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From the trough to the plate – why safe feed is important also for human health

11/2023, 23.06.2023

The new “BfR2GO” scientific magazine focuses on feed and its safety. The 11th issue is out now.

What livestock eat through their feed can end up also on our plates via the animal. Feed must therefore be safe and not affect animal or human health. The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) assesses health risks that can arise from feed. “One important aspect is the development of detection methods and computer-aided tools. These allow us to trace undesirable substances along product chains. Furthermore, we can use them to estimate the transfer of undesirable substances from feed to food,” says BfR President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel. In addition to risk assessment, the main topics in the new BfR2GO also include the challenges of the global feed trade and the animal feed of the future.

Despite all efforts along product chains, animal feed can occasionally become contaminated with undesirable substances, including plant and fungal toxins and other environmental contaminants. The BfR uses feeding studies to investigate whether certain substances can pass into foods of animal origin. “If important data is missing, it is our task to close any knowledge gaps,” says Dr. Robert Pieper, responsible at the BfR for topics related to safety in the food chain.

The new issue also deals with insects in food – for some, an alternative to meat products, for others, hard to imagine as food. The BfR investigates whether eating them can cause health problems. Raw foods and the correct way to handle them are another topic in the magazine, as are health risks that may come from nicotine pouches or period panties.

Furthermore, the magazine looks at whether hormonally active substances could be responsible for a supposed sperm crisis, as well as possible ways to use fewer laboratory animals. The controversy “In good faith” is about trust in science and research. We asked: What is the state of their reputation?

With other topics, including vitamin C and the migration of substances from packaging materials into food, the current scientific magazine BfR2GO provides, as always, compact and filled to the brim with knowledge, up-to-date and well-founded information on research and its assessment in consumer health protection and the protection of laboratory animals. Each issue presents a topic focusing on one of the BfR’s current fields of work. Moreover, there are reports, interviews and news from all areas of the BfR’s work.

The latest issue appears in a new look as well as with renamed chapters and, as always, optionally in German or English. It is published on the BfR website and can be downloaded free of charge or ordered directly for leafing through it. Those who would like to receive BfR2GO on a continuing basis can sign up for a free subscription.

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). The BfR 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.


Publications - Science Magazine

Date Title Size
Science Magazine
BfR2GO, Issue 1/2023, Main Topic: Animal feed 7.8 MB


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