In Europe, micronutrient recommendations have been established by (inter)national committees of experts and are used by public health-policy decision makers to monitor and assess the adequacy of the diets of population groups. Current micronutrient recommendations are, however, heterogeneous, whereas the scientific basis for this is not obvious. Alignment of setting micronutrient recommendations is necessary to improve the transparency of the process, the objectivity and reliability of recommendations that are derived by diverse regional and (inter)national bodies.
This call for alignment of micronutrient recommendations is a direct result of the current sociopolitical climate in Europe and uncovers the need for an institutional architecture. There is a need for evidence-based policy making, transparent decision making, stakeholder involvement and alignment of policies across Europe.
In this paper, we propose a General Framework that describes the process leading from assessing nutritional requirements to policy applications, based on evidence from science, stakeholder interests and the sociopolitical context. The framework envisions the derivation of nutrient recommendations as scientific methodology, embedded in a policy-making process that also includes consumer issues, and acknowledges the influences of the wider sociopolitical context by distinguishing the principal components of the framework: (a) defining the nutrient requirements for health, (b) setting nutrient recommendations, (c) policy options and (d) policy applications.
The General Framework can serve as a basis for a systematic and transparent approach to the development and review of micronutrient requirements in Europe, as well as the decision making of scientific advisory bodies, policy makers and stakeholders involved in this process of assessing, developing and translating these recommendations into public health nutrition policy.