International Center of Excellence
in Food Risk Communication

The International Center of Excellence in Food Risk Communication was established in 2011 as a collaborative initiative among global food and health organizations, government agencies, academic institutions, and expert nonprofit communication organizations. The Center was founded on the belief that it is important to have a collective international resource of food-specific risk communication materials which are dedicated to enabling informed decision-making to promote global health. Read More

Welcome to the International Center of Excellence in Food Risk Communication

Our Vision

The International Center of Excellence in Food Risk Communication will be the premier global resource for risk communication on food and health.

Our Mission

The International Center of Excellence in Food Risk Communication provides resources to help government officials, health professionals, academicians, food producers, journalists, the public, and other stakeholders communicate and understand concepts, practices, research, and data about food safety, nutrition, and health.

Our Goals

  • Convene credible and influential governmental, communications, and health authorities to maximize their individual and collective reach and effectiveness for the public good.
  • Contribute to the international body of knowledge on food risk communication.
  • Increase the effectiveness of food risk communication, thereby enabling informed decisions about food safety, nutrition, and health.

Navigating Around This Site

Please use the navigation buttons at the top of this page to access specific information About Risk Communication, regarding website Partners,  regarding Food and Health Professional Resources and regarding Consumer Resources.

If you would like to link directly to the websites of the Partner Organizations, please click on their name or icon in the rotating panel entitled “Our Partners” at the right. 

For information contributed to the International Center of Excellence in Food Risk Communication by the Partner Organizations, please click on their name in the International Partner Organizations section below. 

For additional resources available from Agencies and Others Involved in Risk Communication, please click on that section below.

 

Our Partners

Canadian Food Inspection AgencyU.S. Food & Drug AdministrationFood Standards Australia New ZealandInternational Food Information Council FoundationInter American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture - IICAJoint Institute for Food Safety and Applied NutritionHealth CanadaThe National Center for Food Protection and DefenseUSDAChina National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment

Current News & Hot Topics

  • The International Food Information Council Foundation has contributed two recent case studies on Bisphenol A in baby bottles and Communicating about the use of ammonia in “Lean Finely Textured Beef”.  October 3, 2014
  • World Health Organization: Information note: Ebola and food safety -
    Ebola: general information

    Currently an outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) is ongoing in several African countries. Ebola virus disease is a severe illness. The infection is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected animals or people.
    During an outbreak, those at higher risk of infection are health workers, family members and others in close contact with sick people and deceased patients.

    Appropriate infection and prevention control measures can be implemented to stop transmission and supportive care to patients help to considerably reduce the mortality. Spread of the infection can be controlled through the use of recommended protective measures in clinics and hospitals, at community gatherings, during burial ceremonies or at home.

    Current outbreak: a human to human transmission


    Ebola viruses are known to cause epidemics of disease among wild animals, particularly non-human primates.

    Potential hosts of Ebola viruses are non-human primates, duikers, bats, small rodents, and shrews.

    The initial source of past EVD outbreaks was likely human contact with wild animals through hunting, butchering and preparing meat from infected wild animals (“bush meat”), with subsequent transmission from human to human.

    However, in the current outbreak, the majority of cases are a result of human to human transmission.

    Food, animals and Ebola

    If food products are properly prepared and cooked, humans cannot become infected by consuming them: the Ebola virus is inactivated through cooking.

    Basic hygiene measures can prevent infection in people in direct contact with infected animals or with raw meat and by-products.

    Basic hygiene measures include regular hand washing and changing of clothes and boots before and after touching these animals and their products.

    However, sick and diseased animal should never be consumed.   August 24, 2014
  • EFSA is launching a public consultation on its draft scientific opinion on acrylamide in food, developed by the Authority’s expert Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM). Until 15 September, scientists and other interested parties can comment on the draft opinion through an online public consultation.

     See EFSA information at:

    See also US FDA publication Acrylamide Questions and Answers that encourages consumers to adopt a healthy eating plan consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, as well as IFIC Foundation video resource  Dave Lineback explains Acrylamide     July 2, 2014

  • The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has announced that it will hold a workshop on their re-evaluation program for food additives, which will take place in Brussels, Belgium on April 28th 2014.

    Business operators, scientific experts, representatives of the European Commission, EFSA scientific staff and other interested parties will discuss the Authority's work program covering the period 2014-2016 related to the re-evaluation of food additives; how and when to submit data for risk assessment and how to strengthen cooperation with stakeholders. 
    For details and draft agenda, see: Stakeholder workshop: Food additives re-evaluation programme according to Commission Regulation (EU) 257/2010
    Please note that registration closes on 10 April 2014. Those interested in participating may register athttp://registerofquestions.efsa.europa.eu/roqFrontend/meetingsub/meetingid/15.  March 31, 2014

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today proposed to update the Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods to reflect the latest scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease. Click here to read the FDA press release: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm387418.htm       February 27, 2014
  • The Alliance to Feed the Future has announced the availability of new, free curricula, "The Science of Feeding the World," will help students in grades K-8 learn about what it will take to feed the world as the earth's population reaches 9 billion by 2050. The curricula cite and assign the exact standard for the Common Core State Standards as well as the Next Generation Science Standards, a state-led process managed by Achieve in partnership with the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA).

    All of the educational materials are available through the Alliance to Feed the Future website, www.alliancetofeedthefuture.org, which is home to an assortment of hundred of helpful resources and information regarding the modern food production system from farm to fork.

    For additional questions about the Alliance to Feed the Future, please contact media@alliancetofeedthefuture.org or USA 202-296-6540.
  • EFSA Completes Full Risk Assessment on Low-Calorie Sweetener Aspartame and Concludes it is Safe at Current Levels of Exposure
     "This opinion represents one of the most comprehensive risk assessments of aspartame ever undertaken. It's a step forward in strengthening consumer confidence in the scientific underpinning of the EU food safety system and the regulation of food additives", said the Chair of EFSA's Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources Added to Foods (ANS Panel), Dr Alicja Mortensen.  Experts of ANS Panel have considered all available information and, following a detailed analysis, have concluded that the current Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of 40mg/kg bw/day is protective for the general population. However, in patients suffering from the medical condition phenylketonuria (PKU), the ADI is not applicable, as they require strict adherence to a diet low in phenylalanine (an amino acid found in proteins).

    Following a thorough review of evidence provided both by animal and human studies, experts have ruled out a potential risk of aspartame causing damage to genes and inducing cancer. EFSA's experts also concluded that aspartame does not harm the brain, the nervous system or affect behaviour or cognitive function in children or adults. With respect to pregnancy, the Panel noted that there was no risk to the developing fetus from exposure to phenylalanine derived from aspartame at the current ADI (with the exception of women suffering from PKU).  See EFSA News Release and full Opinion.

    For related public information from the International Food Information Council, please see:  
    Aspartame Once Again Deemed Safe by European Food Safety Authority: Research on Aspartame Safety Spans DecadesDecember 10, 2013

  • FSANZ Issues Statement on Contaminated Dairy Products Imported from New Zealand

    Following an announcement by a major multinational dairy company in New Zealand regarding a potentially contaminated whey protein concentrate, Food Standards Australia New Zealand is working together with the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries to verify that there are only two affected infant formula products. The whey protein concentrate may be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum, which can cause botulism. It is used in a range of dairy products including baby formula and sports supplement drinks. At this time, no cases of illness associated with the products have been reported. As a precautionary measure, parents may wish to use alternative brands of infant formula until all information is available.
    For a copy of the press release, click here.  August 5, 2013
    The IFIC Foundation has produced some public education pieces on foodborne illness at www.foodinsight.org, including a Consumers Guide to Food Safety Risks at   and  Background on Food Safety and Defense. August 5, 2013

  • The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has released a new set of interactive web tools aimed at providing Canadians with relevant, easy-to-understand information explaining the beef processing and inspection process, as well as the food safety investigation and recall process. Acknowledging that no food safety system can guarantee zero risk, the tools explain government and industry activities and roles to minimize consumer risk.  July 31, 2013

  • Food Standards Australia New Zealand published a report on the risk assessment and regulation of ag biotech crops and foods developed using gene silencing. The report concluded the weight of scientific evidence “does not support the view that small double-stranded RNAs in foods are likely to have adverse consequences for humans.” May 21, 2013
    As a related resource, The International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation released “Food Biotechnology: A Communicator’s Guide to Improving Understanding, 3rd Edition,” revising a 2003 version to reflect new developments in food biotechnology research, regulation, and product availability from the last decade, as well as new consumer insights and changing communication methods, such as the advent of digital media.

  • The World Health Organization has issued a preliminary Risk Assessment on avian influenza  A (H7N9) which states that the virus contains a group of avian influenza virus genes from three different avian influenza viruses. So far, this virus has not been associated with reports of severe disease in poultry.  - Xinhua, China's news agency, reports 11 new H7N9 human infections, bringing the total number of such cases around the country to 60, with the death toll from H7N9 at 13. http://www.who.int/influenza/human_animal_interface/influenza_h7n9/RiskAssessment_H7N9_13Apr13.pdf  
    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is following this situation closely and coordinating with domestic and international partners. In addition, CDC has issued guidance to U.S. clinicians and public health departments on how to test for this virus, and interim guidance on case definitions for possible H7N9 cases in the United States and interim infection control guidance for U.S. health care workers. CDC also has developed information for travelers to China. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/h7n9-virus.htm  CDC has also offered to assist China in developing a vaccine.  April 16, 2013

  • The China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment has provided information for Chinese consumers and stakeholders regarding sporadic cases of Avian Influenza, N7H9, on the website at http://www.cfsa.net.cn/newslist/newslist.jsp?anniu=media&actType=News&id=1666. English translations options are available on the website. Key content includes information with virus characteristic virus survival capability, transmission mode, and prevention and control measures. The avian influenza can be inactivated by heating at 65°C for 30 minutes or boiling at 100°C for 2 minutes. Virus can also survive in feces for 1 week at low temperature and in water for 1 month at 4°C. Among additional information reported by China’s official news agency, Xinhua News:
    *The source of infection is not clear, but most experts believe the N7H9 is from birds and N7H9 has been found in chickens, pigeons and quails in areas that human cases were reported.
    *There is no restriction on travel (within China or coming into China) so far. But residents who have fever are required to go to hospital for checking. Hospitals were alerted for patients who have fever.
    *As measures of prevention, the selling of live birds (chicken, etc.) are banned in the cities, including Beijing.
    *Information on this issue is transparent and Beijing government announced that anyone who hides information will be heavily punished. Under reported cases are highly unlikely this time.
    *Information compiled from the Xinhua News Agency (the official news agency of Chinese government) by Dr. Junshi Chen, head of the China Food Information Center on April 6, 2013.
    The number of reported cases is changing every day, about 18 cases, with 6 deaths as of April 8. There is no indication of epidemic and evidence of human to human transmission. Now N7H9 could be identified within one day.