EFSA calls for feedback on its vitamin B1 report

By Annie Harrison-Dunn

- Last updated on GMT

EFSA’s NDA panel backed the levels set in 1993 by its predecessor the Scientific Committee for Food (SCF) '[i]n the absence of new scientific evidence'. ©iStock/photka
EFSA’s NDA panel backed the levels set in 1993 by its predecessor the Scientific Committee for Food (SCF) '[i]n the absence of new scientific evidence'. ©iStock/photka

Related tags Vitamin Thiamine

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is calling for stakeholder feedback on its dietary reference values for thiamin (vitamin B1), which hold true to guidance given back in the 1990s.

EFSA’s Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) backed the levels set in 1993 by its predecessor the Scientific Committee for Food (SCF) “[i]n the absence of new scientific evidence”.

It stuck to the following values for the B vitamin it described as a “vital nutrient”​ in maintaining healthy nervous and cardiovascular systems:

  • An Average Requirement (AR) of 0.072 milligrams per megajoule (0.3 mg/1,000 kilocalorie) for all adults
  • A Population Reference Intake (PRI) of 0.1 mg/MJ (0.4 mg/1,000 kcal)
  • And the same AR and PRI for infants aged seven to 11 months, children aged one to 18 years, and for women during pregnancy and lactation according to this mg/MJ calculation

EFSA said this was based on the assumption that the relationship between requirements for thiamin and energy were the same in all population groups.

The NDA panel used data from depletion–repletion studies to calculate these levels.

Stakeholders now have until 9th​ November to submit comments on the opinion​.

In the EU there are four approved health claims for thiamine covering its contribution to “normal energy-yielding metabolism”​, the “normal functioning of the nervous system”​, “normal psychological function”​ and the “normal function of the heart”​.

Deficiency in the nutrient can lead to disorders like forms of the condition beriberi mostly around neurological and cardiovascular symptoms.

The condition can be fatal in infants, but is almost unheard of in 'developed' countries.

The opinion said data from 13 dietary surveys in nine EU countries showed average thiamin intakes ranged between 0.31 and 0.65 mg/day (0.11 to 0.21 mg/MJ) for infants under the age of one and between 0.88 and 1.99 mg/day (0.11 to 0.24 mg/MJ) for adults over the age of 18.

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