Helga Gunnlaugsdottir, Research Group Leader at Matís, has recently taken part in a European project where a knowledge base was formed regarding the analysis of risk and reward in food consumption.
Representatives of seven European countries took part in the so-called SAFEFOODERA project, in most cases funded by the research funds of their respective countries. Despite that such support could not be gained from Iceland Matís chose to take part regardless with its own funds.
To ensure that it is possible to weigh the pros and/or cons of certain types of foodstuffs it is necessary to be able to evaluate their direct impact on the consumer’s health. This can only be done with a risk-versus-reward analysis. The analysis of risk and reward is a relatively new field of research
and few techniques usable for food consumption have been developed.
Helga says that the goal of this project was to use the understanding of risk-versus-reward analysis built up in other fields, such as medicine, microbiology, ecology, sociology and economics and adapt these methods for use in food science and the study of nutrition.
“Analyses like these are used, among other things, by the administration to advice on the consumption of foodstuffs and it shines a light on both the risk and reward factors. This is very important, as in many cases the rewards well outweigh the risks. In this European project we have in fact been evaluating where we are in the field of food science and nutrition and whether it is possible to utilize knowledge
and methods from other fields of study to develop and improve the risk-versus-reward analysis in food science and nutrition,” says Helga.
The group’s task has been completed and the results can be found in the 2012 January edition of the science magazine “Food and Chemical Toxicology.” It is also possible to view the results at the website www.sciencedirect.com.