Food consumption data

What and how much do Europeans eat and drink? Food consumption data are essential for assessing how exposed people are to potential risks in the food chain.

  • The EFSA Comprehensive European Food Consumption Database contains data on food consumption habits and patterns across the EU. It provides detailed information for a number of European countries in refined food categories and specific population groups. Statistics from the database enable quick screening for chronic and acute exposure to substances that may be found in the food chain.
  • For certain specific food categories, particularly those related to regulated products, EFSA makes summary statistics of food consumption data available to applicants to assist them in carrying out exposure assessments. These assessments typically form part of an applicant’s dossier that is submitted to EFSA for safety evaluation prior to the product being authorised for placement on the EU market.

EU menu - harmonising collection of food consumption data

EU Member States used different methods to collect food consumption data, which sometimes made it difficult to carry out EU-wide analyses or country-to-country comparisons. EFSA’s EU Menu project aims to provide standardised information on what people eat in all countries and regions across the EU. This allows more accurate exposure assessments and ultimately supports risk managers in their decision-making on food safety.

EFSA has developed a guidance on the EU menu methodology that was endorsed by the EFSA Network on Food Consumption Data which consists of representatives from EU institutions responsible for the collection of dietary data. The guidance provides recommendations on how to collect harmonised and high quality data in age groups ranging from three months to 74 years.

Since 2011 EFSA has supported dietary surveys on children and/or adults from 21 countries. All EU Menu projects are expected to be finalised by 2023.