Risk-Benefit Assessment


Food contains necessary and beneficial components and may also contain potentially adverse components. Moreover, a specific food or its components may have both beneficial and adverse effects. Risk-benefit assessment is the comparison of the risk of a situation to its related benefits, i.e. a comparison of scenarios estimating the overall health impact. The risk-benefit analysis paradigm mirrors the classical risk analysis one: risk-benefit assessment goes hand-in-hand with risk-benefit management and risk-benefit communication.


The various health effects associated with food consumption, together with the increasing demand for advice on healthy and safe diets, have led to the development of different research disciplines in food safety and nutrition. In this sense, there is a clear need for a holistic approach, including and comparing all of the relevant health risks and benefits.

The risk-benefit assessment of foods is a valuable approach to estimate the overall impact of food on health. It aims to assess together the negative and positive health effects associated with food intake by integrating chemical and microbiological risk assessment with risk and benefit assessment in food safety and nutrition.


Detailed information can be found:

DTU: https://www.food.dtu.dk/english/research/risk-benefit

DTU: https://www.food.dtu.dk/english/news/nyhed?id=9098fe1e-2977-4059-820c-0fcac7975087

RIVM: https://www.rivm.nl/benefit-risk-beoordeling-van-voeding

European Burden of Disease Network: https://www.burden-eu.net/

Parma Summer School 2019 “Risk-benefit in food safety and nutrition”: http://www.parmasummerschool.unipr.it/

What do I offer

- Framing and designing of risk-benefit projects.

- Execution of risk-benefit projects.

- Presenting on holistic concepts in food safety and nutrition.

- Collaboration in (EU) projects as an SME and/or as the Danish Technical University.


Expertise with the topic


- Visiting professor of risk-benefit at DTU Copenhagen (https://www.food.dtu.dk/english/research/risk-benefit ).

- Most frequent (co-)author of publications on risk-benefit in food worldwide (ca 20 full papers).

- EU project BRAFO (https://ilsi.eu/brafo/): steering committee member, co-author of papers.

- EU project BEPRARIBEAN (http://en.opasnet.org/w/Bepraribean): overall chair, (co-)author of all papers.

- EU projects Qalibra (http://www.qalibra.eu/ ) and Beneris (http://en.opasnet.org/w/Beneris): co-author, Guest Editor of final publication (H. Verhagen and O. Leino. Integrated Benefit and Risk Analysis for Assessing Food Safety and Health Benefit; Results from QALIBRA and BENERIS. Food and Chemical Toxicology (2013), volume 54, issue 4.

- Contributing to nearly all EFSA activities on risk-benefit.


Some key publications in the area


  • Vellinga Reina Elisabeth, Sam Matthijs, Verhagen Hans, Jakobsen Lea Sletting, Ravn-Haren Gitte, Sugimoto Minami, Torres Duarte, Katagiri Ryoko, Thu Beate Julie, Granby Kit, Hoekstra Jeljer, Temme Elisabeth Helena Maria (2022). Increasing Seaweed Consumption in the Netherlands and Portugal and the Consequences for the Intake of Iodine, Sodium, and Exposure to Chemical Contaminants: A Risk-Benefit Study. Frontiers in Nutrition 8: 1042.
  • Sofie Theresa Thomsen, Ricardo Assunção, Cláudia Afonso, Géraldine Boué, Carlos Cardoso, Francesco Cubadda, Alberto Garre, Johannes W. Kruisselbrink, Alberto Mantovani, János G. Pitter, Morten Poulsen, Hans Verhagen, Ermolaos Ververis, Hilko van der Voet, Bernhard Watzl & Sara M. Pires (2021) Human health risk–benefit assessment of fish and other seafood: a scoping review, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, DOI: 10.1080/10408398.2021.1915240
  • H. Verhagen, C. Alonso-Andicoberry, R. Assunção, F. Cavaliere, H. Eneroth, J. Hoekstra, S. Koulouris, A. Kouroumalis, S. Lorenzetti, A. Mantovani, D. Menozzi, M. Nauta, M. Poulsen, J. Rubert, A. Siani, V. Sirot, G. Spaggiari, S.T.Thomsen, M. Trevisan, P. Cozzini, (2021) Risk-benefit in food safety and nutrition – Outcome of the 2019 Parma Summer School, Food Research International, 141, 110073. 
  • Verhagen H., Tijhuis M.J., Gunnlaugsdottir H., Kalogeras N., Leino O., Luteijn J.M., Magnusson S.H., Odekerken G., Pohjola M.V., Tuomisto J.T., Ueland O., White B.C., Holm F. (2012). State of the Art in Benefit-Risk Analysis: Introduction. Food and Chemical Toxicology 50: 2-4.
  • Tijhuis M.J., de Jong N., Pohjola M.V., Gunnlaugsdottir H., Hendriksen M., Hoekstra J., Holm F., Kalogeras N., Leino O., van Leeuwen R., Luteijn J.M., Magnusson S.H., Odekerken G., Rompelberg C., Tuomisto J.T., Ueland O., White B.C., Verhagen H. (2012). State of the Art in Benefit-Risk Analysis: Food and Nutrition. Food and Chemical Toxicology 50: 5-25.
  • Tijhuis MJ, Pohjola MV, Gunnlaugsdóttir H, Kalogeras N, Leino O, Luteijn JM, Magnússon SH, Odekerken-Schröder G, Poto M, Tuomisto JT, Ueland O, White BC, Holm F, Verhagen H. (2012). Looking beyond borders: Integrating best practices in benefit-risk analysis into the field of Food and Nutrition. Food and Chemical Toxicology 50: 77-93.
  • Verhagen H, Andersen R, Antoine JM, Finglas P, Hoekstra J, Kardinaal A, Nordmann H, Pekcan G, Pentieva K, Sanders TA, van den Berg H, van Kranen H, Chiodini A. (2012) Application of the BRAFO tiered approach for benefit-risk assessment to case studies on dietary interventions. Food and Chemical Toxicology 50, Suppl 4: S710-723
  • Boobis A, Chiodine. A., Hoekstra J, Lagiou P., Przyrembel H., Schlatter J., Schütte K, Verhagen H, Watzl B, (2013). Critical appraisal of the assessment of benefits and risks for foods, ‘BRAFO Consensus Working Group. Food Chem Toxicol. 55: 659–675
  • Hoekstra J, Hart A, Boobis A, Claupein E, Cockburn A, Hunt A, Knudsen I, Richardson D, Schilter B, Schütte K, Torgerson PR, Verhagen H, Watzl B, Chiodini A. (2010). BRAFO tiered approach for benefit-risk assessment of foods. Food Chem Toxicol. 50, Suppl 4, S684–S698. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20546818
  • Hoekstra J., Verkaik-Kloosterman J., Rompelberg C., van Kranen H., Zeilmaker M., Verhagen H, de Jong (2008). Integrated risk–benefit analyses: Method development with folic acid as example. Food Chem. Tox. 46: 893-909.
  • Renwick A.G., Flynn A., Fletcher R.J., Müller D.J.G., Tuijtelaars S., Verhagen H. (2004). Risk-Benefit analysis of micronutrients. Food and Chemical Toxicology 42: 1903-1922.