New surveys boost food consumption database

EFSA has expanded its food consumption database with a new batch of data collected under the EU Menu project.

The new release includes nine additional dietary surveys carried out in six countries – Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, the Netherlands and Slovenia. The surveys provide new information in all age groups covered by the EU Menu – infants, toddlers, children, adolescents, adults, the elderly, and special groups. For the first time, the statistics are broken down by gender.

The aim of the EU Menu project is to gather high-quality, harmonised data from Member States, covering all age groups from three months to 74 years. Standardising the way data is collected makes the information easier to compare and improves the quality of the risk assessments carried out by EFSA that rely on dietary information.

Sofia Ioannidou, manager of the EU Menu project, said: “This release significantly increases the proportion of harmonised information in the database. Τhe additions mean that more than half of the surveys covering infants, toddlers, adolescents, adults and special groups were carried out using the EU Menu methodology.

“The project continues to make great progress thanks to the commitment of EFSA’s partners in the Member States.”

The food consumption database plays a key role in the evaluation of the risks related to possible hazards in food, allowing estimates of consumers’ exposure to such hazards, a fundamental step in the risk assessment process.

Since 2011 EFSA has provided financial support and guidance on data collection to 21 countries under the EU Menu umbrella. So far 17 surveys have been completed by 11 countries. Additional surveys will be added to EFSA’s database over the coming years.

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