Executive Summary of the Food Expert Advisory Committee Meeting (FEAC) - November 17-18, 2014

Introduction and Objectives of the Meeting:

On November 17 and 18, 2014, members of the Food Expert Advisory Committee joined the Food Directorate for the thirteenth meeting of the Food Expert Advisory Committee (FEAC). The objectives of the session were:

  • To seek advice from committee members on key food and nutrition safety topics and issues for Health Canada consideration in decision-making.
  • To inform members about the ongoing work of the Food Directorate and its partners to optimize members' knowledge and expertise for input into decision-making processes.

This report follows the order of the meeting agenda and is a summary of the information presented.

The meeting was held in Ottawa, Ontario at the Brooke Claxton Building, Tunney's Pasture.

Monday, November 17, 2014 (Day 1)

Opening and Welcoming Remarks

Dr. Keith Mussar and Ms. Francy Pillo-Blocka, Co-chairs of the Food Expert Advisory Committee, and Dr. Samuel Godefroy, Director General, Food Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch, welcomed new and current members and observers to the meeting. They thanked the members for their contributions and commented on their important roles and responsibilities as members.

New FEAC Membership Introduction

Dr. Keith Mussar and Ms. Francy Pillo-Blocka, Co-chairs, invited new and current members to briefly introduce themselves and their expertise to the group.

Update and Look Forward on Key Activities

Dr. Samuel Godefroy, Director General, Food Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch, thanked members for their time investment and for their continued support to the Food Directorate in providing their insights and expertise on key directorate files. Dr. Godefroy noted that the Committee was considered important and highly regarded inside and outside of the Department. Dr. Godefroy then provided an overview of the Food Directorate's Key Commitments for the fiscal year 2014-2015. This was followed by questions and comments from members.

Food Regulatory Modernization & Standards Modernization

Mr. Anatole Papadopoulos, Director, Bureau of Policy, Intergovernmental and International Affairs (BPIIA), Food Directorate, and Ms. Kathy Twardek, National Manager, Strategies and Planning, Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), provided updates to the members on key regulatory modernization activities and sought advice from members.

Proposed Changes to Nutritional Labelling with Further Discussion on Sugars.

Dr. William Yan and Dr. Alfred Aziz, Bureau of Nutritional Science (BNS), Food Directorate, and Mr. Anatole Papadopoulos, BPIIA, provided an update to members on the results of the nutrition labelling consultation and next steps as well as seek advice from members on specific elements of the proposed changes.

Supplemented Foods

Dr. William Yan and Dr. Alfred Aziz, BNS, Food Directorate, provided an update on results of the consultation on the draft Supplemented Foods Guidance document as well as to seek advice from members on outstanding issues including definition, unique product identifier and education partnership.

Key Messages (Day 1)

Members agreed on the key outcomes of the day as follows:

Health Canada hosted the 13th meeting of the Food Expert Advisory Committee (FEAC) in Ottawa, November 17 & 18, 2014.

  • New members to FEAC were introduced and welcomed. Mr. David Skinner was thanked for his contributions to FEAC since his appointment in 2010.
  • FEAC provided feedback to the Food Directorate on items related to the FD Key Commitments and Business Plan 2014-2015.
  • The Food Directorate solicited and received input on Health Canada Food Regulatory Modernization Priority and Standards Modernization.
  • FEAC provided advice on Health Canada's food regulatory modernization.
  • FEAC was provided with an update on the results of the nutrition labelling consultation and proposed changes to nutrition labelling. FEAC provided feedback.
  • FEAC was provided with information on the results of the Supplemented Foods Guidance Consultation as well provided advice on a number of aspects.

The meeting was adjourned.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014 (Day 2)

Plan for Day 2

Ms. Francy Pillo-Blocka and Dr. Keith Mussar, Co-chairs of the Food Expert Advisory Committee, welcomed members to the second day of the meeting and reviewed housekeeping items and the agenda for Day 2.

Updates from the Bureau of Food Surveillance and Science Integration

Dr. Danielle Brulé, Bureau of Food Surveillance and Science Integration (BFSSI), Food Directorate, provided an update on her Bureau's priority issues.

Joint government-Industry Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) Task Force

Ms. Leanne DeWinter, Bureau of Microbial Hazards (BMH), Food Directorate, provided an update on key activities of the Salmonella Enteritidis (SE)Task Force.

Food Directorate Organizational Review Project Update

Mr. Hans Yu and Ms. Denise MacGillivray, Bureau of Business Systems and Operations (BBSO), Food Directorate, provided an update on key activities related to the general operation of the Directorate.

An Overview of Opportunities and Challenges of Food Nanoscience Technology

Dr. Rickey Yada, University of British Columbia, provided an update on emerging technology, current status in the use of nano products in food application, scientific and regulatory challenges, and opportunities and advises to Health Canada.

  • Dr. Yada provided highlights on the current and potential future applications of nanotechnology for the agri-food industry
  • He also outlined the risks and benefits and the regulatory aspects of nanotechnology.
  • Meeting participants made comments and had questions for Dr. Yada.

Risk Management of Caffeine from Food

Ms. Barbara Lee, BCS, and Mr. Anatole Papadopoulos, BPIIA, provided an overview of the caffeine in foods.

Non-Mandatory Review (Processing aids, Incidental Additives and Food Packaging Material)

This item was postponed to another meeting.

Key Messages (Day 2)

Members' comments

Each FEAC member provided a brief summary of their 2 days at the meeting.

  • The Food Directorate provided an updated on the Food Surveillance and Science Integration activities.  FEAC provided feedback.
  • FEAC was provided with an update on key activities and provided feedback on the Joint Government Industry Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) Task Force.
  • An update was provided on the Food Directorate Organizational Review Project and key activities.  FEAC provided feedback.
  • FEAC was provided with an overview of opportunities and challenges of Food Nanoscience Technology.
  • FEAC was provided with an update on risk management of caffeine from food.  FEAC provided input.

FEAC Member Information Sharing

FEAC members gave general feedback on the 2 day meeting.

  • They have sufficient information about the relevant affiliations and interests of other members at the start of the meeting.
  • The co-chairs kept the discussion on track and facilitated input from all members of the Committee effectively.
  • They have sufficient opportunity to contribute to Committee discussions.
  • The agenda was comprehensive and the meeting objectives were clearly identified.
  • The information received during the meeting (for example, in presentations) was clear, useful and supported the Committee discussions.
  • Good coordination between co-chairs, members and FD secretariat before the meeting.
  • FEAC members support the use of the International Scientific Journal Website as one of the communication tools for the transparency initiative in the Food Directorate of Health Canada.
  • FEAC members and public should have more access to departmental survey data and studies for planning and analysis activities.
  • Insufficient data in Canada lead to the use of international data and studies.
  • Consumer education strategy should be developed as part of the new food initiatives implementation plan.
  • The use of new communicate technology should be introduced for future information sharing and stakeholder consultation activities.
  • More discussion time for each agenda item.
 

Closing Comments

In closing, Dr. Keith Mussar and Ms. Francy Pillo-Blocka, Co-chairs of the Food Expert Advisory Committee, advised members that they should send in their comments on all questions at the earliest opportunity.  Dr. Mussar, Ms. Pillo-Blocka and Dr. Samuel Godefroy thanked members for their input and advice to Health Canada and invited members to provide comments on the meeting. Members commented that the meeting had been valuable and engaging, but noted the limited time allotted to some agenda items.

Next Face-to-Face Meeting of the Food Expert Advisory Committee will be scheduled for 2015 in Ottawa, Ontario, date to be determined.

Participant List

Members:

  • Dr. Keith Mussar (Co-chair)
  • Ms. Francy Pillo-Blocka (Co-chair)
  • Ms. Marilyn Allen
  • Dr. Mary Alton Mackey
  • Dr. Valerie Assinewe
  • Mr. Josh Brandon
  • Mr. Carl Carter
  • Mr. Albert Chambers
  • Ms. Jackie Crichton
  • Dr. Anna Farmer
  • Ms. Lucie Granger
  • Mr. Nyall Hislop
  • Dr. Richard Holley
  • Mr. Mike Horwich
  • Dr. Simone Lemieux
  • Mr. Grant Morrison
  • Dr. Vijaya Raghavan
  • Mr. David Skinner
  • Ms. Vida Stevens
  • Dr. Rickey Yada
  • Dr. Paul Paquin (Unable to attend)

Government of Canada representatives:

  • Dr. Samuel Godefroy, Director General, Food Directorate, Health Canada (FD-HC)
  • Mr. Anatole Papadopoulos, Director, Bureau of Policy, Intergovernmental and International Affairs (BPIIA), FD-HC
  • Ms. Janine Murray, Associate Director, Bureau of Policy, Intergovernmental and International Affairs (BPIIA), FD-HC
  • Dr. William Yan, Director, Bureau of Nutritional Sciences (BNS), FD-HC
  • Dr. Alfred Aziz, A/Chief, Bureau of Nutritional Science (BNS), FD-HC
  • Dr. Barbara Lee, Director, Bureau of Chemical Safety (BCS), FD-HC
  • Ms. Leanne DeWinter, Scientific Evaluator, Bureau of Microbial Hazards (BMH), FD-HC
  • Dr. Danielle Brulé, Director, Bureau of Food Surveillance and Science Integration (BFSSI), FD-HC
  • Mr. Hans Yu, Director, Bureau of Business Systems and Operations (BBSO), FD-HC
  • Mr. Michael Masotti, Senior Advisor to the Director General, DGO, FD-HC
  • Mr. Raymond W Tsang, Manager, Governance and Engagement, BBSO, FD-HC
  • Ms. Laura Cooney, Secretariat Officer, Governance and Engagement, BBSO, FD-HC

Observers:

  • Ms. Anne Kennedy, Deputy Director, Food Industry Division, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)
  • Dr. Solomon Aklilu, Statistician, Food Safety Science Directorate, Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
  • Ms. Kathy Twardek, National Manager, Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
  • Mr. Dino Covone, Senior Policy Analyst, Office of Legislative and Regulatory Modernization, (PPIAD) HC
  • Ms. Johanna Jennings, Senior Regulatory Policy and Risk Advisor, Food Policy Development (BPIIA) FD-HC
  • Ms. Sara Krenosky, Senior Project Coordinator, Food Policy Development (BPIIA) FD-HC
  • Ms. Lyne McVeigh, Senior Policy Advisor (BPIIA) FD-HC
  • Ms. Amanda Whitfield, Senior Policy Advisor (BPIIA) FD-HC
  • Ms. Tracy Boudreau, Nutrition Project Coordinator - Nutrition Regulation and Standards Division (BNS) FD-Ms. Chantal Martineau, Manager, Regulatory Projects - Nutrition Regulation and Standards Division (BNS) FD-HC
  • Ms. Susan Sinclair, Research Analyst - Nutrition Regulation and Standards Division (BNS) FD-HC
  • Ms. Maya Villeneuve, Associate Director - Bureau of Nutritional Sciences (BNS) FD-HC
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