A new EU funded project aims to tackle the growing burden of heart disease in Europe by building a solid science for the heart healthy properties of food bioactives.
With cardiovascular disease causing almost half of all deaths in the European Union, and spiralling healthcare costs that currently cost Member States approximately €195 billion, the research team behind the new project say that new measures to reverse these trends are ‘essential’.
The new €6 million project, led by researchers at the UK’s Institute for Food Research (IFR), will focus on developing resources that help to build ‘robust and exploitable scientific evidence’ to support a cause-and-effect relationship between consumption of bioactive peptides and polyphenols and a positive impact on heart health.
Known as ‘Beneficial effects of dietary bioactive peptides and polyphenols on cardiovascular health in humans’ (BACCHUS), the work will focus on the action of bioactive substances found in foods that are common in European diets including: apple, chokeberry, sweet oranges, pomegranate, cured pork products and wheat.
Building the evidence
The seventh-framework research project will also support European SMEs creating new food products aimed at boosting cardiovascular health, by helping to build the scientific evidence and tools essential for health claims dossiers seeking a favourable opinion from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
Project coordinator Paul Kroon from the IFR said the BACCHUS project will bring together 16 SMEs that are involved in developing food products and pursuing health claims, and 12 leading research organisations with expertise in health claims legislation and food and health research.
The research and development effort funding brings together a total of 28 stakeholders.
BACCHUS will extend the work created by sixth-framework research project eBASIS – a databank that brings together data describing putative health benefits of bioactive, non-nutrient, compounds from plant based foods – to include polyphenols and bioactive peptides, and work with SMEs to create scientifically-robust health claim dossiers for new products under development.