Plant Food Supplement science and regulation meet up in Brussels

Regulators from 19 European countries, from China and the USA, debated with PlantLIBRA’s (PLANT food supplements: Levels of Intake, Benefit and Risk Assessment) project partners on outcomes and strategies to tackle  priorities in the science of  plant food supplements. The discussions took place during PlantLIBRA’s first Policy Advisory Board (PAB) meeting held last 27th and 28th  of September in Brussels. Francesco Carlucci of the EC Directorate General for Health and Consumers, who attended the meeting, expressed that the DG Health and Consumers is following the research project with interest and that discussions within the Directorate are ongoing on health claims on botanicals. PlantLIBRA is investigating the benefits of botanicals.

Another of the project’s outcomes, a meta-database being developed for plant food supplements, was presented and raised great interest among participants. PAB chairman Mr Joris Geelen of Belgium’s Federal Public Service (FPS) noted the database’s value for experts and policy makers dealing with quality assurance and assessment of risks and benefits of plant food supplements. Furthermore, the board’s members asked for clearer guidelines to interpret scientific evidence on botanicals. Catherine Ecclestone from the EC’s Research Directorate also participated in the meeting.

With this fruitful exchange, PlantLIBRA researchers continue progress to facilitate science-based decision-making in the area of plant food supplements in the interest of consumers. The event was hosted by Belgium’s FPS, and organized in cooperation with the European Botanical Forum, the international food consultancy EAS and Hylobates Consulting, who are partners of the PlantLIBRA’s project.

 

PlantLIBRA (acronym of PLANT food supplements: Levels of Intake, Benefit and Risk Assessment) is a project co-financed in the context of the 7th EU Framework Program. For more information on the project and plant food supplements, please visit http://www.plantlibra.eu/web/

 

– The PlantLIBRA Management Team-

Scientists of EU-funded R&D project meet policy makers to boost the science of plant food supplements

Regulators from across the world will work with the project’s nutritionists, toxicologists and other researchers to identify scientific priorities

Leading scientists of PlantLIBRA (PLANT food supplements: Levels of Intake, Benefit and Risk Assessment) are meeting today with policy regulators of 19 European countries, from the European Commission, from China and from the United States. The meeting will take place in Brussels on the 27th and the 28th of September. Researchers will present project progress and expected outcomes, while hearing from policymakers how they can help facilitate science-based decision-making in this area.

Plant extracts have for centuries provided health benefits to consumers. The use of botanical ingredients, while growing across Europe and worldwide, is facing uncertainty in both regulation and science which may limit its future development. PlantLIBRA has brought scientist together in order to provide more data, knowledge and an enhanced science-based decision-making framework to assess benefits and risks of plant food supplements, with the ultimate goal of benefiting consumers.

The event, which is not open to the public, is PlantLIBRA’s first Policy Advisory Board (PAB)  meeting. It is hosted by Belgium’s Federal Public Service (FPS) Health, Food chain safety and Environment, and organized in cooperation with international food consultancy EAS and the European Botanical Forum, partners of the PlantLIBRA’s project. Mr Joris Geelen of Belgium’s FPS Health is the chair of PlantLIBRA’s PAB.

Hylobates Consulting of Italy, another partner of PlantLIBRA, will present progress in the development of risk-benefit assessment methods for botanicals and discuss with participants the best approach to improve regulatory decisions about plant food supplements in the European Union.

About PlantLIBRA

PlantLIBRA (acronym of PLANT food supplements: Levels of Intake, Benefit and Risk Assessment) is a project co-financed in the context of the 7th EU Framework Program. It began in June 2010 and represents a consortium from four continents, made up of 25 universities and public research institutions, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), industry and non-profit organizations.

– The PlantLIBRA Management Team-

PlantLIBRA goes to Brussels

PlantLIBRA partners (PLANT food supplements: Levels of Intake, Benefit and Risk Assessment) are preparing to meet in Brussels the 27th and the 28th of September with policy regulators of 19 European countries, and authorities of China and the USA, to present project progress and discuss outcomes and on-going activities. Project goal is to provide EU and national policy regulators with an enhanced science-based decision-making framework to evaluate and assess benefits and risks of plant food supplements. The first PlantLIBRA Policy Advisory Board (PAB) meeting will be hosted by Belgium’s FPS Health, Food chain safety and Environment, and is organized in cooperation with the European Advisory Services (EAS), one of PlantLIBRA partners working on the project’s policy implications.

The event will promote discussion on plant food supplements between actors of policy and science. The actors of the regulatory field will learn from the expected outcomes of the project and through this exchange, the PlantLIBRA researchers will also be able to get the needed insights for the elaboration of adequate methodologies and accessible databases for an improved risk benefit assessment specific to plant food supplements.

The PlantLIBRA Management Team

Hylobates’ director interviewed on the origins of PlantLIBRA and the botanicals meta-database

PlantLIBRA International Innovation Article

In the new issue of International Innovation, Patrizia Restani, PlantLIBRA‘s coordinator, Patrick Coppens, from the European Botanical Forum  and Hylobates’ Luca Bucchini tell about the PlantLIBRA project. As project manager, Luca recounts the origins of the project proposal and one of its key concepts, the botanicals and Plant Food Supplement database. The issue can be accessd on line. The article can also be downloaded, p84-86_PlantLIBRA

– The PlantLIBRA Management Team –

Risk/benefit assessment of plant food supplements on “display” at the 20th Society for Risk Analysis Europe Meeting

Hylobates Consulting is working on the development of a risk/benefit assessment of plant food supplements (PFS) together with the National Institute for Health and Welfare of Kuopio (Finland), as partners of PlantLIBRA EU funded project (for more information visit http://www.plantlibra.eu). Preliminary results on the work done so far were presented at the poster session of the 20th Meeting of the Society for Risk Analysis Europe, which was held in Stuttgart (Germany) on June, 6th -8th.

The model under development will be the result of the integration of existing models for risk/benefit assessments used in other sectors and for other products, such as food and drugs. To achieve this purpose, literature on methods currently in use, such as the one provided by the European Food Safety Agency for risk/benefit assessment of food or methods proposed by the European Medicine Agency for drugs,  is being revised by researchers at Hylobates Consulting.

Of course the final model will have to meet the various features of plant food supplements and will have to be adaptable to the characteristics of the finished product for which the assessment is required (extract, plant species, specific compounds). This represent the challenge which researchers are currently facing in the integration of risk/benefit approaches currently existing.

The National Institute for Health and Welfare of Kuopio (Finland) is at the same time working on developing an open assessment for risk/benefit of plant food supplements through a Wiki-platform named Opasnet. By this way, the approach developed will be freely accessible both for scientific scrutiny and policy use at the same time.

Antonella Guzzon – Research team

Professor Witkamp PlantLIBRA’s Scientific Advisory Board’s vice-chair interviewed on foods and pharma convergence

Professor Witkamp

During a conference in Lille, Renger Witkamp, Professor of Nutrition and Pharmacology at Wageningen  University in the Netherlands, and PlantLIBRA’s Scientific Advisory Board vice-chair, has lately given an interesting interview on the hot topic of the convergence of food and pharmaceuticals. The Scientific Advisory Board provides advice on the progress of the PlantLIBRA EC project and helps ensure that the PlantLIBRA’s output is of the highest scientific quality. Hylobates provides the secretariat to the Board. The interview can be found on the daily online news on the website NutraIngredients.com.

The PlantLIBRA Project Management Team

Thinking ahead for the PlantLIBRA project.

After a intensive work week at the PlantLIBRA project meeting in Brasov in the middle of May, the Project Management Team has recharged energies, is taking actions in the project organization, and is planning the next steps of work.

This last meeting has given all of us the chance to reflect and to learn from all the events and outcomes of this international event, and given us helpful insights to even start planning the project’s next meeting in one year. This second project meeting  has provided us with the valuable opportunity to meet our partners, many for the first time in person since the beginning of the project. We exchanged views on plant food supplements, and shared ideas and enthusiasm about the work we are carrying on. The lessons of this first year has made us aware of achievements and problems areas to prepare us for the next work period.

A special acknowledgment for the kind and well appreciated organization and hospitality goes to PlantLIBRA partners of  the University of Transilvania, Dr Mihaela Badea and Monica Florescu, who have provided their constant support and efforts during the whole Project meeting.

Sonia Rebustini, PlantLIBRA Management Team

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