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Founded: 1949

National Institute for Food and



The main regulatory, research and educational centre of food and
nutrition sciences”


Director General: Dr. Éva Martos, MD, PhD


H-1097 Budapest, Gyáli út 3/a.

Phone: +36 1 476 1100

Fax: +36 1 215 1545

E-mail: titkarsag@oeti.antsz.hu


Budapest, 2009



The National Institute for Food and Nutrition Science (NIFNS) was founded in 1949. The aim of the establishment was to provide better public health through improved food hygiene and nutrition. The founder and the first director of the institute was Professor Róbert Tarján, who initiated and managed the expert and scientific activities for 30 years. From the very beginning the Institute had a three–field scope of duties:

  1. to conduct research in nutrition science and food hygiene,

  2. to act as an advisor of healthy nutrition and dietary treatment at national level, and
  3. to educate experts in nutrition and mass catering.

Numerous studies and research were performed under his direction, for instance the biological effects of xenobiotics, relationship between nutrition of mothers and composition of their breast milk, relationship between nutritional and health status of different population groups, etc.

Professor Róbert Tarján was followed by
Professor György Bíró for the next 15 years, who organized and controlled the First Hungarian Representative Nutrition Survey involving close to 17 000 people between 1985 and 1988. On the basis of data gained from this study the most important diet–related risk factors were identified.

In the last decades, due to the growing food production, the introduction of new technologies in food processing, and the increased amount of chemicals used the number of microbiological and toxicological examination of foodstuffs has increased. The next director was Dr. Tibor Novotny, an outstanding skilled, well–known expert of food hygiene and food safety.



Between 1998 and 2005, the director of the Institute was Dr. Imre Rodler. During this time, the NIFNS had to accommodate to the new challenges created by the accession of Hungary to the European Community and put more effort on food safety.




In the summer of 2005, Dr. Éva Martos took over the direction of the Institute giving a great impulse of spreading of healthy nutrition in the country Different dietary surveys, healthy nutrition of children and active co–operation with international organizations were introduced.
The institute focuses on public health in relation to human nutrition, food technology, nutritional environment and hygiene. It is also responsible for the notification of food supplements, foods for particular nutritional uses (infant formulae, complementary foods, gluten free foods, etc.), cosmetics and biocides used in food industry and mass catering.

Our activities also include education, research, scientifically based risk assessments and advisory services to Hungarian and international authorities and industries. The Institute regularly monitors food consumption patterns and provide analytical services based on accredited and standardised analysis methods.

Moreover, NIFNS elaborates and updates dietary guidelines, organizes public health projects and takes part in the decision making process of food and nutrition policies both at national and international levels.

At present, NIFNS works efficiently in the frame of the national public health network directed by the Ministry of Health and the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of State. The Institute has about 60 well–trained employees (medical doctors, chemists, dieticians, pharmacists, technicians) working in three different but complementary departments.

  • Department of Food Chemistry and Analysis

  • Department of Nutritional Epidemiology
  • Department of Applied Nutrition

The present and future tasks of the institute are based on the EU and other international obligations (FAO, WHO, Codex Alimentarius) and on the
country–specific needs. These tasks include participation in the work of international organizations, adaptation of legislation to new EU regulations, as well as improvement of nutritional health and knowledge of all population groups, especially focusing on children.


The department complies with the criteria of MSZ EN ISO/IEC 17025:2001 standard accredited by the Hungarian Accreditation Board.

Scope of activities:

Determination of the natural composition and concentrations of main components of foods and food supplements – such as fat, protein, carbohydrates, fatty acids, sugars, macro and micro elements, vitamins – water and lipid soluble, and special functional components (caffeine, dietary fibre, taurine, carnitine, polyphenols, NADH, creatine, Q10).

Continuously developing and updating analytical methods for determination of ingredients present in food, food supplements, functional foods, foods for special dietary purposes, novel foods, and foods fortified with vitamins, minerals and other substances.

Preparing standpoints and expert opinions regarding food supplements, foods for special dietary purposes, novel foods, nutriments, baby foods, labelling, nutritional and health claim intended to use on label, fortified foods, cosmetics and biocides used in food industry and mass catering.

According to relevant legislation, notification of food supplements, some foods for special dietary purposes and cosmetics.

Participating in the policy–making process in connection with nutritional and health claim, food supplements, foods for special dietary purposes, fortified foods, novel foods, nutriments, baby foods, and cosmetics.

Participation in the continuous updating of the food component tables, supervise the proposed input rate and nutrition recommendation and the expansion of other food database.

Participation in education of health professionals and specialists in public catering, food industry and food trade.

Participation in national and international research developing programs of Hungarian Academy of Science, Hungarian Scientific Research Found, Department of Electronics Technology, National Committee for Technological Development and other organizations, institutes, foundations and companies.


Scope of activities

Preparation of expert’s opinions and statements.

Continuous updating of nutritional recommendations.

Preparation of educational and informative materials for experts, public and media serving the purpose of disease prevention and healthy nutrition.

Nutritional-hygienic assessment of food products (adequate energy and food intake to age and physical activity).

Planning, conducting and performing complex nutritional epidemiological studies at population level and in risk groups (children, adolescents, pregnant women, old persons, etc.):

  • examination of nutrition and health status of different groups of the population,

  • primary and secondary prevention of nutrition related diseases.

Participating in notification of food supplements.

Preparing dietary recommendations for various population groups.

Participation in education of PhD students and health professionals.

Accomplished national nutritional epidemiological surveys:

  • study for children of parents with acute myocardial infarction,

  • survey of pregnant women’s nutritional habit, and women in menopause,
  • national representative survey of 15-18 year old children,
  • study for nutrition and lifestyle of elderly people,
  • representative survey of elementary and secondary schoolchildren.


Scope of activities

Coordination and evaluation of national surveys in the field of institutional feeding. This activity provides information on dietetic supply in hospitals and of hospitalised patients’ supply and quality, and adequacy of patients’ catering.

Dietetic evaluation (qualitative and quantitative) of various traditional menus and menus for special nutritional purposes used in catering.

Preparing menus for dietary treatment for hospitals and other institutions according to the dietary goals and to the professional recommendations.

Elaborating adequate diets with considerations of socio–economic conditions.

Participating in nutritional evaluation of food supplements, and in the approval of nutritional and health claims.

Contribution in completion of food supplement database.

Preparing dietary recommendations for various population groups.

Participation in education of health professionals, specialists in public catering, food industry and food trade.

Participation in the elaboration and introduction of programmes and models for prevention of diet–related diseases.

Nutritional education for children's communities, schools, kindergartens and other population groups.

Giving dietary advices the Department contributed to the successful preparation of the Hungarian Water Polo Team for the Beijing Olympic Games, 2008.



Considerable part of the staff of NIFNS is involved in the activities of different international organizations, working parties and working groups. The Institute makes effort to maintain its international relationships with different organizations and scientific associations e.g. European Academy of Nutritional Scientists, Federation of European Nutritional Societies, International Life and Science Institute, European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research, etc., and to establish co–operation agreements with other institutes.

EU expert activities: participation in experts groups such as Dietetic Foods, Novel Foods, Nutriments, Health Claim, Food Fortification, Baby Foods and Cosmetics.

NIFNS is the national competent authority of food supplements, foods for special dietary purposes (infant formulae, complementary foods, gluten free foods etc.) and cosmetics.

International expert activities: participation in experts groups such as Codex Alimentarius Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses, on Methods for Analysing and Sampling, on Deep Frozen Foods, WHO European Regional Nutritional Committee, CEN and EFSA Working Group on Botanicals

NIFNS is involved in many international programs:

  • WHO program on Surveillance for Control of Foodborne Infections and

  • International Co-operation ENHR II (European Nutrition and Health
    Report II) – the aim of this work is to give a comparative data set and
    information on the results of national dietary surveys of the participating European countries

  • HECTOR Project – the aim of this program is to check the quality, and
    energy/nutrient content of the foods consumed out of home

  • HAPPY – Hungarian Aqua Promotion in the Young (WHO)


All departments of the Institute have been participating in gradual and/or post gradual education of health professionals, mass catering professionals and other specialists in the field of food industry, food trading and marketing, food analysis and nutrition.

The staff provides academic and practical assistance to university and collage graduates in preparation their diploma thesis as well as to Hungarian and foreign candidates in preparation of their PhD thesis.

NIFNS is the Department of Preventive Nutrition at the Faculty of Food sciences at Corvinus University, Budapest and takes part in the PhD and public health professional’s education organized by the Department of Occupational and
Environmental Health at Faculty of Medicine at the Semmelweis University. The Institute cooperates in the field of post graduated and PhD education, and
scientific research with several other universities such as Faculty of Agriculture and Environment at Szent István University, Gödöllő and Faculty of Natural Sciences of Eötvös Lóránd University, Budapest.

Some PhD thesis prepared in NIFNS:

Fajcsák Zs.: The effects of low glycemic diet intervention and lifestyle changeoverweight/obese children. Semmelweis University, Budapest 2008.

Gábor A.: Sport specific aspects of nutrition - nutrition as a performance optimizing factor. Semmelweis University, Budapest, 2008.

Kontraszti M.: The physiological effect of dietary fibre on human health under vitro and in vivo conditions: Animal experiments and in vivo studies. University of Holticulture, Faculty of Food Chemistry, Budapest 1998.

Kovács V.A. The role of exercise training in the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity, Semmelweis University, Budapest, 2009.

Lugasi A.: The effect of antioxidants of food origin in primary and secondary prevention: Animal experiments and human studies. Semmelweis University, Faculty of Medicine, Budapest, 2001.

Péter Sz.: Role of lifestyle in obesity prevention. A cross-sectional study in metropolitan schools. Semmelweis University, Faculty of Medicine, Budapest, 2008.



The library of the Institute is a scientific library with a recognised national task in the field of nutrition, dietary treatment, nutrition physiology, biochemistry, food chemistry, food safety, microbiology and toxicology. The library contributes to the effectiveness of scientific research and education provided by the NIFNS. The present unique collection contains about 5000 volumes of journals and about 5000 books. At the moment, the most important 19 Hungarian and 14 international journals on the above mentioned topics are taken. The library is very popular not only in the circle of the scientists of the Institute, but for several other experts working in other institutions. There is an excellent co–operation with other libraries, and thanks to our outstanding librarian the employees of the Institute can get all the scientific articles they are interested in.



Several national research projects have been focused on the qualitative and/or quantitative investigation and determination of potentially hazardous and potentially beneficial, naturally occurring compounds, mainly in food-supplements, foods for special dietary purposes, and functional foods:

  • Examination of the human health effects and the risk assessment of the critical compounds

  • Monitoring of Hungarian human milk for chlorinated hydrocarbons, polychlorinated–biphenyls, ochratoxine A, iodine and assessment of its fatty acid composition
  • Developing, setting up and updating analytical methods for analysis of potentially beneficial compounds

The scientists of the Institute have been made efforts to update the national database of nutrients and also phytonutrients in foods and foodstuffs.
Biological effects of health protective compounds in foods have been investigated in animal and human experiments



The Institute participates in the work of international organizations, primarily WHO and FAO. It has already joined many international projects – e.g. the EU programmes ‘COST’– establishes co–operation agreements with domestic and foreign institutions and takes part in the work of Codex Alimentarius.

Important task of the institute is to actively participate in the Public Health Program of the Hungarian Government for 2010 with following goals:

  • reducing fat consumption,

  • reducing saturated fatty acid consumption,
  • increasing fresh fruit and vegetable consumption,
  • increasing low-fat milk consumption,
  • introducing low-salt content food on the market.

Several programs have been organized in the frame of this nation–wide action and staff of the institute has been involved not only in the organization of the sub–programs, but also in the implementation and the evaluation of the

The prevalence of childhood obesity is increasing markedly throughout the world. The NIFNS is involved in numerous international projects dealing with this topic.

  • Nutritional Friendly School Initiative (WHO)

  • Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (WHO)
  • IDLE – Intelligent Diet and Lifestyle in Europe (EU)
  • InForm – Campaign against obesity in children and adolescents (EU)

The Institute regularly releases recommendations in order to draw the public’s attention to healthier diets and lifestyle.




There are numerous books or chapters of books and more than 250 articles of journals have been published in contribution with one or more researcher of the institute between 2005 and 2009.

Some selected publications in English

1. Andrássy, É., Farkas J., Seregély, Zs., Dalmadi, I., Tuboly, E., Lebovics V.: Changes in ham eggs and their components caused by non-thermal pasteurizing treatments II. Some non-microbiological effects of gamma-irradiation or hydrostatic pressure processing on liquid egg white and egg yolk.Acta Alimentaria, 35 (3), 305-318. 2006.

2. Antal M., Nagy K., Regöly-Mérei A., Biró L., Szabó Cs., Rabin B.: Assessment of cardiovascular risk factors among Hungarian university students in Budapest Ann. Nutr. Metab. 831, 103-107, 2006.

3. Antal M., Regöly-Mérei A., Nagy K., Fülöp J., Beretvás E., Gyömörei E., Kis O., Vámos A.: Nutrition, Life-style practice, serum vitamin D concentration and bone density in Hungarian adolescents Acta Alimentaria. 35, 53-61, 2006.

4. Antal M.: Iron turnover in the human body. In: Trace Elements in Food Chain. Proceedings. Eds: Szilágyi, M., Szentmihályi K., Institute of Materials and Environmental Chemistry of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, pp. 350-356, 2006.

5. Bereczky M., Regöly-Mérei A.,Arató Gy., Telek G., Pallai Zs., Lugasi A., Antal M.: Nutritional and antioxidant status of colorectal tumor patients. Hungarian Medical Journal. 1. 2007.

6. Biró L., Regöly-Mérei A., Nagy K., Péter Sz., Arató Gy., Szabó Cs., Martos É., Antal M.: Dietary habits of schoolchildren: Representative survey in metropolitan elementary schools – part two. Ann Nutr Metab. 51, 454-460. 2007.

7. Biró, L., Rabin, B., Regöly-Mérei, A., Nagy, K., Pintér, B., Beretvás, E., Morava, E. and Antal, M.: Dietary habits of medical and pharmacy students at Semmelweis University, Budapest. Acta Alimentaria, 34 (4), 463-471, 2005.

8. Blázovics, A., Kovács, Á., Lugasi, A.: The effect of short and long term antioxidant treatments on redox homeostasis on experimental and clinical studies. In: Nutrition Research Advances. Ed.: Watkins, S. V., Nova Science Publisher, Inc., ISBN 978-60021-516-2, 2007.

9. Brandt S., Pék Z., Barna É., Lugasi A., Helyes L. Lycopene content and colour of ripening tomatoes as affected by environmental conditions. J. Sci. Food Agric. 86. (4) 568-572. 2006.

10. Fajcsák Zs., Kovács V., Gábor A., Szamosi T., Martos É.: Twelve weeks low glycemic load diet reduced body weight, fat mass and hunger in overweight/obese children. Acta Alimentaria 37: 497-504, 2008.

11. Fajcsák Zs., Kovács V.A., Martos É.: The Effects of 6-week Low Glycemic Index Diet in Overweight Children - Pilot Study. Journal of the American College of Nutrition .
1: 12-21, 2008.

12. Fébel, H. Mézes, M. Pálfy, T. Hermán, A. Gundel, J. Lugasi, A. Balogh, K. Kocsis, I. Blázovics A.: Effect of dietary fatty acid pattern on growth, body fat composition and antioxidant parameters in broilers. J. Animal Physiol. Animal Nutr. 92: 369–376, 2008.

13. Helyes L., Dimény J., Pék Z., Lugasi A.: Effect of maturity stage on content, color and quality of tomato (Lycopersicon lycoperscum (L.) Karsten) fruit. Int. J. Hort. Sci., 12. 1. 41-44. 2006.

14. Helyes L., Dimény J., Pék Z., Lugasi A.: Effect of the variety and growing methods as well as cultivation conditions on ingredient of tomato (Lycopersicon lycopersicum (L.) Karsten) fruit. Acta Horticulturae, 712. 511-516. 2006.

  1. Helyes L., Lugasi A., Pék Z.: Tomato fruit quality and content depend on stage of maturity. HortScience 41, (6). 1400-1401. 2006.

  2. 16. Helyes, L., Lugasi, A., Pogonyi, Á., Pék, Z.: Effect of variety and grafting on lycopene content of tomato (Lycopersicon lycopersicum L. Karsten) fruit. Acta Alimentaria, 10.1556/ AAlim. 2008.

17. Helyes L., Lugasi A., Pék, Z.: Effect of natural light on surface temperature and lycopene content of vine ripende tomato fruit. Can. J. Plant Sci. 87. 927-929. 2007.

18. Helyes, L., Pék, Z., Lugasi, A.: Function of the variety technological traits and growing conditions on fruit components of tomato (Lycopersicon lycopersicum L. Karsten), Acta Alimentaria, 37. 4. 427-436. 2008. DOI: 10.1556/AAlim. 2008.

19. Kovács V.A., Fajcsák Zs., Gábor A., Martos É. School-based exercise program improves fitness, body composition and cardiovascular risk profile in overweight/obese children. Acta Physiologica Hungarica. In press.

20. Kovács V.A., Fajcsák Zs., Gábor A., Martos É. Breakfast skipping is related to higher body mass index and higher waist circumference in primary school children. Acta Alimentaria. In press.

21. Kovács V.A., Gábor A., Fajcsák Zs., Martos É. Role of waist circumference in predicting the risk of high blood pressure in children. International Journal of Pediatric Obesity. In press.

22. Kovács V.A., Nagy O., Antal M., Bíró L., Greiner E., Arató Gy., Schmidt J., Rózsa Á., Miháldy K., Martos É.: Addressing childhood obesity through promoting mineral water consumption in primary schools - the HAPPY project. Int J Obes. 1: S201 (A-87), 2008.

23. Lasztity, N., Hamvas, J., Biró, L., Németh, É., Marosvölgyi, T., Decsi, T., Pap, Á., Antal, M.: Effect of enterally administered n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in acute pancreatitis - a prospective randomized clinical trial. Clinical Nutrition, 24, 198-205, 2005.

24. Lebovics V.K., Gaál, Ö., Lugasi A., Mészáros L., Andrássy É., Farkas J.: Effects of gamma irradiation or high hydrostatic pressure on cholesterol oxidation and sensory quality in mechanically deboned turkey meat and chicken liver. In: Proc. XVIIth European Symposium on the Quality of Poulrty Meat, Doorwerth, The Netherlands, 23-26 May, 2005. pp. 124-132, 2005.

25. Lugasi A, Hóvári J., Hagymási K., Jakóczi I., Blázovics A.: Antioxidant properties of a mixture of Lamiaceae plants intended to use as a food additive. Acta Alimentaria, 35. 1. 85-97, 2006.

26. Lugasi A., Blázovics A., Hagymási K., Kocsis I., Kéry Á.: Antioxidant effect of squeezed juice from black radish (Raphanus sativus L. var niger) in alimentary hyperlipidaemia in rats. Phytother Res. 9(7):587-591, 2005.

27. Lugasi, A., Losada, V., Hóvári, J., Lebovics, V., Jakóczi, I., Aubourg, S.: Effect of a plant extract on rancidity development during the frozen storage of a pelagic fish in whole pieces. LWT-Food Science and Technology, 40. 930-936, 2007.

28. Lugasi A.: Dietary falvonoids, what we do know and what do not. Editorial. Acta Alimentaria, 37. 3. 307-310, 2008.

29. Martos É.: Current situation of nutrition-related diseases in Hungary. „Dietary habits and related diseases – recommendations and possible solutions” Italian Institute for Culture, Budapest, Hungary, 2. Oct, 2006.

30. Martos É.: Promoting fruit and vegetables. Experiences from Hungary. WHO European Ministerial Conference on Counteracting Obesity. Promoting fruit and vegetables. Satellite Event, Istanbul, Turkey, 16 Nov, 2006,

31. Molnár J., Garamvölgyi Z., Herold M., Adányi N., Somogyi A., Rigó J. Jr.: Serum Selenium Concentrations Correlate Significantly with Inflammatory Biomarker High-sensitive CRP Levels in Hungarian Gestational Diabetic and Healthy Pregnant Women at Mid-pregnancy. Biological Trace Elements Research . 121(1):16-22, 2008.

32. Péter Sz, Biró L, Németh Á, Antal M: Association between birth weight and childhood obesity in a metropolitan survey, Hungarian Medical Journal. 4: 571-575, 2008.

33. Péter Sz., Regöly-Mérei A., Biró L., Nagy K., Arató Gy., Szabó Cs., Vámos A., Martos É., Antal M.: Lifestyle of schoolchildren: Representative survey in metropolitan elementary schools – part one. Ann Nutr Metab. 51: 448-453. 2007.

34. Péter Sz., Regöly-Mérei A., Bíró L., Nagy K., Arató Gy., Szabó Cs., Vámos A., Martos É., Antal M.: Lifestyle of hungarian adolescents – observations among metropolitan secondary school students. Ann Nutr Metab .52: 105-109, 2008.

35. Rodler I., Zajkás G.: National Reports: Hungary; In: Weichselbaum: European Nutrition and Health Report 2004. Ed.: I. Elmadfa, E. Karger, Basel, 2005.

36. Schmidt J: National representative survey on nutritional life style habits of Hungarian secondary school students. COSPI (Combating Obesity Strategies for Prevention and Intervention) Conference, 3-17. Feb, Graz, Austria, 2007.

37. Selmeci, L. Antal, M. Lukács, J. Regöly, A. Acsádi Gy.: Advanced oxidation protein products (AOPP) for monitoring stress in critically ill patients: a simple, fast and inexpensive technique. Clin. Chem. Lab. Med. 43(3), 294-297. 2005.

38. Sohár J: Environmental health considerations in creating food safety. Main enviromental pollutants found in foodstufs. In: Environmental Sience and Technology in Hungary (Ed.: I. Láng), Műszaki Kiadó, Wolters Kluwer Csoport, Budapest, 203-207. 2005.

39. Szentmihályi K., Lugasi A., May Z., Hegedus V., Szilágyi M., Blázovics A.: Favourable effect of black radish root extract on element homeostasis in systemic low inflammation (rat experiment). METAL IONS IN BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE. VOL 10. Eds.: Collery Ph. Maymard I., Theophanides T., Khassanova I., Collery T., John Libbey Eurotext, Paris, ISBN 978-2-7420-0714-1, pp. 577-582. 2008.

40. Váli L., Stefanovits-Bányai É., Szentmihályi K., Fébel H., Sárdi M., Lugasi A., Kocsis I., Blázovics A.: Liver-protecting effects of table beet (Beta vulgaris var. Rubra) during ischemia-reperfusion. Nutrition, 23. 172-178. 2007.