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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

The Comprehensive Food Consumption Database is a source of information on food consumption across the European Union (EU). It contains detailed information for a number of EU and pre-accession 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 consumer exposure to such hazards, a fundamental step in EFSA’s risk assessment work. The database is also relevant to other fields of EFSA’s work, such as the assessment of nutrient intakes of the EU population.

In December 2022, the database underwent a major update, which included the addition of new data from Italy (substituting information collected 17 years ago) and, for the first time, data from four pre-accession countries. Three of these also cover pregnant women as a specific population group; one provides data on vegetarians.

Other amendments made as part of the update were mostly related to the classification of food items, which was aligned with the latest version of the FoodEx2 catalogue, as well as few corrections regarding the consumption of certain foods where inaccurate quantities were reported in the past.

How to use the database

Summary statistics from the database enable quick screening for chronic and acute exposure to substances and organisms 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 (over 2,500) and type of consumption, covering both regular and high consumption, thus allowing calculations to be tailored to each category of consumer.

Statistics on chronic and acute food consumption are available for:

  • the total population (“all subjects” and ”all days”) or consumers only, and
  • in grams per day (g/day) or grams per day per kilogram of body weight (g/kg bw per day).

The "Food consumption - survey details" dashboard describes dietary survey details, including age, country and gender.

Latest update: 15 December 2022

What’s on the menu in Europe – The EU Menu project

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.