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The controversy over trans fatty acids: Effects early in life
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy.
2008 (English)In: Food and Chemical Toxicology, ISSN 0278-6915, E-ISSN 1873-6351, Vol. 46, no 12, 3571-3579 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This is a case study of two diverging risk assessments of trans fatty acids. One risk assessment was conducted by the Danish Nutrition Council in 2003, the other by the European Food Safety Authority in 2004. In this paper, the two reports' assessments of adverse effects early in life are compared. The two risk assessments are based on the same scientific evidence, and agree on the interpretation of that evidence, but nevertheless differ considerably in their recommendations for risk management: One of them recommends that pregnant women's consumption of trans fatty acids be minimized, while the other makes no such recommendation. It is shown that the reason why the assessments reach different conclusions is that they depend on different attitudes towards the trade-off between the risk of false positives and the risk of false negatives. It is hypothesized that this difference in attitude may be caused by institutional differences between the European Food Safety Authority and the Danish Nutrition Council, since the former has responsibility for risk assessment only, whereas the latter is responsible for both risk assessment and recommendations for risk management.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 46, no 12, 3571-3579 p.
Keyword [en]
False positive, False negative, Risk assessment, Risk management, Scientific uncertainty, Trans fatty acids
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-31575DOI: 10.1016/j.fct.2008.08.017ISI: 000261673900003ScopusID: 2-s2.0-55949129056OAI: diva2:404867
QC 20110318Available from: 2011-03-18 Created: 2011-03-18 Last updated: 2011-03-18Bibliographically approved

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