Animal-free research into food safety

Healthy and digestible food

To what extent are the ingredients of the food we eat safe, healthy and digestible? That question needs to be answered for each and every food product placed on the market. For example, certain food proteins are tested for their tendency to provoke allergic responses in humans.

Food studies cover all substances that are ingested orally, pass through the gastrointestinal tract, are absorbed in the blood and are subsequently transported to other organs in the human body.

Alternative testing without animals

Despite the fact that some animal studies remain compulsory, food studies actually require less and less animal studies thanks to the development of alternative methods to assess the safety, healthiness and digestibility of food components.

Wageningen Food Safety Research (WFSR, formerly RIKILT) was commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality to conduct research into the development and validation of alternatives to animal procedures, especially within the context of food safety studies. WFSR is also a member of EU-NETVAL, a network of European laboratories that carry out validation studies of such alternatives under the supervision of the European Commission.

WFSR is currently participating in a major European study into animal-free methods for testing the effects of substances on the human hormone system. Such methods will be able to prevent thousands of tests on animals in the future.