The paradox of addressing dietary components that both offer health benefits and pose some risk is a long-standing challenge facing risk assessors. A team of ToxStrategies toxicologists, led by Dr. Daniele Wikoff, recently took an important step in resolving this issue with acceptance of a peer-reviewed article on their assessment of the risks and benefits of dietary nitrate consumption. The article, to appear soon in Food and Chemical Toxicology, describes the team’s application of the Benefit-Risk Analysis for Foods (BRAFO) framework to dietary nitrate, enabling consideration of the probability of an adverse effect occurring vs. the probability of a benefit. They evaluated risk and benefit associated with an intake of 3.7 mg/kg-day or higher (3.7 mg/kg-day is the acceptable daily intake [ADI] set by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives [JECFA]). The comparison of benefits and risks at exposure levels higher than the ADI concluded that, for consumers aged 12 weeks and older, ADI values of ∼12–17 mg/kg-day would allow benefits to be realized while still protecting public health.
Wikoff DS, Thompson C, Rager J, Chappell G, Fitch S, Doepker C. 2018. Benefit-risk analysis for foods (BRAFO): Evaluation of exposure to dietary nitrates. Food Chem Toxicol (in press; preview available here).