Whilst risk management measures, including food policy, are developed for the protection of public health and the environment, they may also lead to a reduction in health benefits. Policy decisions require then consideration of these necessary trade-offs, which leads to an increasing need to apply formal risk-benefit assessment (RBA) of foods. In this context, the European Food Safety Authority sponsored a Risk-Benefit Assessment Workshop on "past, current and future developments within the risk-benefit assessment of foods (RBA)" held in May 2017. The overall aims of the RBA Workshop were to discuss existing methods, challenges and needs within RBA, and to draft a roadmap for future development of RBA. The specific objectives were to i) identify RBA activities in Europe and globally; ii) discuss how to further develop and optimize RBA methodology; iii) identify challenges and opportunities within RBA; and iv) increase collaboration internationally. The two-day workshop gathered 28 participants from 16 institutions in 11 countries. It included technical presentations of RBA methods and case studies, and two break-out sessions for group discussions. All participants agreed that RBA has substantial potential to inform risk-management decisions in the areas of food safety, nutrition and public health. Several activities to optimize further developments within RBA were suggested. This paper provides a summary of workshop presentations, a discussion of challenges that limit progress in this area, and suggestions of next steps for this promising approach supporting a science-based decision process in the area of risk-benefit management of foods.
Risk benefit assessment of foods
Key findings from an international workshop
Pires, S. M., Boué, G., Boobis, A., Eneroth, H., Hoekstra, J., Membré, J-M., Persson, I. M., Poulsen, M., Ruzante, J., van Klaveren, J., Thomsen, S. T., & Nauta, M. J. (2019). Risk benefit assessment of foods: Key findings from an international workshop. Food Research International, 116, 859-869. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2018.09.021