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What's in your food: a look into the BfR MEAL Study kitchen

03/2021, 20.01.2021

The BfR provides information about Germany’s first Total Diet Study at the digital International Green Week

What's in your food? And which health effects does the preparation method have on these levels in foods? The BfR MEAL Study helps to answer these questions among others. At the International Green Week, which will take place digitally on 20 and 21 January 2021, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) will be offering insights into the processes taking place within the BfR MEAL Study. On 20 January, those who are interested can follow a video tour through the study kitchen and can join the different steps starting with the purchasing of foods and ending with the preparation of a meal.

"We will take a look at what’s going on in the pots and pans and let everyone experience the BfR MEAL Study," says BfR President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel. "The results will be used as a basis to improve the identification of potential health risks due to the consumption of foods in Germany."

Link to the recorded video:

Link to the virtual tour:

At this year's online-hosted International Green Week, stages will become a television studio: lectures and discussion panels will be broadcasted live on the internet and will therefore be accessible to a wide audience.

The BfR is also showcasing itself in a different format than usual as the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) will report on projects concerning food and nutrition according to the motto “Smart4Life” on Wednesday, 20 January 2021. In a video report that is expected to be broadcasted in the afternoon, the head of the study Dr. Irmela Sarvan will explain the daily working steps by guiding through the individual rooms of the BfR MEAL Study kitchen. Meanwhile, the team is preparing and processing pancakes. It will clearly demonstrate why the food is not analysed raw, but prepared before analysis at different levels of browning representing the preparation behaviour in German households.

At the same time, the BfR MEAL Study can be experienced comfortably at home in a virtual tour. You can embark upon a informative discovery tour by clicking your mouse and take a virtual look around the study kitchen the receiving area and the homogenisation room. Furthermore, you can join the purchasers in front of the study kitchen enjoy the view at the buildings in Alt-Marienfelde. Short videos, infographics and images explain why the team purchases, prepares and analyses around 60,000 food items for almost 300 substances within the study.

Die BfR MEAL Study (Mahlzeiten für die Expositionsschätzung und Analytik von Lebensmitteln or “meals for the exposure assessment and analysis of food”) is the first Total Diet Study (TDS) for Germany and the most extensive TDS worldwide so far. A TDS is an internationally recognised method to determine in which levels substances are present on average in ready-to-eat foods. The study covers over 90 percent of foods consumed by the German population and analysed as they are typically consumed. The aim is to identify more easily food-related health risks for people living in Germany. In order to achieve this objective, the BfR MEAL Study is examining around 60,000 individual foods for almost 300 desirable and undesirable substances and is funded by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) for seven years with around 13 million euros.

Further information about the BfR MEAL study:

About the BfR

The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a scientifically independent institution within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in Germany. It advises the German federal government and German federal states ("Laender") on questions of food, chemicals and product safety. The BfR conducts its own research on topics that are closely linked to its assessment tasks.

This text version is a translation of the original German text which is the only legally binding version.

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