Unit Nutritional Risks, Allergies and Novel Foods

The main task of this Unit is the nutritional-physiological/nutritional-medical assessment of nutrients and other substances with physiological action in conventional foods including

  • Food supplements and fortified foods
  • Dietetic foods
  • Novel foods and novel food ingredients
  • Food from genetically modified organisms

The risks of both the excessive and insufficient intake of essential nutrients are evaluated. Furthermore, the Unit addresses questions on selected food risks and allergies. The results from international, national and, in some cases, the Unit’s own research activities are used as the basis for the assessments.

Furthermore, the Unit prepares opinions on infant formula, the composition of infant formula, follow-up formula and weaning food. Moreover, the secretariat of the BfR Committee for Nutrition, Dietetic Products, Novel Foods and Allergies is attached to the Unit.

The Unit also prepares opinions on initiatives, legislative procedures, public authority procedures and negotiations on the national and international levels. It presents them for example to the Working Group of Food Law Experts of the Länder and BVL (ALS) and to other national and international working groups and committees.

Main areas of work and research

  • Risk assessment of secondary plant ingredients and other substances with specific nutritional or physiological effects
  • Folic acid and its epigenetic impact
  • Scientific assessment concepts for micronutrients and other food ingredients

Head of Unit

PD Dr. Karen I. Hirsch-Ernst


Visitors' address
Max-Dohrn-Str. 8-10
D - 10589 Berlin

Postal address
Max-Dohrn-Str. 8-10
D - 10589 Berlin



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