Novel foods as red meat replacers – an insight using Risk Benefit Assessment methods (the NovRBA project): EFSA-Q-2022-00244

Androniki Naska*, Ermolaos Ververis, Aikaterini Niforou, Sara Monteiro Pires, Morten Poulsen, Lea S. Jakobsen, Nina Becker, Mark Lohmann, Vincent Tesson, Michel Federighi, Géraldine Boué

*Corresponding author for this work

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The project entitled “Novel foods as red meat replacers – an insight using Risk Benefit Assessment methods (NovRBA)” aimed to develop and test harmonised Risk Benefit Assessment (RBA) methods to estimate the overall health impact of replacing red meat with an edible insect species (a novel food). Based on an appraisal of insect products that are more likely to be consumed in Europe, project participants decided to compare the consumption of a beef patty consisting of 100% minced beef meat (reference scenario) with a patty in which beef meat would be fully replaced by an edible insect dough (alternative scenario). The target population was adults. The RBA steps included the problem definition, the identification, prioritization and selection of components together with associated health outcomes. The assessment included the selection of dose‐response relationships based on their internal validity (hazard characterisation) and an exposure assessment of nutrient intake and exposures to microbiological hazards and compounds of toxicological concern associated with the reference and alternative scenarios. All health outcomes were quantified according to the disability‐adjusted life years (DALYs) composite metric. The project standardised the pivotal step of selecting model components through developing a tiered approach to prioritise components establishing the “long”, the “short” and the “final” list. The final list comprised thirteen nutrients, two heat‐resistant spore‐forming bacteria and inorganic arsenic. The RBA model was developed using @Risk® add‐in software using Monte Carlo simulations considering variability and/or uncertainty. Overall the expected change in DALYs when moving from the reference scenario to the alternative one was estimated to be around 8,753 DALYs (per 100,000 population) saved in Greece, 6,572 DALYs in Denmark and 21,972 DALYs in France. This is mainly due to the overall beneficial nutritional and microbiological impacts. The proposed actions to communicate the project’s findings can be summarised in providing understandable scientific evidence to policy makers; creating opportunities for consumers to engage in‐depth with information about insect consumption; making use of multipliers who enjoy a high level of trust and establishing informational exchange with trusted sources.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherEuropean Food Safety Authority
Number of pages60
Publication statusPublished - 2022
SeriesEFSA Supporting Publications


  • Risk benefit assessment
  • Acheta domesticus
  • Edible insects
  • Beef meat
  • DALYs
  • Communication


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