International Programme on Chemical Safety

A Model for Establishing Upper Levels of Intake for Nutrients and Related Substances: Report of a Joint FAO/WHO Technical Workshop on Nutrient Risk Assessment, 2-6 May 2005

A scientific workshop was jointly convened by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Workshop participants were asked to address nutrient risk assessment as it relates to the derivation of upper levels of intake for nutrient substances.

The report from the Workshop is now available online:

Publication of the report in hard-copy will occur in the near future. However, the electronic version will remain available online on this web site.

Background information on the Workshop

The Workshop participants were asked to develop an internationally applicable approach (or 'model') intended to specify the scientific process of nutrient risk assessment. Such a model can be used in the future to identify upper levels of intake for nutrients and related substances. The Workshop tasks did not include identifying such levels of intake, but rather focused on the important first step of establishing a scientifically sound approach for assessing the risk, if any, associated with nutrients and related substances. The Workshop addressed the scientific decisions related to the nutrient risk assessment process; nutrient risk management decisions and policy setting activities were outside the scope of the Workshop.

Prior to the Workshop, FAO and WHO made available the draft agenda for the Workshop as well as a context paper intended to provide background information for the Workshop participants. These documents can be accessed using the following links:

Plans for the FAO/WHO Workshop included soliciting public input between 1 November 2004 and 7 January 2005. On 1 November, FAO/WHO posted a Background Paper on their web sites which outlined key issues and the scientific challenges related to nutrient risk assessment. The Background Paper also asked a series of questions. All interested persons were invited to submit comments and responses to the questions through 10 December. The comments received were posted on the web site so that all could see the input provided. A Call for Information was also conducted from 1 November to 7 January. Both the comments in response to the Background Paper and the materials received as a result of the Call for Information were made available to the Workshop participants.

In order to assist FAO/WHO in identifying scientific experts qualified to take part in the Workshop, a Call for Experts was issued and posted on the web site. Applications to be considered to serve as an expert could be submitted electronically or by mail from 24 November until 7 January 2005.

The qualifications for experts were outlined in the Call for Experts. As described in the Call for Experts, qualifications included among other factors training as well as professional experience at the national and/or international level in the areas of nutrition, toxicology, dietary exposure, statistics, food technology, biochemistry, pharmacology and other closely related disciplines. Overall, the selection process took into account appropriate interdisciplinary balance of expertise as well as equitable geographical representation and gender balance.

The documents referred to above can be viewed using the following links:

Consistent with WHO procedures for the meetings of experts, the Workshop was of a private character and was not open to the public. This web site contains all the information now available about the Workshop and its report. Please note that World Health Organization: Basic Documents (44th ed, October 2002) provides relevant administrative information and is available on the WHO web site: