Nutrition is one main exposure to chemical and microbiological risks that can produce effects on men’s and animals health. The size of the global food industry, its production volume, the technologies for transforming raw materials and their connections with environmental problems, all of them are a major threat to the food chain with risks to the food safety. Nutrition is also the way we get nutrients for our life and wellbeing. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one third of cardiovascular and oncological diseases can be prevented by eating healthy, and each year an estimated 600 millions people in the world fall ill after consuming contaminated food.
Integrating and covering all aspects of the relationship between food and health on the whole food chain, from production to consumption, is the driving principle of the European policy and that followed by the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS, the National Institute of Health in Italy) in a uniform and interdisciplinary way in the field of food safety, food-borne diseases (FBD), diet-related diseases, and prevention of chronic degenerative diseases.
The ISS research generates knowledge that inform public health actions on chemical and microbiological aspects of food safety, prevention and control of zoonoses and FBD, emerging toxicological risks (endocrine disruptors, nanotechnologies), healthy eating habits as the Mediterranean diet, coeliac disease, food allergies and intolerances, and nutrition strategies to prevent obesity and non-communicable chronic diseases.
ISS hosts national and European Reference Laboratories that provide coordination assistance in numerous fields of food safety, carry on training, consultancy and assessment activities to support the National Health Service (SSN), and participate with its experts to many national and international bodies as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the Codex Alimentarius, and the European Committee for Standardization (CEN).