Continuing to Foster a Risk Assessment Capacity to Support Aligned Food Safety Regulatory Decisions @arabsafetrade

Tunis, 19 July 2018 The Expert Working Group on Food Safety Risk Assessment for the Arab Region, concluded its 2-day meeting in Tunis, Tunisia with participation from Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar and Tunisia.


This working group, chaired by Morocco, was struck and has been active since December 2016 under the auspices of the Arab Food Safety Initiative for Trade Facilitation (SAFE), implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and funded by the Government of Sweden. It aims at developing a food safety risk assessment capacity for the Arab region, to support increased alignment in food regulatory measures between food regulators in the region, as a result of the adoption of science-based decisions.

IMG_3253Meeting participants examined the risk assessment training program to be delivered, as part of SAFE and developed recommendations for its implementation. The EWG also agreed to continue the development of collaborative initiatives in risk assessment capacity building with European food risk assessment institutions such as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) etc..

Arab experts reviewed the pilot risk assessment studies to be undertaken in the Arab region, throughout the upcoming year and agreed on their scope: “Salmonella in Broiler chicken”, “Aflatoxins in the Arab diet” and “Ochratoxin A in cereal-derived foods”. The requirements for the calls for data to support these studies were finalized with the aim to attempt to capture as much food occurrence and exposure information as possible from food authorities and academic organizations in the Arab region.

Experts discussed efforts to bolster the food safety risk assessment capacity throughout the Arab region and enable it with the required baseline information for sustainability of investments. A recommendation was made to initiate the development of food consumption data in various Arab sub-regions. At a time where a number of food safety regulatory authorities are initiating this effort, the EWG recommended that SAFE guides this effort with the development of a common set of requirements including an agreed-upon food categorization system as well as guidelines for the implementation of data collection, to enable opportunities of seamless data sharing and the possibility of use of such data throughout the Arab region. Participants reiterated the importance of risk assessment as a key foundation of robust food safety regulatory decisions and the need to further broadening of risk assessment capacity amongst food safety regulators in the Arab region.


The Arab Risk Assessment Initiative is one of the key initiatives implemented as part of the Arab Food Safety Initiative for Trade Facilitation (SAFE):
The Arab Food Safety Initiative for Trade Facilitation (SAFE) is a capacity building project financed by the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in collaboration with the League of Arab States (LAS), the Arab Industrial Development and Mining Organization (AIDMO) and the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development (AOAD)


Gestion des #allergènes alimentaires: Questions émergentes et perspectives – Thème choisi pour la rencontre annuelle de l’#AQIA

La Gestion des allergènes alimentaires est la thématique choisie cette année pour la rencontre annuelle de l’Association Québécoise pour l’Innocuité alimentaire (AQIA).

Cet événement a lieu le 30 septembre et 1 er octobre 2015 à Québec.

Plusieurs sujets seront abordés: de l’importance de cette problématique en termes de santé publique et de gestion industrielle, aux pratiques de contrôles industriel et réglementaire, aux méthodes d’analyse des allergènes dans les matrices alimentaires, ainsi qu’aux valeurs seuils pour certains allergènes et leur utilisation potentielle dans un contexte de gestion des risques pour la santé et de développement réglementaire et le développement de compétences nécessaire pour mieux gérer cette problématique.

Des orateurs et experts du Canada, des États-Unis, d’Europe et d’Australie participeront à cette rencontre.

Le programme est présenté ci-dessous.

Davantage d’informations sont disponibles sur le site de l’AQIA

Les organisateurs continuent à chercher des commanditaires. Pour plus d’informations sur ces aspects et d’autres, veuillez contacter Andrée Lagacé ( et par téléphone au (418) 656-3951.

Mise à jour de l’évaluation de l’avoine pure et son innocuité dans le cadre d’un régime “sans gluten”

Écrit par : Samuel Godefroy – Toute opinion n’engage que ma personne sans aucun engagement par mon employeur

Les scientifiques de la Direction des aliments de Santé Canada ont mis à jour leur évaluation scientifique sur l’innocuité de l’avoine spécialement produite, avant d’être introduite dans un régime “sans gluten”. Cette avoine produite sans être contaminée par d’autres céréales telles que le blé ou l’orge a été jugée sécuritaire pour être introduite progressivement dans un régime “sans gluten” pour les personnes céliaques.

Les détails de cette évaluation ont été publiés et sont ouverts à commentaire jusqu’à la fin janvier 2015.

Les commentaires  pourront être envoyés à l’adresse suivante:

Plus de détails via le lien suivant : Consultation de Santé Canada sur l’allégation sans gluten pour l’avoine pure

Labelling of mechanically tenderized beef – Publication in Canada Gazette Part II and guidance document

Health Canada published its final regulatory requirements related to mandatory labeling of mechanically tenderized beef in part II of the Canada Gazette on May 21st, 2014.

In comparison to the initial set of requirements previously described on this blog, you will note that some changes were introduced to ensure more flexibility of application of the labeling requirements where applicable, while maintaining the main objective of ensuring that consumers are duly informed when beef is mechanically tenderized through a statement on the label, in a consistent and clear fashion. These changes are the result of the consultation process and the feed-back from the stakeholder community.

Health Canada’s Food Directorate published a guidance document to support the industry sector’s readiness for the implementation of these requirements upon the coming into force of the regulations, planned for August 2014.

Proposed lower tolerances for Arsenic and Lead in selected foods sold in Canada – Consultation

Health Canada’s Food Directorate is proposing to update certain regulatory tolerances for arsenic and lead in a variety of beverages, including bottled water.

Arsenic and lead are present in the environment at low levels as a result of their natural occurrence and release related to human activity, including industrial activity. The levels of arsenic and lead in foods available in Canada have been stable at very low levels for many years; these trace amounts typically reflect the expected accumulation from the environment.

Health Canada proposes to reduce the tolerance for lead in fruit juice, fruit nectar, and beverages when ready-to-serve, to the level of 0.05 ppm or 0.05 milligram per Liter, 4 times lower than the current level. Health Canada also proposes that the maximum tolerance for lead in bottled water be reduced to 0.01 ppm or 0.01 milligram per Liter.

These levels were deemed to be achievable and are consistent with the tolerances established by the Codex Alimentarius Commission: the International food standard setting body.

For arsenic, the focus is on apple juice and bottled water. Apple juice is the most frequently consumed juice by young children in Canada and was therefore subject to particular focus as a potential significant source of exposure to this vulnerable group of our population. Health Canada proposes that the maximum tolerance for total arsenic be set at 0.01 ppm or 0.01 milligram per Liter for both bottled water and apple juice. Setting levels for total arsenic rather than inorganic arsenic (which is the toxic form for arsenic) allows an increased level of protection and is more easily complied with and enforceable by regulators, given the wide range of available methods to measure total arsenic in food (as opposed to inorganic arsenic, for which methods are more complex and possibly less accessible to industry).

Health Canada’s rationale for these changes as well as the consultation document are available on its Food and Nutrition Webpages.

The proposed lower tolerances are more protective of human health than those that currently exist.  Lowering these tolerances aligns with Health Canada’s general commitment to reduce dietary exposure to contaminants, and lead and arsenic in particular, to levels that are as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA)

The consultation is open and comments can be sent to Health Canada’s Food Directorate, Bureau of Chemical Safety until September 1st, 2014.

Conseils sur l’utilisation et l’innocuité du lait maternel obtenu par don

La Direction des aliments de Santé Canada a publié un document de questions et réponses sur l’innocuité microbiologique du lait maternel obtenu par don au Canada. Ce document a pour but d’aviser les Canadiens des risques associés à la consommation de lait maternel obtenu par l’internet ou directement auprès de personnes tierces. Ce document offre également une orientation générale relative aux dons de lait maternel.

Le document est accessible via ce lien.

Advice about microbial safety of donor human milk in Canada

Health Canada’s Food Directorate has published a Questions and Answers document on the microbiological safety of donor human milk in Canada. This document was developed to advise Canadians about the risks associated with the consumption of human milk obtained from the Internet or directly from individuals. This document also offers general guidance related to donor human milk.
The document is available at the following link.

Approche basée sur l’analyse des risques pour l’addition de vitamines et minéraux à certains aliments – pour consultation

Les scientifiques de la direction des aliments de Santé Canada ont publié dans la section: Communications sur l’analyse des risques alimentaires de la Revue Internationale de l’Analyse des Risques Alimentaires (RIARA) leur approche proposée pour l’établissement de teneurs maximales de vitamines et minéraux destinés à être ajoutés à certains aliments, qui pourraient devenir éligibles à des autorisations temporaires de mise sur le marché au Canada. Cette approche est basée sur une analyse des risques alimentaires.

Ce document technique est ouvert à la consultation des pairs et des parties prenantes, pour une période de 60 jours à compter du 2 juin 2014.

L’article peut être consulté via lien suivant.

Les commentaires peuvent être envoyés à la direction des aliments de Santé Canada, à l’adresse :

Proposed Risk Analysis Approach to set Maximum Levels for Vitamins & Minerals in Supplemented Foods – for Consultation

Health Canada’s Food Directorate scientists have published in the “Risk Analysis Communications” Section of the International Food Risk Analysis Journal (IFRAJ), their proposed risk analysis-based approach to set maximum levels for the addition of vitamins and minerals to food products that would become eligible for Temporary Marketing Authorization, as supplemented foods. This technical paper is open for consultation during a period of 60 days, starting June 2nd, 2014. Comments can be sent to

The paper is accessible through the link attached.

Capacity Building Activities essential to #Codexalimentarius – Aiming for more inclusive processes and engaged membership

The Strategic Plan 2014-19 adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission membership at its last commission meeting in 2013 reaffirmed the importance of capacity building initiatives dedicated to strengthen Codex structures, support participation and engagement of developing countries and ensure that Codex standards are truly global with an effective contribution from all countries, including developing countries. A specific Strategic Goal (Strategic Goal 3: Facilitate effective participation of all codex members) was dedicated to this purpose. Similar endeavours are also to be pursued under Strategic Goal 2, with the objective to ensure that scientific evidence supporting Codex standards be provided by as many members as possible.

Last month, I had the opportunity to participate in two capacity building initiatives recently held in Canada and the United States, where I was honored to contribute to the scientific and technical program developed by the organizers.

From left to right : Michael Abbott (HC), Dr. Stephen Taylor (FARRP), Jean-Marc Gélinas (HC), Dr. Terry Koerner (HC)

From left to right : Michael Abbott (HC), Dr. Stephen Taylor (FARRP), Jean-Marc Gélinas (HC), Dr. Terry Koerner (HC)

The APEC / Health Canada / FARRP Capacity building initiative on food allergen management was held in Vancouver, British Columbia – Canada, from May 4-8, 2014. I was particularly honoured to contribute to the May 4th session dedicated to introduce the issue of food allergen management as an emerging area of concern that requires added attention by all stakeholders: food industry across the entire supply chain, food regulators and consumers. This session was followed by the Health Canada / FARRP Food Allergen Methodologies Workshop. Canada was supported by several APEC economies to enable participation of a broader audience of food regulators from the Asia Pacific Region to the workshop. A record attendance was registered for this session of the Workshop, which is now considered a regular hub gathering food allergen experts from around the world.

With some members of the US Codex capacity building team

With some members of the US Codex capacity building team

On May 14-15th, 2014, I was also honoured to contribute to the US Codex Partnership initiative, a capacity building activity gathering Codex representatives from around the world, in Washington DC (USA). I had the opportunity to discuss with the workshop participants the various steps that led us to develop and adopt by consensus the Codex strategic plan 2014-19. The workshop was an invaluable opportunity to meet and exchange views with Codex representatives and colleagues from Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia/ Pacific and Africa on Codex activities, upcoming challenges and opportunities of enhanced collaboration.

An invaluable opportunity to meet and discuss with Codex peers and colleagues, from Africa, Asia/Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean

An invaluable opportunity to meet and discuss with Codex peers and colleagues, from Africa, Asia/Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean