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Joint Fao/Who Expert Meetings on Microbiological Risk Assessmen (JEMRA) - Factsheet







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    FAO/WHO Joint Expert Meeting on Microbiological Risk Assessment (JEMRA): Twenty Years of International Microbiological Risk Assessment 2021
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    Since the late 1990s, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO) has convened expert meetings and consultations to address the microbiological risk assessment (MRA). These meetings are held to provide scientific advice in response to requests for from Codex Alimentarius, the international food standard-setting body. Individuals participate in the FAO/WHO joint expert meetings on the microbiological risk assessment (JEMRA) in their personal capacity, as technical experts, yet bring diverse regional and national perspectives that contribute to practical applications, particularly for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Over 370 experts from around the globe have contributed to the meeting outcomes that have been published in nearly 40 monographs in the FAO/WHO microbial risk assessment (MRA) series, addressing particular food commodities with microbial hazard(s) combinations or a methodological aspect of microbial risk assessment. FAO/WHO MRA series inform Codex decision-making for the development of international standards for safe food and fair trade in food products; are consulted by risk managers such as food safety authorities and food business operators to make science-based decisions, and are used by academics to advance food safety research and educate the next generation of food safety professionals.
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    Book (series)
    Microbiological hazards in spices and dried aromatic herbs
    Meeting report
    2022
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    Spices and dried aromatic herbs impart flavour when added to food, and they may include many parts of the plant, including berries, flowers, leaves, roots and seeds. A number of different pathogens have been found in spices on the market, especially Salmonella spp., B. cereus and C. perfringens. There have also been several disease outbreaks associated with spices and dried aromatic herbs. An increased concern and attention to the safety of spices and dried aromatic herbs prompted, the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene (CCFH) to request FAO and WHO to undertake a risk assessment on microbiological hazards in these food commodities. An expert meeting of the FAO/WHO Joint Expert Meeting on Microbiological Risk Assessment (JEMRA) considered the global evidence on the burden of illness, prevalence and concentration of selected microbial hazards with respect to various spices and dried aromatic herbs, and interventions aimed at controlling them in these commodities. The experts developed the approach to rank the health risks related to the commodity-pathogen combinations, and assessed the performance of the existing Codex sampling plan for Salmonella against several contamination scenarios.
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    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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