The Food Biomarker Alliance

Food questionnaires and/or food diaries are commonly used to measure dietary intake in population based studies. Biomarkers, however, may provide more reliable intake measures than self-reported data. Unfortunately, only very few food biomarkers have been sufficiently validated.

In December 2014, the JPI HDHL Food Biomarkers Alliance (FOODBALL) project commenced, which aims to develop strategies for the discovery and validation of biomarker for foods that are commonly consumed in Europe. For this purpose, FOODBALL is a collaboration between 22 partners from 11 countries, including Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.

FoodBall systematically explored and/or validated a range of dietary biomarkers covering important and public health relevant foods in Europe, where metabolomics techniques were used for the discovery of biomarkers as main –omics technique. Common biomarker sampling techniques (i.e. venous/arterial blood collection) and promising new biomarker sampling techniques (i.e. dried blood spot (DBS) analysis) were studied as well. Subsequently, these newly-developed approaches were tested in studies where associations between nutrient and health status were examined. In addition, to aid the harmonisation of methodologies, FoodBall developed new and advanced existing platforms for sharing knowledge and resources with the scienctific community (i.e. open-access databases on food metabolites, software tools for annotation of food metabolites, and chemical libraries).

More information can be found on the project website:


Partner Organization Partner Country
University College Dublin Ireland
University of Oslo Norway
Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports Denmark
RIVM Netherlands
Ghent University Belgium
University of Alberta Canada
National Food Institute Denmark
INRA France
Technische Universität München Germany
Fondazione Edmund Mach Italy
Università di Bologna Italy
University Medical Center Groningen Netherlands
NUTRIM Nutrition and Toxicology Research Institute Maastricht Netherlands
University of Barcelona Spain
Max Rubner-Institute Germany
Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV) Switzerland
Agroscope Switzerland
Helmholtz Zentrum München Germany
TNO Netherlands




Project number:
Duration: 100%
Duration: 100 %
Related funding round:
Project lead and secretary:
Edith Feskens