (PFAS/PFC)
27.05.2016
18/2016
How do pyrrolizidine alkaloids damage the liver? food , pyrrolizidine alkaloids
24.05.2016
16/2016
Insects as Food and Feed - Food of the Future? food safety
03.12.2015
37/2015
Pyrrolizidine alkaloids in food: A challenge for agriculture and consumer protection pyrrolizidine alkaloids
11.06.2015
14/2015
Rice and rice products contain high levels of inorganic arsenic arsenic, contaminants
16.03.2015
08/2015
Omics methods: Towards a better prediction of the effects of substances at very low doses benzo[a]pyrene, food safety
29.01.2014
05/2014
People consuming high amounts of energy drinks ignore the pick-me-up risk caffeine , energy drinks , food safety
02.08.2013
21/2013
Spices and Herbs: A Risk-free Taste Experience food , food safety
15.07.2013
18/2013
Levels of pyrrolizidine alkaloids in herbal teas and teas are too high pyrrolizidine alkaloids
07.05.2013
13/2013
Plasticiser DEHP is ingested mainly through food di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), phthalates , plastic
19.03.2013
06/2013
Lead ammunition results in higher lead concentrations in game meat game , lead
27.09.2012
26/2012
Cassia cinnamon with high coumarin contents to be consumed in moderation cinnamon , coumarin , food safety
20.02.2012
05/2012
Hypertension, a widespread disease - less salt helps
19.09.2011
32/2011
Lead fragments in game meat can be an added health risk for certain consumer groups game , lead
22.07.2011
24/2011
How safe are materials and items which come into contact with foods, feeds and food-supplying animals?
09.12.2010
17/2010
Improved detection methods for allergenic substances
14.12.2009
33/2009
Cadmium in food
23.10.2008
18/2008
Threshold values for allergenic ingredients in food needed
16.07.2007
12/2007
Between healthy and poisonous - plant ingredients under close scrutiny
07.06.2007
07/2007
Bitter apricot kernels can lead to poisoning
20.02.2006
05/2006
Elevated morphine levels in poppy seeds: Risk to health not ruled out
07.06.2005
17/2005
Pregnant women should steer clear of quinine-containing beverages!
29.04.2005
12/2005
Poppy seed for baking is not a soporific for infants
20.01.2004
01/2004
More folic acid, less salt and junk food!

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