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Food safety activities involve the toxicological, nutritional-physiological or nutritional-medical assessment of foods.
Toxicological assessment of foods
It aims to ensure that foods only contain safe levels of substances:
Depending on the level, the natural ingredients in a food may have a desirable effect - like caffeine in the stimulants coffee, tea or Cola beverages or an adverse effect - like solanine in potatoes.
To give foods certain properties, various substances are added like preservatives, antioxidants, thickening agents, sweeteners and flavourings. Other substances facilitate the processing of the foods and are called processing aids.
Residues and contaminants
Undesirable substances, that may impair health, can
- come from the environment;
- be formed by micro-organisms (mould);
- reach the food chain through feedstuffs for food-producing animals;
- migrate to food during production, storage or treatment;
- be formed during food processing (smoking, curing) or preparation (grilling, frying, roasting).
Nutritional-medical food assessment
This provides insight into the extent to which the composition of a food permits its inclusion in various diets and whether the supply of the body with nutrients is guaranteed. Assessments are made of the risks arising from over or undersupply with nutrients like vitamins and minerals.
Food ingredients, placed on the market in isolated form as food supplements or additives, are also assessed. The Institute focuses, in particular, on dietetic foods like infant formula and complementary food.
Risk management recommendations
The findings obtained from the toxicological and nutritional-medical assessment of foods provide the scientific basis for the setting of maximum levels or limit values. BfR advises the competent national risk management agencies and the corresponding European authorities.
Research into greater food safety
BfR actively does research in the field of food safety. This encompasses the various production stages in the manufacturing and distribution chain, in line with the "farm to fork" principle. The goal is to identify molecular links as a first step towards developing strategies for consumer protection.
Opinion No. 006/2011 of BfR
|Risk of suffocation through hard sugar balls with chewing gum core||
BfR Expert Opinion No. 001/2007
|Allergies caused by consumer products and foods||
BfR Expert Opinion No. 032/2005
|Mouse bioassay not suitable as a reference method for the regular analysis of algae toxins in mussels||
BfR updated Information No. 025/2009, 30 June 2009
|Distribution and import of foods including food supplements||
BfR Information No. 043/2008
|BfR Catalogue of Criteria for Notifications pursuant to the General Administrative Regulation on the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (Allgemeine Verwaltungsvorschrift Schnellwarnsystem, AVV SWS)||
Updated BfR Position Paper
|Nutrient Profiles - The Precondition for Health Claims||
Position Paper Nr. 013/2005 of the BfR
|Analysis of Marine Biotoxins - Approaches to Validation and Regulatory Acceptance of Alternative Methods to the Mouse Bioassay as method of Reference||
||Regulation (EC) No. 178(2002) laying down the general principles and requirements of food las, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety||