International Programme on Chemical Safety

Nutrient risk assessment project

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) plan to convene a technical expert workshop on nutrient risk assessment in May 2005. The outcome of the workshop will be to provide scientific advice to FAO and WHO concerning an internationally applicable approach that may be used as part of future activities to identify safe upper levels of intake for nutrients and related substances. The goal of the workshop is to consider existing approaches as appropriate and develop a model or framework that can be applied by FAO/WHO as well as member countries. The outcome will be a set of scientific guidelines for the purpose of risk assessment only. This risk assessment approach may be considered by national and regional risk managers to the extent it is appropriate to their needs and interests in establishing their own public health policies and regulations.

Plans for the FAO/WHO workshop include soliciting public input for this activity at two points in time. The first request for input occurred between 1 November 2004 and 7 January 2005. On 1 November, FAO/WHO posted a Background Paper on their websites 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 website 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 will be made available to the scientific experts who will take part in the workshop.

The second opportunity for public input will occur at the time the report of the workshop is completed. The report will be posted on the FAO/WHO websites for public comment. Comments received will be taken into consideration before the report is considered for distribution by FAO/WHO.

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 websites. 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 will take into account appropriate interdisciplinary balance of expertise as well as equitable geographical representation and gender balance. Should FAO/WHO find that certain expertise is lacking among the pool of candidates, FAO/WHO may seek additional experts to add to the pool of candidates as needed. The selection of workshop participants is conducted collectively by FAO/WHO and is not the responsibility of individual staff members. Persons who made applications in response to the Call for Experts and who are not selected will be notified of their non-selection by e-mail no later than 18 February.

Consistent with the WHO procedures for the meetings of experts, the workshop is of a private character and will not be open to the public. The names of persons selected to serve as workshop experts will not be announced until the workshop report is finalized and distributed.

This web site contains all the information now available about the workshop on nutrient risk assessment. Please note that World Health Organization: Basic Documents (44th ed, October 2002) is available on the WHO web site (

You may also view the responses to the questions posed in the Background Paper:

FAO/WHO have also conducted a Call for Experts to serve as participants in the May 2005 nutrient risk assessment workshop. Information on the Call for Experts was posted on the website and made available to all interested parties. Applications were received electronically as well as by mail through 7 January 2005. The Call for Experts document may be viewed below:

Contact information for the Nutrient Risk Assessment project:

IPCS/Nutrient Risk Assessment
Room L-228
World Health Organization
20, Avenue Appia
CH-1211 Geneva 27