Federal minister Julia Klöckner visits the BfR MEAL Study Kitchen

What's in our food? This was one of the questions that federal minister Julia Klöckner followed up on in the BfR MEAL study kitchen during her visit to the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) on 4 June 2019. For the first time in Germany, this project sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) examines systematically and on a large scale which substances are contained in which quantities in prepared foods. "Food safety is not negotiable and the same applies to animal feeds, products and chemicals. Whatever is sold here in Germany must be safe. Independent, reliable and sound risk assessments are therefore indispensable where the protection of consumer health is concerned.  These data and facts are the base of our political decision making, and they have to be! Thanks to its scientific competence in combination with successful communication, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment has gained a great deal of credibility. A current beacon of this is the MEAL study, which my ministry is sponsoring to the tune of 13 million euros over a period of seven years. For the first time, it is being examined in detail which influence the preparation of food has on the substances it contains. Ingredients are being analysed for the first time in the state in which they are actually eaten. This is another milestone on the way to strengthening consumer health protection in Germany," explains Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, Julia Klöckner.

On a tour around the study kitchen, BfR scientists demonstrated how foods are converted into meals the way they are typically served in Germany. In a study set to last for seven years, the BfR MEAL team will be examining roughly 60,000 foods for almost 300 desired and undesired substances. "We have a high level of food safety in Germany and Europe. With research projects like the BfR MEAL study, we are helping to improve it even further as we find out more and more about the actual composition of our food," says BfR President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel. The first results are to be published in the course of 2019.