Food safety

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

What is JECFA?

The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) is an international scientific expert committee that is administered jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations FAO and the World Health Organization WHO. It has been meeting since 1956, initially to evaluate the safety of food additives. Its work now also includes the evaluation of contaminants, naturally occurring toxicants and residues of veterinary drugs in food.

To date, JECFA has evaluated more than 2600 food additives, approximately 50 contaminants and naturally occurring toxicants, and residues of approximately 95 veterinary drugs. The Committee also develops principles for the safety assessment of chemicals in food that are consistent with current thinking on risk assessment and take account of recent developments in toxicology and other relevant sciences.

The above flow chart shows the process flow for JECFA.

  • More information about JECFA
    A brief summary of the purpose, history, and workings of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives.

Sites related to JECFA

  • Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR)
    The Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues is the related expert committee for pesticide residues in food. It is responsible for reviewing and evaluating toxicological residue and analytical aspects of the pesticides under consideration.
  • Codex Alimentarius
    The Codex Alimentarius Commission was created in 1963 by FAO and WHO to develop food standards, guidelines and related texts such as codes of practice under the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme. The main purposes of this Programme are protecting health of the consumers and ensuring fair trade practices in the food trade, and promoting coordination of all food standards work undertaken by international governmental and non-governmental organizations. Codex standards are based on scientific advice as provided by JECFA and JMPR.