IAFNS supports the replacement, reduction, and refinement of the use of test animals – through our scientific programming in food and nutritional sciences. 

The “Three R’s” principle for test animal research was launched in the early 1960s by two English biologists, Russel and Burch in their book “The Principle of Humane Experimental Technique.” The 3 Rs stand for Replacement, Reduction and Refinement of test animals.

  • Today IAFNS continues to support the 3Rs with work in food and nutritional sciences.

The current approach used in the US to calculate protein quality relies on digestibility measures that are typically taken in animal models. This is a major disincentive to food and beverage industry stakeholders developing alternative protein ingredients and foods. Moreover, the currently accepted rat bioassay, which is time consuming and costly, may not, in fact, be the best test model for foods intended for human consumption. Thus, advancing standardized and validated in vitro methods of assessing protein digestibility is an incentive to encourage food manufacturers to determine the protein quality of foods they produce.

IAFNS support for reducing animal testing and advancing public health extends to dietary exposures that carry the potential for adverse health outcomes. An IAFNS-supported research group is developing a novel framework that evaluates whether dietary items have the potential to cause cancer. Currently, risk assessments rely on studies in test animals, but new approaches may allow risk assessors to curtail reliance on animal bioassays.

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