The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is seeking food safety experts for work on cell-based products.

The process involves new technologies, techniques and production steps so countries need to consider adopting a regulatory process that addresses the relevant issues as such products are becoming available in the market, according to the FAO.

No harmonized terminology means meat analogues may be called cell-based, cultured, or cultivated meat. It is also listed as being animal-free, clean or slaughter-free meat. Some identify the technology as cellular agriculture or cell-culturing. Various types of meat, poultry, fish, dairy and egg products are being developed.

A question consumers often raise is safety of cell-based food products. There are other important issues, including ethical, consumer preference/acceptance, production cost, price of products, environmental considerations, and regulatory requirements such as approval methods and labeling rules. In December 2020, cell-based chicken nuggets were approved in Singapore.

Create a subject guide
To help the FAO assist its members by providing scientific advice to make informed decisions, a three-day expert consultation will be scheduled in Rome, Italy or Singapore in late 2022 or in a virtual or hybrid format if necessary.

The objective of the meeting is to develop a document with up-to-date knowledge on cell-based food production. The primary target audience is national food authorities and it prioritizes food safety issues.

Expert consultation results with technical information and good practices should enable FAO members, particularly low- and middle-income countries, to be informed and prepared on safety aspects of cell-based food products.

Applications will be evaluated in two phases. Those sent by April 30 will be looked at to select up to 25 experts and industry specialists. Applications sent by May 20 will be reviewed to pick up to 10 people. All selected experts will be contacted in June 2022.

Selected individuals will attend the meeting in their personal capacity and be required to declare any potential related financial or intellectual interests. For more information and to apply click here.

Pesticide expert call
Meanwhile, FAO and WHO have issued a call for people to join the Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR).

Experts conduct scientific evaluations and risk assessments on pesticide residues and provide advice on the acceptable levels for food in international trade.

Qualified experts will be selected from the roster for each meeting depending on what is required. Conclusions and recommendations of the committee are published in reports. Applications must be submitted by Aug. 31 and appointments will be for up to four years.

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