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National and European food policy, including regulations and advice to consumers, should take account of the risks and benefits of different foods, i.e. their positive and negative effects on human health. Information on risks and benefits should also be available to other interested parties including food producers, retailers and consumers.
Usually, information on risks and benefits is presented separately. This is unsatisfactory, because it leaves the recipient uncertain as to the balance of risk and benefit. Ideally, information on risk and benefit should be combined to provide an indication of the overall effect of particular dietary choices, i.e. the net health impact.
The central goal of QALIBRA is therefore to develop improved approaches for the assessment and communication of net health impacts of dietary choices. To maximise dissemination and uptake of the project outputs, they will be implemented as web-enabled software.
Uncertainties affecting risks and benefits cause uncertainty about the magnitude and even the direction of the net health impact. Therefore the approaches developed by QALIBRA aim to take account of uncertainties and communicate them effectively to both technical users and consumers.
The specific objectives of QALIBRA were therefore as follows:
1. Develop a generalised modular approach to risk-benefit assessment,
2. Implement the approaches in web-enabled software, with different components adapted to different user groups,
3. Develop targeted risk-benefit communication strategies for integrated risk-benefit analysis, adapted to the needs of different stakeholders,
4. Use the methods and software developed by QALIBRA to carry out detailed case studies on the risks and benefits of oily fish and functional foods,
5. Establish information-sharing and joint activities with BENERIS, another EU-funded project undertaking complementary research,
6. Project management.
This report presents the final version of the QALIBRA risk-benefit framework. It describes how the computations and integration of risks and benefits are performed in the Qalibra tool. It takes into account experience gained in the case studies conducted within Qalibra and comments received from EU-reviewers, the Qalibra Scientific Advisory Panel, and participants at 2 Qalibra workshops in 2009. In addition, it is designed to be compatible with the tiered approach developed by the BRAFO project (see below), another EU project on risk-benefit analysis with which Qalibra cooperated closely.