The BfR MEAL Study

In what quantities do we ingest desirable and undesirable substances on average through our food? Are certain foods more contaminated than others? And what health effects does the preparation method have on the food? Total Diet Studies (TDS) help to answer these and other questions.

The BfR MEAL Study is a Total Diet Study (TDS)

Total Diet Study  is the name given to a method recommended by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and World Health Organisation (WHO) as well as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to determine the mean concentrations of substances in the average human diet. The first Total Diet Study for Germany was launched in 2015.

The BfR was commissioned to conduct the study by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agricuture (BMEL). The first German Total Diet Study is called the BfR MEAL Study (Mahlzeiten für die Expositionsschätzung und Analytik von Lebensmitteln – "meals for exposure assessment and analysis of foods") and is scheduled to run for seven years. For the first time in Germany, a representative range of foods in ready-to-eat condition will be systematically analysed – in other words, they will be prepared in the manner in which they are usually eaten.

The findings of the BfR MEAL Study improve the risk assessment process

Among other things, the results of the BfR MEAL Study will serve as a basis for the identification of potential risks arising from the consumption of foods. The data can be used to derive consumption recommendations for sensitive population groups or with regard to specific foods. Moreover, the data provides an important basis for comparison, allowing the rapid and reliable assessment of levels of undesirable substances occurring in the event of a crisis.