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How to compare new food eating practices in terms of risk?

New food eating practices
Development of a model for simultaneous assessment of chemical and biological risks

Consumers are changing in their eating habits; currently there is a tendency to eat more raw products, to consume seeds or nuts on a regular basis, to reduce dairy products by replacing them with soy products… These practices are done in good faith, but may present certain health risks.
This study aimed firstly to identify these new practices and secondly to develop a model for the simultaneous assessment of chemical and biological risks. The fact of scoring simultaneously, that is to say with the same criteria, the chemical and biological risks, made it possible to classify the foods or the eating practices in terms of risk. Due to its skills in quantitative assessments of health risks related to food, the survey and the model were carried out by the SECALIM unit (Nantes) with the support of the MycSA unit (Bordeaux).
A wide variety of hazards, including microbes, parasites, mycotoxins, allergens and other chemical compounds have been considered, as well as a range of health effects such as foodborne illness, l anaphylaxis, cancer, immunosuppression or endocrine disorders. The risk prioritization applied to our survey results revealed that regular nut consumption may be the emerging eating practice with the highest risk score, due to the presence of aflatoxin B1 and its health effects. (liver cancer).
The work made it possible to develop a risk comparison model and to apply it to new consumer practices. The model has been tested on French data, but it is generic (that is, it can be used by other research teams who would like to classify new consumption practices in their country).
Likewise, this model would benefit from being applied in other contexts in order to assess its robustness and identify ways for improvement. It would then be a decision support tool, useful for public authorities.

Partners: This study was performed at SECALIM (INRAE-Oniris) de Nantes, en collaboration avec l’unité MycSA (INRAE) de Bordeaux.
Funding:The scientific department MICA (INRAE) funded this study
Publication: Mounia Eygue, Florence Richard-Forget, Jean-Michel Cappelier, Laetitia Pinson-Gadais, Jeanne-Marie Membré. Development of a risk-ranking framework to evaluate simultaneously biological and chemical hazards related to food safety: Application to emerging dietary practices in France. Food Control. 2020. DOI : 10.1016/j.foodcont.2020.107279