Food safety

Call for Advisers - Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group (FERG)

Although foodborne diseases are a growing public health problem worldwide, no precise and consistent global estimates exist to date. WHO developed a strategic framework for the estimation of Global Burden of Foodborne Diseases during an international expert consultation held in Geneva ( One of the main recommendations of the Consultation was to create an expert group to implement the framework.

Purpose of FERG

The FERG understands the term epidemiology in the widest sense as meaning the application of a variety of scientific methodologies (including risk assessment approaches) to arrive at disease burden estimates. The group will be composed of professionals from disciplines including:

  • Microbiology, parasitology and virology
  • Burden of disease methodologies
  • Microbiological and chemical risk assessment (including toxicological), and source attribution
  • Disease and exposure modeling, statistics and geographic information systems
  • Clinical medicine and nutrition
  • Food protection, policy and regulation

The group will operate at the level of various task forces and direct and monitor the strategy for global burden of foodborne disease estimation. It will estimate the burden of disease from all relevant etiologies and be specifically charged with:

  • reviewing data on foodborne disease burden;
  • overseeing the technical work of assessing the models and data;
  • advising and consulting WHO on the derivation of accurate estimates of foodborne disease burden.

Skills and experience required

WHO is seeking advisers with the following skills and experience:

  • Internationally recognized expertise in foodborne diseases of either microbiological, chemical, toxicological, parasitic or zoonotic origin;
  • Practical experience in reviewing, analyzing, and evaluating human epidemiological data on the effects of toxic chemicals, or reviewing, analyzing, evaluating, and extrapolating experimental animal biological data on toxic chemicals to humans;
  • Recognized expertise in epidemiological modelling and/or in burden of disease methodologies;
  • Extensive experience in international public health;
  • High standing as internationally recognized scientist, as evidenced by publication record;
  • Commitment to participate actively and regularly in FERG, amounting to approximately 2- 3 weeks per year; a commitment to serve as resource adviser with less active engagement is also possible.

Further information for applicants

All applications should be submitted electronically to:

In your application, please indicate whether you wish to serve as task force member (and in which area of expertise) or resource adviser.