The Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) hosted the first meeting of the International Risk Assessment Advisory Committee (IRAAC) from 27-29 November 2018 in Riyadh. His Excellency, Professor Al Jadhi, CEO of the SFDA opened the meeting and expressed his support to the work to be undertaken by the Committee in providing strategic and scientific advice to the Authority on risk assessment initiatives as well as on the way scientific opinions and risk determination should be positioned at the heart of the food decision-making process and standard setting. Profs., Patrick Wall (Ireland), Paul Brent (Australia), Dr. Yokiko Yamada (Japan) and myself (Samuel B. Godefroy) contributed to the meeting. Dr. Rashed Alarfaj, Executive Director, Department of Monitoring & Risk Assessment, represented the SFDA as the Ex-Officio member of the Committee.
The Committee meeting reviewed the proposed structure of the food decision-making process proposed by the SFDA in alignment with risk analysis principles, along with its supporting governance structure. It enabled to offer advice and comments on the SFDA projected integrated food monitoring program and on directions for food-related research to be undertaken by the SFDA Research Centre. The Committee also discussed the outputs of risk ranking and development of risk profiles by SFDA science and policy teams in relation with priority food hazards. Committee members appreciated the level of maturity of the SFDA risk assessment capacity and offered advice on future directions of investments in training in this discipline as well as tool acquisition and modernization, in alignment with the leadership vision of the Authority, at the regional and international level.
I was honoured to be appointed Chair of the committee for the next 2 years and am looking forward to contributing with my peers and colleagues to providing advice towards strengthening the already robust foundation of risk assessment and risk analysis capacity of the SFDA for the benefit of consumers in Saudi Arabia and globally.
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