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Risk-benefit analysis in food safety and nutrition

Farakos, Sofia Santillana, Membré, Jeanne Marie, Santillana Farakos, Sofia, Nauta, Maarten
Current opinion in food science 2021 v.39 pp. 76-82
dietary recommendations, disability-adjusted life year, food composition, food safety, foods, health effects assessments, microbiology, models, population, public health, risk-benefit analysis, sustainable agriculture, toxicology
Risk-benefit analysis of foods including a formal public health assessment followed by management and communication has been establishing itself as a scientific discipline during the past 15 years. Risk-Benefit Assessments (RBAs), integrating nutrition, toxicology and microbiology, have been increasingly conducted for a variety of foods and food components. Quantitative models in these assessments often use the Disability Adjusted Life Year (DALY) as a common health metric, as it allows for comparison of diverse health effects. Results are typically reported by population group to capture differences in health outcomes and target communication. Strengthening the links between a formal RBA, risk-benefit management decisions and dietary recommendations communicated to the public will improve transparency and potentially public health outcomes. In the coming years, sustainable food production and other factors in addition to public health might result in risk-benefit analysis becoming part of the broader food system analysis.