Peer-reviewed articles

Looking beyond borders: Integrating best practices in benefit – risk analysis into the field of Food and Nutrition

Authors: Tijhuis, MJ, Pohjola, MV, Gunnlaugsdóttir, H., Kalogeras, N., Leino, O., Luteijn, JM, Magnússon, SH, Odekerken-Schröder, G., Poto, M., Tuomisto, JT, Ueland, Ø ., White, BC, Holm, F., Verhagen, H.

Version: Food and Chemical Toxicology

Publication year: 2012


An integrated benefit – risk analysis aims to provide guidance in decision situations where benefits do not clearly prevail over risks, and explicit weighing of benefits and risks is thus indicated. The BEPRARIBEAN project aims to advance benefit – risk analysis in the area of food and nutrition by learning from other fields. This paper constitutes the final stage of the project, in which commonalities and differences in benefit – risk analysis are identified between the Food and Nutrition field and other fields, namely Medicines, Food Microbiology, Environmental Health, Economics and Marketing – Finance, and Consumer Perception . From this, ways forward are characterized for benefit – risk analysis in Food and Nutrition. Integrated benefit – risk analysis in Food and Nutrition may advance in the following ways: Increased engagement and communication between assessors, managers, and stakeholders; more pragmatic problem-oriented framing of assessment; accepting some risk; pre- and post-market analysis; explicit communication of the assessment purpose, input and output; more human (dose – response) data and more efficient use of human data; segmenting populations based on physiology; explicit consideration of value judgments in assessment; integration of multiple benefits and risks from multiple domains; explicit recognition of the impact of consumer beliefs, opinions, views, perceptions, and attitudes on behavior; and segmenting populations based on behavior; the opportunities proposed here do not provide ultimate solutions; rather, they define a collection of issues to be taken account of in developing methods, tools, practices and policies, as well as refining the regulatory context, for benefit – risk analysis in Food and Nutrition and other fields. Thus, these opportunities will now need to be further explored and incorporated into benefit – risk practice and policy. If accepted, incorporation of these opportunities will also involve a paradigm shift in Food and Nutrition benefit – risk analysis towards conceiving the analysis as a process of creating shared knowledge among all stakeholders.

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