Food safety

Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA)

JECFA is an international scientific expert committee administered jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and WHO. It has been meeting since 1956, to evaluate the safety of food additives, contaminants, naturally occurring toxicants and residues of veterinary drugs in food.

JECFA serves as an independent scientific expert committee which performs risk assessments and provides advice to FAO, WHO and the member countries of both organizations, as well as to the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC).

JECFA Members are prominent scientists from across the world, of recognised scientific excellence with competences spreading across disciplines within JECFA remit:

  • Risk assessment practice – human health risk assessment, food consumption and exposure assessment, toxicology, epidemiology, veterinary medicine, chemistry, biology, biochemistry, life sciences.
  • Cross-cutting scientific issues – statistical approaches in risk assessment, the preparation of guidance for risk assessment in the area of food and feed.

Roster of experts

Both FAO and WHO establish listings of experts, called rosters; appointments are for a period of five years following an open call for application from scientific experts specialised in the fields within the remit of JECFA.

Experts are selected from those rosters by the Secretariat for each meeting, considering the expertise needed and a balance of scientific views and other experience that are essential for the evaluation of the items on the agenda of the meeting.

Final appointment for the meeting and assignment of tasks occurs only after careful evaluation of Declarations of Interests submitted by each expert. FAO and WHO meet the costs of experts’ attendance at JECFA meetings.

Pending requests for evaluation