PLANT food supplements: Levels of Intake, Benefit and Risk Assessment

Key data
Acronym: 
PlantLIBRA
Project type: 
Large-scale integrating project for specific cooperation actions dedicated to international cooperation partner countries (SICA), Co-financed in the context of the 7th EU Framework Programme (FP7)
Project reference ID: 
EC project number 245199
Duration: 
01 June 2010 - 31 May 2014
Budget: 
7.82 million €
Funding: 
5.99 million €
Coordinator
Name of Coordinator: 
Patrizia Restani
Organisation: 
Università degli Studi di Milano, Dept. Pharmacological Sciences
Country: 
 IT (Italy)
Description
Short summary: 

PlantLIBRA stands for Plant Food Supplements: Levels of Intake, Benefit and Risk Assessment. Plant food supplements, or botanicals, have high acceptance by European consumers. Potentially, they can deliver significant health benefits, safely, and at relatively low costs. New regulations and EFSA guidance are also now in. However, concerns about safety, quality and efficacy of these products remain, and bottlenecks in risk and benefit assessments need to be solved.

This EU funded project aims to foster the safe use of food supplements containing plants or botanical preparations, by increasing science-based decision-making by regulators and food chain operators. To make informed decisions, competent authorities and food businesses need more quality-assured and accessible information and better tools (e.g. meta data bases).

PlantLIBRA aims to develop, validate and disseminate data and methodologies for risk and benefit assessment and implement sustainable international cooperation.

International cooperation, on-spot and in-language capacity building are necessary to ensure the quality of the plants imported in the EU. PlantLIBRA spans 4 continents and 25 partners, comprising leading academics, Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises, industry and non-profit organizations. Through its partners it exploits the databases and methodologies of two Networks of Excellence, EuroFIR and MoniQA.

PlantLIBRA intends to fill the exisiting gaps of intake data by conducting harmonised field surveys in the regions of the EU and apply consumer sciences to botanicals. Existing composition and safety data will be collated into a meta-database and new analytical data and methods will be generated.

The overarching aim is to integrate diverse scientific expertise into a single “science of botanicals”. PlantLIBRA works closely with EFSA since several PlantLIBRA partners and experts are involved in the relevant EFSA Working Groups, and also plans shoulder-to-shoulder cooperation with competent authorities and stakeholders.

PlantLIBRA spans 4 continents and 25 partners, comprising leading academics, Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises, industry and non-profit organizations. Through its partners it exploits the databases and methodologies of two Networks of Excellence, EuroFIR and MoniQA.

ICC's role: 

WP6: PlantLIBRA is coordinated by the University of Milan. ICC is partner in PlantLIBRA and will be involved in WP6 that aims to develop, test and apply a sustainable integrated meta-database of composition, biologically active compounds, safety information, residues and contaminants. ICC will prepare the initial list of contaminants and residues based on the MoniQA list. The PlantLIBRA meta-database will be linked to the MoniQA food safety hazards database.

WP7: Moreover, ICC will work in WP7 which coordinates scientific research on botanical ingredients and plant food supplements: plant identity, methods, new compounds, and a network of laboratories. The objective of WP7 is to provide new experimental data and methods to support the meta-database on the basis of gaps identified (WP6) and to create an international network of laboratories that can perform reliable analytical assays concerning plant food supplements. Using a step-wise approach, at least 100 analytical methods for the determination of the main classes of botanical bioactive compounds, contaminants, residues and biomarker will be set up and validated.

WP9: Together with the other WP7 participants ICC will contribute to the creation of a network of laboratories capable to perform reliable analytical assays on plant and botanical preparations and on biological markers. ICC Services GmbH will also participate in PlantLIBRA contributing to the organisation of two workshops within WP9 on dissemination to the scientific community, taking into account dissemination opportunities offered by the MoniQA network, at the international level.

Contact
Contact person at ICC: 
Marcella Gross-Varga