BRUSSELS, Belgium – The European Food Safety Authority recently released its population reference intakes (PRIs) for protein. A PRI indicates the amount of an individual nutrient that a majority of a population needs for good health based on age and sex. The release of the protein PRIs marks the completion of the EFSA's latest stage of work on dietary reference Values (DRVs), the agency said.

The PRIs apply to dietary protein from both animal and plant sources, EFSA said. The main sources of protein in European adult diets are meat and meat products, followed by grains/grain-based products and milk/dairy products, according to EFSA’s Comprehensive Food Consumption Database. EFSA’s panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies set PRIs for protein for adults, infants and children, and pregnant and breast-feeding women as follows:

• Adults (including older adults) — 0.83 g per kg of body weight per day.
• Infants, children and adolescents — between 0.83g and 1.31g per kg of body weight per day depending on age.
• Pregnant women — additional intake of 1g, 9g and 28g per day for the first, second and third trimesters, respectively.
• Breast-feeding women — additional intake of 19g per day during the first 6 months of lactation and 13g per day thereafter.

The panel found that protein consumption in the European population is adequate for all population groups, EFSA said. Based on collated national food consumption surveys, the average protein intake of adults in Europe is often at or above the PRI of 0.83g per kg of body weight per day (between 67g and 114g per day for men and between 59g and 102g per day for women).