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Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Risks and Benefits of Fish Consumption - Summary and Conclusions. Rome, Italy, 9-13 October 2023

Issued November 2023









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    Book (series)
    Report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on the Risks and Benefits of Fish Consumption. Rome, 25-29 january 2010 2011
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    The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization convened a Joint Expert Consultation on the Risks and Benefits of Fish Consumption from 25 to 29 January 2010. The tasks of the Expert Consultation were to review data on levels of nutrients (long-chain omega-3 fatty acids) and specific chemical contaminants (methylmercury and dioxins) in a range of fish species and to compare the health benefits of fish consumption and nutrient intake with th e health risks associated with contaminants present in fish. The Expert Consultation drew a number of conclusions regarding the health benefits and health risks associated with fish consumption and recommended a series of steps that Member States should take to better assess and manage the risks and benefits of fish consumption and more effectively communicate these risks and benefits to their citizens. The output of the Expert Consultation is a framework for assessing the net health ben efits or risks of fish consumption that will provide guidance to national food safety authorities and the Codex Alimentarius Commission in their work on managing risks, taking into account the existing data on the benefits of eating fish. The Expert Consultation concluded the following: Consumption of fish provides energy, protein and a range of other important nutrients, including the long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCn3PUFAs). Eating fish is part of the cultural traditi ons of many peoples. In some populations, fish is a major source of food and essential nutrients. Among the general adult population, consumption of fish, particularly fatty fish, lowers the risk of mortality from coronary heart disease. There is an absence of probable or convincing evidence of risk of coronary heart disease associated with methylmercury. Potential cancer risks associated with dioxins are well below established coronary heart disease benefits from fish consumption. W hen comparing the benefits of LCn3PUFAs with the risks of methylmercury among women of childbearing age, maternal fish consumption lowers the risk of suboptimal neurodevelopment in their offspring compared with the offspring of women not eating fish in most circumstances evaluated. At levels of maternal exposure to dioxins (from fish and other dietary sources) that do not exceed the provisional tolerable monthly intake (PTMI) of 70 pg/kg body weight established by JECFA (for PCDDs, PCD Fs and coplanar PCBs), neurodevelopmental risk for the fetus is negligible. At levels of maternal exposure to dioxins (from fish and other dietary sources) that exceed the PTMI, neurodevelopmental risk for the fetus may no longer be negligible. Among infants, young children and adolescents, the available data are currently insufficient to derive a quantitative framework of the health risks and health benefits of eating fish. However, healthy dietary patterns that include fish consumpti on and are established early in life influence dietary habits and health during adult life.
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    Book (series)
    FAO/WHO background document on the risks and benefits of fish consumption 2024
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    The report of the first Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on the Risks and Benefits of Fish Consumption was published in 2010. Since then, new literature, data and information on the subject have become available. As such, FAO and WHO decided to generate a background report consisting of a comprehensive literature review, followed by an expert consultation, to update the report with new scientific evidence. This background document aims to provide scientific evidence about the risks and benefits of fish consumption in order to update the 2010 Report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on the Risks and Benefits of Fish Consumption. To provide new scientific evidence, five extensive literature reviews were conducted, focusing on the following five topics:1. evidence of health benefits from fish consumption; 2. toxic effects of dioxins and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (dl-PCBs) (from studies published since 2010);3. toxic effects of methylmercury (MeHg) (from studies published since 2010);4. the role of selenium (Se) with regard to the health effects of MeHg;5. occurrence data for MeHg, dioxins and dl-PCBs in fishery and aquaculture products (from studies published since 2010).The reviews followed a systematic approach, performing a systematic literature search and implementing elements from systematic literature reviews. A systematic review attempts to identify, appraise and synthesize all the empirical evidence that meets prespecified eligibility criteria to answer a specific research question.
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    Meeting
    78th Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) meeting - Residues of veterinary drugs. Summary and conclusions, revised 2014 2014
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    A meeting of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) was held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 5 to 14 November 2013. The purpose of the meeting was to evaluate residues of certain veterinary drugs in food. The report of the meeting will be printed in the WHO Technical Report Series. Its presentation will be similar to that of previous reports, namely, general considerations, comments on specific substances and recommendations. The report will include an annex (similar to Annex 1 in this summary) summarizing the conclusions reached by the Committee relating to ADIs, dietary exposure and MRLs.

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