The EFSA Comprehensive European Food Consumption Database

The Comprehensive Food Consumption Database is a source of information on food consumption across the European Union (EU). It contains detailed data for a number of EU countries. The database plays a key role in the evaluation of the risks related to possible hazards in food in the EU and allows estimates of consumers’ exposure to such hazards, a fundamental step in EFSA’s risk assessment work. The database will also be relevant in future for other fields of EFSA’s work, such as the assessment of nutrient intakes of the EU population.

EFSA used its food classification system ‘FoodEx’ to categorise all foods and beverages included in the Comprehensive Database.

Summary statistics from the database enable quick screening for chronic and acute exposure to substances that may be found in the food chain. In the database, dietary surveys and food consumption data for each country are divided by category. These include: age, from infants to adults aged 75 years or older; food group (nearly 160) and type of consumption, covering both regular and high consumption thus allowing calculations to be tailored to each category of consumer. The statistics on food consumption are reported in grams per day, as well as grams per day per kg of body weight.

  • Food consumption statistics according to the FoodEx food classification system for the total population and for consumers of respective food categories only.

For certain specific food categories, particularly those related to regulated products, EFSA makes summary statistics of human 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.

Previous work on food consumption: the EFSA Concise European Food Consumption Database

In 2008 EFSA published its Concise Database that gathered data on food consumption for adults in Europe. Data were elaborated at country level according to both broad categories (e.g. milk and dairy-based products) and subcategories (e.g. cheese). It served as a starting point for EFSA to develop the EFSA Comprehensive European Food Consumption Database that provides information in more refined food categories and specific population groups.