The FAO and WHO have called for experts and data on two different subjects as well as announcing a webinar on cell-based food.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) call for experts covers the risks and benefits of fish consumption.

The objective is to identify qualified scientists willing to participate in future expert consultations to develop scientific advice for guiding Codex texts and advise member states.

The deadline for applications is April 7 and the expert consultation is planned for Oct. 9 to 13, 2023. An expected outcome will be a framework for assessing the risks and benefits of fish consumption.

A report on the pros and cons of fish consumption was published in 2010 but since then, new scientific evidence has been published, which may mean conclusions and recommendations need to be updated. The 2010 report looked at chemical contaminants methylmercury and dioxins, polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) as well as dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

The call for data is about veterinary drug residues in food. Governments, organizations, producers of the relevant compounds, and individuals can submit data for the toxicological and residue evaluations, as well as for estimating the intake of the drugs.

A number of veterinary drugs will be evaluated or re-evaluated at the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Meeting on Food Additives (JECFA) in February 2024. Substances under consideration are clopidol, ethoxyquin, fumagillin and imidacloprid. The deadline for data submission is Sept. 30, 2023.

Cell-based food and WFSD theme
The FAO and WHO is holding a webinar on cell-based foods and their production processes in April.

Cell-based food production involves growing animal products from cell cultures. Cell-based chicken nuggets were approved in Singapore in December 2020.

FAO has already produced three background documents on the topic with another publication on food safety aspects of such products to be released during the webinar. The latter will cover relevant terminology, principles of cell-based food production processes, and global regulatory frameworks. Case studies from Israel, Qatar, and Singapore are featured.

Two identical sessions will be held on April 5—one at 9 am GMT and another at 4 pm GMT.

It has also been confirmed the theme of World Food Safety Day on June 7, 2023, will be food standards. This coincides with the 60th anniversary of Codex Alimentarius.

A guide has been published in six languages to provide an overview of the theme, facts and figures, event ideas, and critical messages that could be used to raise awareness and inspire action on the day.

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