The fifth annual meeting of the International Head of Food Agencies Forum (IHFAF) convened in Singapore from April 16–20, 2024, bringing together food safety officials from 18 countries and representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC).

Founded in 2020, IHFAF fosters collaboration between international food regulatory agencies to address emerging food safety and nutrition challenges, to work towards harmonization of food assessment methodologies and standards consistent with Codex Alimentarius guidelines, and to share resources and information. The forum was founded by the Saudi Food and Drug Administration (SFDA), Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI). Other members include the China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment (CFSA), the French Agency for Food, Environmental, and Occupational Health Safety (ANSES), the Food Safety Commission of Japan (FSCJ), the Kuwait Public Authority for Food and Nutrition (PAFN), the Morocco National Office of Food Safety (ONSSA), Singapore Food Agency (SFA), CAC, FAO, and WHO’s International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN). The Chilean Food Safety and Quality Agency (ACHIPIA), the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), and Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS) were also present at this year’s event.

With a theme of “Food Safety for a Resilient and Sustainable World,” the fifth annual IHFAF, hosted by SFA, sparked meaningful discussions among heads of food agencies on topics related to the impacts of climate change food safety, climate resilience, and sustainability; as well as novel foods regulatory frameworks and risk communication.

At the event, SFA and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) signed a joint declaration of intent on cooperation in food safety, reflecting the agencies’ commitment to advance food safety science and risk assessment, defining a multi-year work plan. Its signing was followed by an information exchange between BfR and SFA scientists, including the discussion of projects covering the safety of alternative proteins, emerging environmental contaminants affecting food supply, food contact materials, and genetically modified food. The exchange concluded with a joint symposium on April 19, 2024.