FOODBALL identifies and validates food biomarkers to improve quality of dietary assessment globally


Edith Feskens is Project Leader of the EU Food Biomarkers Alliance (FOODBALL), an international project funded by the European Joint Programming Initiative on "Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life" (JPI-HDHL), with the objective to fulfil the urgent need to improve knowledge and use of dietary biomarkers. Out of the 18 projects recommended for funding, 2 projects recently received a total amount of EUR 5.5 mln. Feskens was appointed by the FOODBALL consortium members to be Project Leader, due to her broad vision and knowledge in the field of nutrition, dietary assessment and epidemiology. Her consortium brings together over 20 research groups from 11 European countries and Canada. New Zealand is observer in the project.

Biomarkers covering several foods and food components may provide an object measure of actual intake and status, and provide an important adjunct to current food consumption assessments. However, only a few foods are currently covered by validated intake biomarkers and clear recommendations on biomarkers concerning nutrition and health are lacking.

"We try to bring dietary assessment to a higher level, globally. Biomarkers are very costly and knowledge-intensive. This project, combined with other initiatives within JPI-HDHL, will enable access to 54 human intervention studies on  > 14 000 men and women from 8 – 95 years of age, all with biobanks accessible to FOODBALL. This allows us to create a whole new toolbox for dietary assessment. We have already been approached by countries around the world with an interest to make use of our toolbox in the future."

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