State of the art in benefit-risk analysis: Introduction

H. Verhagen, M.J. Tijhuis, H. Gunnlaugsdottir, N. Kalogeras, O. Leino, J. Luteijn, S. Magnusson, G.J. Odekerken-Schröder, M. Pohjola, J. Tuomisto, O. Ueland, B. White, F. Holm

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Abstract

Risk-taking is normal in everyday life if there are associated (perceived) benefits. Benefit-risk analysis (bra) compares the risk of a situation to its related benefits and addresses the acceptability of the risk. Over the past years bra in relation to food and food ingredients has gained attention. Food, and even the same food ingredient, may confer both beneficial and adverse effects. Measures directed at food safety may lead to suboptimal or insufficient levels of ingredients from a benefit perspective. In bra, benefits and risks of food (ingredients) are assessed in one go and may conditionally be expressed into one currency. This allows the comparison of adverse and beneficial effects to be qualitative and quantitative. A bra should help policy-makers to make more informed and balanced benefit-risk management decisions. Not allowing food benefits to occur in order to guarantee food safety is a risk management decision much the same as accepting some risk in order to achieve more benefits. Bra in food and nutrition is making progress, but difficulties remain. The field may benefit from looking across its borders to learn from other research areas. The bepraribean project (best practices for risk-benefit analysis: experience from out of food into food; http://en.opasnet.org/w/bepraribean) aims to do so, by working together with medicines, food microbiology, environmental health, economics & marketing-finance and consumer perception. All perspectives are reviewed and subsequently integrated to identify opportunities for further development of bra for food and food ingredients. Interesting issues that emerge are the varying degrees of risk that are deemed acceptable within the areas and the trend towards more open and participatory bra processes. A set of 6 ‘state of the art’ papers covering the above areas and a paper integrating the separate (re)views are published in this volume.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-4
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
Volume50
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

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