First field phase completed: 135,000 analytical results show what`s in your food

Germany’s first Total Diet Study – the BfR MEAL Study – has completed the first of two field phases. In the past two and a half years, the BfR MEAL Study team has purchased almost 30,000 food items and then prepared more than 9,000 recipes in the specially fitted study kitchen, the same way they are normally dished up in Germany. The team obtained 135,000 individual results from assigned and accredited laboratories about levels of substances found in prepared food. In the first field phase, these included substances from the core module such as heavy metals and dioxins, but also nutrients, mycotoxins, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and perfluorinated tensides (PFT), as well as mineral oil saturated and aromatic hydrocarbons (MOSH/MOAH).

The obtained data is currently being reviewed for plausibility and matched with the available consumption data for exposure assessment. The BfR MEAL Study scientists will publish the first results of methylmercury in the course of this year.

Meanwhile, the team began with the second field phase. The focus is on harmful substances resulting from process contaminants, plant protection product residues, additives, pharmacologically active substances and substances migrating from food contact material.

Currently, six scientists, three purchasers, two chefs and two kitchen assistant, three employees for homogenisation, three documentation assistants and one scientific officer for public relations are working in the BfR MEAL Study team.