Pest and Pesticide Management

Joint FAO-WHO meeting on Pesticide Residues in 2019 in Geneva.


A Joint Meeting of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Panel of experts on Pesticide Residues in Food and the Environment and the World Health Organization (WHO) Core assessment Group on Pesticide Residues (JMPR) was held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 17 to 26 September 2019. The FAO Panel Members met in preparatory sessions from 12 to 16 September.

The WHO Director of Food Safety and Zoonoses, Dr Kazuaki Miyagishima, welcomed all the experts and colleagues from FAO. . Dr Miyagishima remarked that the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR) is an excellent example of how WHO and FAO can jointly mobilise some of the best expertise from around the world, in this case, in the interest of protecting public health from adverse effects of pesticide residues in food.

Dr Miyagishima reflected on the fact that the JMPR has met on an annual basis since 1963 to provide scientific advice to the Codex Alimentarius Commission and the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues (CCPR).The high demand for scientific advice on pesticide residues had resulted in an extraordinary JMPR meeting earlier this year that was held in Ottawa in May. The ordinary JMPR meeting is now about to begin with a full agenda.

Dr Miyagishima appreciated the hard work of the experts prior to the meeting and intensive discussion and critical review during the meeting. This engagement assures that the scientific output from the meeting will meet the highest possible standard. This way of working is essential in maintaining the consistent high quality of the scientific advice provided by FAO and WHO to the Codex – and to the countries of the world. As a result, the advice from the JMPR is respected and widely used around the world through application of Codex standards for food in international trade and directly by national authorities.

On behalf of WHO and FAO, Dr Miyagishima conveyed a deep appreciation for the efforts and commitment to the JMPR by the experts. Without these expert inputs, the organisations would not be able to deliver this necessary expert advice and – consequently – the safety of food around the world would suffer. Finally, Dr Miyagishima wished all the participants a fruitful meeting over the next two weeks.

During the meeting, the FAO Panel of Experts on Pesticide Residues in Food was responsible for reviewing residue and analytical aspects of the pesticides under consideration, including data on their metabolism, fate in the environment and use patterns, and for estimating the maximum levels of residues that might occur as a result of use of the pesticides according to good agricultural practice. The methodologies are described in detail in the FAO Manual on the submission and evaluation of pesticide residue data for the estimation of maximum residue levels in food and feed (2016) hereafter referred to as the FAO manual. The WHO Core Assessment Group on Pesticide Residues was responsible for reviewing toxicological and related data in order to establish acceptable daily intakes (ADIs) and acute reference doses (ARfDs), where necessary and possible.

The Meeting evaluated 30 pesticides, including eight new compounds and three compounds that were re-evaluated for toxicity or residues, or both, within the periodic review programme of the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues (CCPR). The Meeting established ADIs and ARfDs, estimated maximum residue levels and recommended them for use by CCPR, and estimated supervised trials median residue (STMR) and highest residue (HR) levels as a basis for estimating dietary exposures.

The Meeting also estimated the dietary exposures (both acute and long-term) to the pesticides reviewed and, on this basis, performed a dietary risk assessment in relation to the relevant ADI and where necessary the ARfD. Cases in which ADIs or ARfDs may be exceeded, if they occur, are clearly indicated in order to facilitate the decision-making process by CCPR.

The Meeting considered a number of general issues addressing procedures for the evaluation and risk assessment of pesticide residues.