Risk assessment services

Our Risk Assessment department prepares health risk assessments along the food chain. The focus is on residues and contaminants, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and novel foods. In doing so, our experts proceed according to the principles of objective and independent risk assessment, which serves as a basis for risk management or risk communication.

Health risk assessment

When preparing comprehensive risk assessments, we take into account state-of-the-art knowledge in science and technology and adhere to the internationally recognized principles of risk assessment and risk analysis. Processing is based on the four steps of risk assessment: hazard identification, hazard characterization, exposure assessment and risk characterization.

A wide range of information is considered in assessing whether a health risk exists. This includes, among other things, information on the occurrence of substances and microorganisms in food and the intake level of food (exposure assessment). In risk characterization, the risk of a substance or microorganisms is evaluated in relation to the amount to which a person may be exposed, and thus the probability of a health effect is estimated.

Major questions always concern the health risk of contaminants and residues in the environment or agriculture. In this context, our department focuses on the possible resulting contamination of foodstuffs and the resulting exposure of humans. For this overarching assessment, we have the opportunity to involve experts with extensive experience along the entire food chain and from various disciplines.

In the context of GMO approval, we are responsible for preparing scientific, coordinated opinions to ensure that a GMO and a product produced from it do not have negative effects on human and animal health or on the environment. The Austrian opinions are submitted to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and are thus included in the risk assessment before a decision is made on an approval.

Risk information on residues and contaminants can be found here.

Risk assessment topics

Performed risk assessments are published here. We work on the following topics, among others:

Chemical substances in food and feed

  • Mycotoxins,
  • nitrates, nitrites, nitrosamines
  • POPs (dioxins and PCBs, BFRs, PFASs, other Stockholm Convention substances)
  • PAHs, acrylamide, 3-MCPD, furan
  • Toxic elements (heavy metals, light metals, trace elements)
  • Natural plant constituents (alkaloids, coumarin, prussic acid, ...)
  • Biogenic amines
  • Pesticide residues
  • Residues in drinking water
  • Residues of pharmaceuticals and hormones
  • Additives (dyes, preservatives, flavors, enzymes, ...)
  • Allergens and substances associated with food intolerances
  • Migrating substances from commodities

Microbial hazards

  • Salmonella, Campylobacter, Clostridia, viruses, etc.

Products for consumers

Genetically modified organisms

Cross-cutting issues

  • Endocrine disruptors
  • Nanoparticles (engineered)
  • Novel Food

Another tool for monitoring food of animal origin is the National Residue Control Plan. The results are published here.

Further development of methods

We are involved in the further development of risk assessment methods, in the preparation of guidelines for expert assessment, and in numerous working groups. Our risk assessors are involved in both national research projects and international research projects, contributing their expertise and methodological skills.

We also offer training on risk assessment, new approaches and methods of risk assessment and provide information on risk assessment issues in lectures.

International network

Our employees are represented in numerous national and international expert bodies, such as committees of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the European Commission, and committees of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).



DI Johann Steinwider

Last updated: 10.10.2023

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