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

Lead Research Organisation: Quadram Institute Bioscience
Department Name: Contracts


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 bottle-necks in risk and benefit assessments need to be solved. PlantLIBRA (PLANT food supplements: Levels of Intake, Benefit and Risk Assessment) aims to foster the safe use of food supplements containing plants or herbal extracts, 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., metadatabanks). PlantLIBRA is structured 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 23 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 Network of Excellences, EuroFIR and Moniqa. Plantlibra will also fill the gap in intake data by conducting harmonized 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-databank 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 or experts are involved in the relevant EFSA Working Groups, and also plans shoulder-to-shoulder cooperation with competent authorities and stakeholders.


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Kiely M (2010) EuroFIR eBASIS: application for health claims submissions and evaluations. in European journal of clinical nutrition

Description ePlantLIBRA database
A new database containing Plant and Plant Food Supplement data for research and policy describing bioactive compounds in botanicals and herbal extracts with putative health benefits and adverse effects in PFS in Europe and globally.
ePlantLIBRA has been developed to produce a comprehensive, easily searchable database containing quality evaluated scientific information on Plant and Plant Food Supplement (PFS) bioactive compound composition, botanical information, beneficial bioactivity data and case-reports of adverse effects, as well as composition of potential contaminants.
A user-friendly, efficient and flexible interface is provided for searching, extracting, and exporting the data, including the references.
Exploitation Route The database has been used to support, facilitate and promote the compilation of validated and documented data and supporting information for PFS in Europe and globally. Potential users of the ePlantLIBRA resource: Food Authorities and Industry bodies, network of laboratories, food/PFS industry, policy makers & regulators, researchers & health professionals and poisons centers and hospitals.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice

Description An objective of the PlantLIBRA project was to create an easily searchable database with retrievable data on chemical composition, botanical information, beneficial bioactivity data and case-reports of adverse effects, as well as potential contaminants in PFS, into a single platform to enable PFS risk-benefit assessments. ePlantLIBRA plants are searchable by common and scientific name, additionally reports can be led by compound name, and as extra value links to all references are downloadable. The meta-database ePlantLIBRA development is based on three existing databases; eBASIS (Bioactive Substances in Food Information System), developed by EuroFIR (; the MoniQA contaminants database, EU FP6-funded MoniQA (Monitoring and Quality Assurance in the total food supply chain) database (; and Fera's HorizonScan database (
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Policy & public services