Foods serve the purposes of nutrition and enjoyment. The "Lebensmittel- und Bedarfsgegenstände-Gesetz" (LMBG, German Food Law) defines foods as substances which are intended to be consumed by humans in a raw, prepared or processed state. They can be derived from plants and animals, or from modern technology. Foods can be classified as:
- traditional foods
- dietary foods
- functional foods (including "probiotic foods")
- novel foods
Food supplements are foods for general consumption according to German law. They include vitamins, provitamins, enzymes, minerals and other components of a normal diet which are isolated and then offered in concentrated form as tablets, coated tablets etc or admixed to foods. (eg beta-carotene, co-enzyme Q10 etc).
According to the "Lebensmittel- und Bedarfsgegenstände-Gesetz", foods and supplements in foods may only be placed on the market if they are safe. Substances, microorganisms and parasites may constitute a risk to health. BfR, therefore, assesses foods in respect of
- substance risks and
- microbial risks (see also Food Safety).
Furthermore, foods are also assessed by BfR with regard to their nutritional-medical criteria. Within the framework of this nutritional assessment of foods, infant nutrition plays an important role. The National Breastfeeding Committee is located within BfR. It elaborates and issues recommendations on breastfeeding and the promotion of breastfeeding.