D.P.H. Hsieh


Food factors (FF) are nutrients and other related substances present in processed foods for special dietary uses related to health promotion and disease prevention. Due to the nutritional and other favorable effects of FF, their health risk assessment is more complex than the established food safety risk assessment (FSRA) that addresses excessive intakes of food additives and contaminants. For FF, risk assessment adds a new dimension to also address risks posed by inadequate intake of these food constituents, and is referred to as nutritional risk assessment (NRA). NRA consists of the four standard steps of FSRA: hazard identification, hazard characterization, intake assessment and risk characterization. The added challenges in NRA of FF include: 1) identification of target chemicals for assessment, 2) availability of data on critical biological activities, 3) occurrence of FF in total diet, and 4) information on lower limits and upper limits of daily intakes. Resveratrol, an extensively marketed red wine antioxidant, is used as an example to illustrate the complexity and challenges in the health risk assessment of a FF in a functional food product.