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Chemical risks and JECFA

The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee 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).

It has been meeting since 1956, initially to evaluate the safety of food additives.

Areas of work

  • Risk assessment/safety evaluation of:
    • Food additives (intentionally added)
    • Processing aids (considered as food additives)
    • Flavouring agents (by functional groups)
    • Residues of veterinary drugs in animal products
    • Contaminants
    • Natural toxins
  • Exposure assessment
  • Specifications and analytical methods, residue definition, MRL proposals (veterinary drugs)
  • Development of general principles

JECFA has evaluated more than 2,500 food additives, approximately 40 contaminants and naturally occurring toxicants, and residues of approximately 90 veterinary drugs.

The Committee has also developed principles for safety assessment of chemicals in foods that are consistent with current thinking on risk assessment and take account of developments in toxicology and other relevant sciences.

The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) announces the publication of the JOINT FAO/WHO EXPERT COMMITTEE ON FOOD ADDITIVES: Expert meeting of Working Group established to consider the evaluation of enzyme preparations used in the manufacture of foods in preparation for an update of the Principles and methods for the risk assessment of chemicals in food, Environmental Health Criteria 240 .

FAO/WHO is therefore launching a public consultation to ensure that communication of the results is transparent, and the guideline contain enough details on the applied methodology, assumptions and scientific assessment. The collected comments will be used by JECFA to finalize its guideline.

All Interested parties are invited to submit written comments to [email protected] and [email protected] by 31 January 2020. Please refer to the line and page numbers in the document.

Please note that comments will not be considered if th

  • are submitted after the closing date of the public consultation;
  • are not related to the contents of the document;
  • contain complaints against institutions, personal accusations, irrelevant or offensive statements or material;
  • are related to policy or risk management aspects, which are out of the scope of JECFA activity.

FAO/WHO will assess all comments which are submitted in line with the criteria above. The comments will be further considered by the JECFA and taken into consideration if found to be relevant.


Summaries and conclusions from JECFA meetings

Related links

JECFA 50th anniversary medal