Food safety and quality

FAO JECFA seeks experts on food additives, contaminants and vet drug residues


What is JECFA? 

The Joint FAO/WHO Scientific Advice Programme is one of the longest standing collaborations within the UN system. The Joint (FAO/WHO) Expert Meeting on Food Additives (JECFA) is an international expert scientific committee that is administered jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The first meeting of JECFA took place in 1956 and JECFA has continued to be in operation ever since.  

Over the years the requests from the Codex Alimentarius Commission to JECFA for scientific advice have gone from solely food additives in foods to include questions about contaminants, residues of veterinary drugs and naturally occurring toxicants.

What does an FAO JECFA expert do? 

Experts are selected to participate in meetings based on their experience and competence in conducting risk assessments of chemical substances in food. Each group meets at least once per year. Experts prepare thoroughly before the meetings and attend ready to discuss complex scientific information on chemical substances.  

These assessments require gathering, synthesizing and evaluating an extensive amount of detailed data and information. For instance, for food additives the FAO JECFA experts will write specifications monographs, chemical and technical assessments and support the development of the exposure assessment jointly with WHO experts. The output is a direct recommendation of a risk- and health-based guidance value that can be operationalized by risk managers at the respective meetings of Codex Alimentarius.

Basic and essential qualifications   

The criteria for the selection of experts are the basic and essential qualifications together with the proven competence and expertise in the various areas of risk assessment of the different types of chemical substances in food as described above. 

Candidates should fulfil the following basic and essential qualifications: 

  • advanced university/college degree in chemistry, biology, pharmacology, food science and technology or other relevant biosciences;    
  • at least five years’ experience in food safety risk assessment and/or equivalent area mentioned above with respect to food additives, residues of veterinary drugs in foods, contaminants or natural toxins;    
  • scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals, in particular, relevant publications within the last ten years, or proven experience in delivering scientific opinions on food safety/risk assessments at national, regional or international level;  
  • participation in national or international scientific bodies, committees, etc., pertinent to the above disciplines and described tasks; and
  • good working knowledge of English.    

Demonstrated, specific knowledge in relation to food additives, contaminants, naturally occurring toxicants and residues of veterinary drugs is also required. 

While this call for experts is a call for experts from all regions, experts from Near East, Africa and Latin America are specifically encouraged to apply.

Deadline: 28 April 2022

More information is available here

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