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Max Rubner-Institut

Federal Research Institute of Nutrition and Food

Head Office in Karlsruhe
Head Office in Karlsruhe

Can functional food fulfil the expectations we associate with it? Are fish and meat more contaminated than they used to be, or less? And how can we improve and secure the quality of meat, fish, milk, fats and oils, cereals, potatoes, fruit and vegetables in the long term?

Currently, about 200 scientists are investigating these and many other issues relating to nutrition and food at four locations belonging to the Max Rubner-Institut. Their research focuses on consumer health protection in the nutrition sector.

MRI´s statutes define the responsibilities and duties of the federal research institutes within the remit of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL)  as follows: drawing up scientific criteria to facilitate policy decisions in the fields of food, agriculture, forestry and consumer protection. In doing so, the MRI is also responsible for extending scientific knowledge in these areas to the benefit of the common good. In the context of this assignment the federal research institutes are scientifically indepent. 

Research at the Max Rubner-Institut (MRI) focuses on consumer health protection in the nutrition sector. The institute advises the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in this area.
MRI was founded on 1 January 2008 as the successor to the Federal Research Centre for Nutrition and Food (BfEL). In addition to its headquarters in Karlsruhe, MRI also conducts research at centres in Kiel, Detmold and Kulmbach.

Four of MRI’s eight departments use a cross-product approach, focusing their research on investigating the quality rating of foodstuffs in terms of nutritional physiology and health, food safety and bioprocess engineering. This approach traces the active chain of nutrition from the level of molecules and cells to the entire organism. One particularly important area is the study of nutritional behaviour. The results of this research are incorporated in recommendations for healthy nutrition.

The research work undertaken in the other four departments relates to specific categories of foodstuffs such as cereals, vegetables, milk and meat. In these departments the entire food chain is studied.  MRI’s research, related to the production chain, targets the safety and quality of foodstuffs as well as the sustainability of food production. Investigations cover the whole process from the moment of harvesting or production through to the consumer.

The Max Rubner-Institut is responsible for the continued development and implementation of National Nutrition Monitoring and the German Nutrient Database. It also undertakes national tasks in the context of the Agricultural Statistics Act and the Precautionary Radiation Protection Act.