Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 2013;53(10):988-998.
There is currently no standard approach for deriving micronutrient recommendations. The EURRECA framework outlines a standard process for deriving and using dietary reference values for micronutrients in a transparent, systematic and scientific way.
The current paper provides the background and purpose of the EURRECA (EURopean micronutrient RECommendations Aligned) Network of Excellence and serves as an introduction to its outcomes as described in the 10 papers included in issue 53(10) of Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. There is currently no standard approach for deriving micronutrient recommendations, and large variations exist across Europe, causing confusion among consumers, food producers and policy-makers. More aligned information could influence dietary behaviours and potentially lead to a healthier population. Funded by the European Commission, EURRECA has developed methods and applications to guide Nutrient Requirement Setting Bodies through the process of setting micronutrient reference values.
The EURRECA approach is crystallised into its framework that outlines a standard process for deriving and using dietary reference values for micronutrients in a transparent, systematic and scientific way. The EURRECA framework should not be interpreted as a prescriptive description of a linear process, but as a structured guide for checking that all issues essential for deriving requirements have at least been considered. The paper describes the evolution of the framework from its very first linear format to its final more circular one. In the final framework, the nine suggested activities can be clustered into four stages (i) defining the problem, (ii) monitoring and evaluating, (iii) deriving dietary reference values, and (iv) using dietary reference values in policy making. A selection of concepts and acronyms used for micronutrient recommendations across the world (EFSA, EC, IOM, DACH, France, Netherlands, Nordic countries, WHO/ FAO, UNU) are also provided.
The paper will provide the readers with the necessary scientific background regarding deriving and using dietary reference values for micronutrients in Europe and will introduce them to the main principles of the EURRECA framework. This will be helpful for further diving into the most methodological aspects of the framework as described in Dhonukshe-Rutten et al, 2013, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 53(10): 999-1040.
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