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Results of the MEAL Study by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment accessible now

02/2023, 15.02.2023

Occurance data for iodine, calcium and many other substances in food can be downloaded as a public use file

What's in our food? This is the research focus of the MEAL Study by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment. Initial results from the study are now available for interested parties free of charge as a public use file. "Scientific results in the field of consumer protection should be freely accessible," says BfR President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel. "The BfR MEAL Study's public use file makes an important contribution to research into the German diet."

For the first time, Germany conducts its own total diet study. The BfR MEAL Study (meals for exposure assessment and analysis of foods) investigates on a large scale which substances, and how much of them, are contained in foods as consumed. Initial results are now available in a free public use file; more results will gradually follow in the coming months after thorough evaluation and review.

As part of the investigation, the BfR MEAL Study team examines almost 300 desired and undesired substances including heavy metals, fungal toxins, nutrients and residues of plant protection products in around 60,000 foods. The public use file documents occurrence data in the investigated foods as well as details on the analysis method for each substance. The data also shows in which season and region the foods were purchased and whether they came from conventional or organic production. A link to related scientific publications provides more details on the respective results.

As a total-diet study, MEAL examines the entire typical diet of the population. This method is recommended by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to determine mean levels of substances in the average diet for intake estimates. The study considers more than 90% of Germany’s food range and analyses each food prepared as typically consumed in Germany. The study aims to make it easier to identify possible health risks from food. MEAL is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL).

Further information:

About the BfR

The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a scientifically independent institution within the portfolio of the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). It advises the Federal Government and the German federal states (“Laender”) on questions of food, chemicals, and product safety. The BfR conducts independent 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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