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Model parameters for prospective intake estimates

In this research area model parameters for prospective intake estimates of novel and functional foods and secondary plant ingredients are to be developed.

BfR is involved in carrying out the safety assessment of novel foods and food ingredients which come under the scope of Regulation 258/97/EC. This includes the assessment of the health risks which may result from long-term nutrient imbalances or persistent excess consumption of certain substances. The basis for this is the estimate of the probable consumption of a novel food or a novel food ingredient. Consideration must be given here both to intake distribution in the overall population as well as in defined groups of people (like age groups, social groups but also people with chronic illnesses like Diabetes mellitus).

Up to now most of the applications for novel food ingredients were for isolated or synthetised ingredients from plants (like phytosterols, betaine, lucopin, zeaxanthin), animals (like phospholipids from vitellus) and micro organisms (e.g. algae oil rich in DHA). Particularly in the case of ingredients whose consumption is linked with the claim of additional benefits for health, increasing accumulated intake is emerging as a long-term problem. More and more foods are being eaten to which the same ingredient is being added at the efficacious dose for that effect. There is a similar development concerning the "other substances with a specific nutritional and nutritional-physiological impact" to be assessed within the framework of the Food Supplements Directive (2002/46/EC). They also include secondary plant ingredients, isolated amino acids, derivatives and preparations made from plants traditionally used as medicinal products (botanicals).

Research areas

Research into the development of model parameters for the prospective intake estimate of novel and functional foods and secondary plant substances takes in two different areas:

  • Development of differentiated calculation models which permit a realistic preliminary estimate of intake distribution of novel food ingredients within populations and sub-populations.

  • Development of experimental models to identify physiological markers. They are intended to help determine the intake of novel ingredients in the human body. Furthermore, it should be possible to monitor the effect of the elevated consumption of the corresponding substances in the long-term.

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