BACCHUS project


The main objective of the BACCHUS project is to develop tools and resources that will facilitate the generation of robust and exploitable scientific evidence that can be used to support claims of a cause and effect relationship between consumption of bioactive peptides and polyphenols, and beneficial physiological effects related to cardiovascular health in humans. To achieve this, the BACCHUS consortium has assembled 12 leading Research & Technological centres and 15 Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) (with ca 30% of the EC requested contribution allocated to the SMEs).


BACCHUS thus contains SMEs directly involved in developing food products and pursuing health claims, experts in health claims legislation and the EFSA review process, and academic and industry partners who provide high quality food and health research that can underpin health claims. Existing SME-developed products that have clear potential for obtaining favourable opinions for health claims have been selected as test cases for study. These have been aligned with a series of work-packages each of which addresses key aspects of the EFSA health claim evaluation process (legislation and dossiers; product/bioactive characterisation; habitual intakes; bioavailability; mechanisms and biomarkers; clinical trials evidence of health benefit) that will deliver tools, processes and high quality original science.


Scientific results and best practice guidelines will be made publically available and thus support future claims for industry. The scope and completeness of the existing bioactive database (eBASIS) that includes both compositional and biological effects data will be extended and developed as a sustainable tool with various training materials. All outcomes will be disseminated broadly by direct engagement with SMEs via an existing European SME association, with stakeholders via seminars, newsletters and press releases, as well as through traditional scientific routes (high quality publications, and conference presentations). 

BACCHUS Watching Brief

This Watching Brief summarises developments between November 2014 and March 2015, in the area of health claims on polyphenols, bioactive peptides and cardiovascular health. The European Commission (EC) has not published any relevant decisions; however the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published a negative opinion on a health claim related to ‘L-tug lycopene’ and the reduction of blood LDL-cholesterol. EFSA also rejected an application for novel food status for Arracacha zanthorrhiza due to a lack of characterisation of the end product. The abstracts from a number of interesting research publications are included, discussing the effect of tea theaflavins and catechins on micro-vascular function; blueberry consumption and flavonoid intake in women; the anti-inflammatory and anti-atheresclerotic effects of red wine phenolics; the cardioeffects of epicatechin and quercetin and a hypothesised mechanism for the health benefits of resveratrol. There is ongoing controversy regarding red yeast rice, with conflicting legislation between member states regarding permitted doses, an issue which has recently been discussed at a European Commission Working Group. Interestingly, Barry Callebaut, the cocoa and chocolate manufacturer with an approved health claim, has been awarded a patent for a process to produce reduced fat chocolate. With regards to the project, a meeting in Budapest is scheduled for 22nd June 2015. This Watching Brief also includes a short update of ongoing work within Work Package 1 including a second draft of the Best Practise Guide and a draft template to assist partners in compiling a health claim dossier.

Concerning BACCHUSBACCHUS is a four-year research project funded under the European Commission’s 7th Research Framework Programme, which is aimed specifically at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The BACCHUS project brings together 28 partners including 15 SMEs from 11 countries, led by the Institute of Food Research (IFR, UK). What we do Our main objective is to develop tools and resources to help you provide robust and actionable scientific substantiation for health claims related to the relationship between the uptake of bioactive peptides and polyphenols and positive physiological effects on the human cardiovascular system.

What are we doing this for? in recent years, an increase in cardiovascular disease has been observed, which is the cause of 47% of deaths in Europe, according to current figures. This calls for international health programmes to meet targets to reduce associated risks such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. 195 billion (£157 billion) and the impact of the disease on individuals make action essential to reverse this trend. Polyphenol intake can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Pre-clinical studies have also shown that bioactive peptides and polyphenols have a positive physiological effect on the diseased cardiovascular system (e.g. high blood pressure). This has triggered further developments within the food industry, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Although a number of dossiers have been submitted to obtain a positive opinion from EFSA on a health claim for polyphenols or peptides, only a few have been successful to date. This may be due to specific challenges in scientifically demonstrating a positive physiological association between markers of cardiovascular risk and the intake of bioactive peptides and polyphenols. This includes the characterization of bioactive ingredients, suitable biomarkers, efficacy and dose in humans and a plausible mode of action leading to a specific health claim.

What is our goal? foods developed by SMEs with clear potential for beneficial health have been selected and linked to research activities addressing key aspects of health claim evaluation (e.g. legislation and dossier preparation, characterisation of food bioactivity, intake and bioavailability, mechanisms of action and biomarkers, randomised controlled trials).this approach provides tools, processes, research results and proven guidelines that will be made publicly available to support future health claims. BACCHUS results will be widely disseminated within SMEs active in the food and retail sectors and through the usual scientific channels.