eNews from the Global Harmonization Initiative

May 2019

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Dr. h.c. Huub Lelieveld
The Netherlands

Mr. Larry Keener, CFS

Dr. Sangsuk Oh

Dr. Gerhard Schleining

Dr. Vishweshwaraiah Prakash

Dr. Bernd van der Meulen
The Netherlands

Dr. Joe Mac. Regenstein

Irena Soljic, MSc.


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Ms. Adriana Sterian
Communications Director

Irena Soljic, MSc.
General Secretary

Dr. Alina-Ioana Gostin
Ambassador Programme Director
Dr. Aleksandra Martinovic
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Mr. Richard F. Stier
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Nila Ghasemkhani, MSc.
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Ms. Nicole Coutrelis
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Dr. Bernd van der Meulen
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Dr. Sian Astley
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Mr. Grigor Badalyan
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Dr. Aine Regan
Social Media Advisor

Mr. Gunter Greil


Ms. Michaela Pichler (Chair) 
ICC, Vienna, Austria 
Dr. Michael Murkovic
EuCheMS Food Chemistry Division, Graz, Austria
Dr. Pablo Juliano
CSIRO, Werribee, Australia
Dr. V. Balasubramaniam
The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA
Dr. Pingfan Rao
Fuzhou University and Chinese Institute of Food Science and Technology, Fujian, China
Dr. Jaap Hanekamp
Roosevelt Academy, Tilburg,  
The Netherlands
Dr. Sian Astley
EuroFIR, Brussels, Belgium
Dr. Maria Tapia
Universidad Central de Venezuela, Venezuela
Dr. Kwang-Ok Kim
Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea

Dr. Vladimir Kakurinov

Dr. Pablo Juliano



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President's message

Dear GHI Members and Subscribers to GHI Matters,
It is a pleasure again to present GHI's newsletter, this time largely devoted to the GHI congress  that took place a little more than a month ago. Organisation of a congress, especially if for the  first time, is difficult and I am grateful to the members of the Organising Committee, Dr.  Veslemøy Andersen and Dr. Firouz Darroudi as well as the staff of Congress by Design (CbD), for  their persistent efforts to make the event a success.
Another particular and surprising event was that in the week that the European Parliament  adopted new rules on the protection of whistleblowers, with a very large majority: 591 votes in  favour, 29 against and 33 abstentions, one of our members received an award in the EU  Parliament precisely because of the courage to blow the whistle when it was needed for reasons  of food safety.

Kind regards,
Huub Lelieveld, 30 April 2019. 

Award for Journalists, Whistleblowers and Defenders of the Right to Information
for Yasmine Motarjemi

On April 16, Yasmine Motarjemi received the GUE/NGL (a group MEPs in the European Parliament) award for Journalists, Whistleblowers and Defenders of the Right to Information, at a ceremony in Strasbourg, France, at the European Parliament. The annual award - now in its second year - is d edicated to individuals or groups who have been intimidated and/or persecuted for uncovering the truth and exposing it to the public, the award is named in honour of the late (murdered) Maltese journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia.  A jury of journalists, whistleblowers and GUE/NGL MEPs has made their final selection out of a long list of eligible nominees.
GHI congratulates Yasmine with this honour and the recognition of the service that whistleblowers provide to society, often at great costs to themselves - and Yasmine is no exception to this.
Yasmine was Acting Director at the WHO before becoming Assistant Vice President, in charge of global food safety, at Nestlé in Switzerland. Her concerns about the handling of food safety issues there and the lack of appropriate response from her superiors eventually led her to become a whistleblower.
The increased attention to whistleblowers, as expressed through the award, coincides with a new EU regulation (2017/625) coming into force, where explicit mention is made of whistleblowing and the need for clear procedures and protection in the face of potential retaliation.
Within GHI, whistleblowing is one of the topics covered within the Working Group "Ethics in Food Safety Practices", and Yasmine has recently presented on the topic at our GHI World Congress in Leiden.
GHI congratulates Yasmine on this important recognition and welcomes the attention that whistleblowing receives in the new EU Regulation. We also hope that Switzerland will pay attention to the subject. Much work still needs to be done, but we see these developments an explicit and very welcome encouragement for the WG and for Yasmine personally.
The Award ceremony can be viewed on YouTube and the text of Yasmine's speech in the EU Parliament can be downloaded from the GHI Library , where also a more extensive report on the case can be found.
Note: Yasmine Motarjemi is Lead Editor of the popular handbook " Food safety management: a practical guide for the food industry ". She also authored the " Encyclopedia of food safety ".
Peter Overbosch and Huub Lelieveld

Message for young but also not so young members of GHI

GHI is growing and there are many activities. To manage these activities, GHI has a Leadership Team but the team needs support from other volunteers to be able to cope with all duties that are important for GHI to meet the objectives.
If you are interested in playing an active role in GHI that takes a small part of your free time, please let us know and you will be contacted to discuss the opportunities and how you would like to be involved.
Every year active volunteers will receive a certificate of appreciation for their contributions to the advancement of globally harmonized science based food safety regulations. Also, in due course volunteers may be appointed to a senior position in GHI.

The first GHI Congress has been successful, with presenters and participants from all over the world, many of them asking about the next congress. An important issue this time has been the high costs of participation in the congress. The costs of travelling, lodging and sustenance are high in western Europe and as a consequence there were about 100 potential participants, many of which had submitted abstracts, who eventually did not find sufficient funds to make participation possible. This will be taken into account when deciding on the next congress, which we plan to take place in 2021. Suggestions for possible locations are welcome!
About the congress itself: we hope to publish the opening lectures by Louise O. Fresco, President of the Executive Board of Wageningen University and Research; Hans Verhagen, Senior Scientific Adviser, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA); Ali Badarneh, Industrial Development Officer at UNIDO; Alina Levitskaya, Rector of the North - Caucasus Federal University in Stavropol, Russian Federation (which was given by Andrey Bratsikhin because unexpectedly the Rector had to go to an unforeseen high-level meeting in Moscow) and Nathalie Persson - Andrianasitera, International Foundation for Science in Stockholm. All of these presentations were very much to the point in relation to the goal of GHI, Achieving consensus on the science of food regulations and legislation to ensure the global availability of safe and wholesome food products for all consumers.
Apart from the many high-quality papers, there was an overwhelming interest in participation in the side events, including an open Leadership meeting, a meeting of GHI ambassadors, meetings of GHI Working Groups (WG) and a course on Writing Scientific Articles, offered by Elsevier. Meeting rooms often appeared too small and the number of chairs to be insufficient, resulting in participants rustling chairs from other places in the venue.
Below you will find short accounts of some of these meetings. You may expect more in the next issue of GHI Matters but you need not wait so long. You may always contact the Chairs of the WG, just click on the little envelope next to the names of the Chairs on the WG website
Chairs: Vishweshwaraiah Prakash (India) and Iuliana Vintila (Romania)
26 March 2019

The Session focused on Harmonization of Food Laws and Legislation that have to gradually align towards harmonization and remove the differences globally and needs a science based approach. In support of this Joe Regenstein stressed the importance of process driven regulations being more important than product label regulations. He showed this by the example of Halal process in the manufacture of meat which strictly have to follow the religions ethics code and in the end must also be scientifically safe for consumption.
Iuliana Vintila stressed the need of nutritional legislation's with a focus on what is needed through the Dietary Reference Value (DRV) and the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) at different ages. During the discussion the point was made that some of the nutritional regulations have to be regionally based because of many other factors such as of climate, economical levels, income differences and many disease conditions prevalent in those areas, all influencing proper absorption of nutrients.
Sezedul Hoque further emphasized the point of the use of formalin as a very generic processing aid. It is illegal and banned but still used to enhance the shelf life of fish. There are now standardized analytical method to detect and prevent this illegal practice happening in the fish chain.
The session ended with many examples by Christelle Bou-Mitri who showed examples of mislabelling and false claims, deluding the consumers. Hence the need of the hour is minimal nutritional labelling rather than a huge table that many cannot read because of the small letters and is also not practical on small packets.
V. Prakash


Liber Amicorum Bernd van der Meulen

26 March 2019

Professor Bernd van der Meulen, member of the Board of GHI, has been the Chair of Law and Governance at the Wageningen University from 2001 till 2018. He published several books on Food Law, but this time colleagues, former students and friends, from all over the world, have together edited and written a very recommendable book "The functional field of food law - Reconciling the market and human rights". The book is written as a Liber Amicorum. The authors share their latest insights, research and thoughts on this fascinating and highly relevant field of science.


Bernd responded with a talk that fascinated the audience, the hand clapping at the end audible through the entire venue of the congress. The event has been recorded and can be viewed; the text of his presentation can be downloaded


chaired by John Holah and Eirin Marie Skjøndal Bar
27 March 2019

The European Hygienic Engineering and Design Group (EHEDG) co-organised this session, which covered many aspects of ensuring hygiene in food manufacture: education, preventing contamination (in particular during renovation), hygienic welding, novel cleaning methods as well as managing hygiene in the supply chain. Rob Groot of GroteWereld produced a short video for EHEDG during the Congress. EHEDG contributes significantly to the safety of food products by developing globally accepted guidelines on hygienic processing and design.

It was a pleasure to have Anne Mullen representing the weekly science journal Nature participating in the Congress, which she described as great and particularly good because of researchers from around the globe attending. She announced the new Nature journal, Nature Food that will be launched next year and for which participants are invited to submit articles already now.

Food Safety Magazine (FSM) probably is known to most readers of GHI Matters. FSM has often published articles about GHI and also endorsed the recent GHI Congress in Leiden. As Food Safety is an essential element of GHI, it is with pleasure that we invite you to participate in the survey about understanding of the term Food Safety. The study is being conducted by Omar A. Oyarzabal of the University of Vermont (USA). The survey aims at collecting information on how professionals in the food industry define the term FOOD SAFETY. The data from this survey will be analyzed and the results will be published in Food Safety Magazine. If you take part in the study, you will be asked to respond to 12 open-ended questions. This survey takes less than 10 minutes to complete. Information collected about participants will be stored without any identifiers. If you have questions about this study now or in the future, you may contact Omar Oyarzabal .
To start the survey, go click here .


Working Group Food Microbiology - Project on Meat Microbiology

Initiated by Sylvia Pfaff, the WG Food Microbiology invites microbiologists to join a dedicated project team on harmonization of microbiological values for meat products, with the emphasis on the EU. The background is the assessment of microbiological analysis by accredited laboratories in Europe. The following issues need to be addressed:
  • Germany has the DGHM - Deutsche Gesellschaft für Hygiene und Mikrobiologie (German Association for Hygiene and Microbiology) criteria. What recommendations exist in other EU member states?
  • How similar or different are these recommendations?
  • What are the causes of these differences?
  • How to harmonize recommendations?
Sylvia Pfaff is happy to lead the project and offers to host a meeting of up to 14 members, in Bad Bentheim, Germany. Interested members please contact Sylvia Pfaff .


Publications of potential interest to GHI members
As most readers know, our ambassador in Sri Lanka, Viduranga Waisundara, is a productive editor and writer of books, most of them relevant to GHI. The last one, published in December 2018 is titled " Biochemistry and Health Benefits of Fatty Acids " and can be freely downloaded. Printed copies can be ordered from the same webpage.

Conferences & Meetings  

GHI regularly makes presentations and holds general and working group meetings in conjunction with scientific and food industry conferences around the globe.

Please check
our website for details and links, or   contact us via email to submit listings.

This is an announcement of the ISEKI-Food Conference in Nicosia, Cyprus. Just to make sure you will have it booked in your agenda.
More information about ISEKI meetings and other activities can be found on https://www.iseki-food.net
"Nutrition and health aspects of traditional and ethnic foods in Nordic Countries"

Edited by Veslemøy Andersen, Eirin Bar And Gun Wirtanen, is the first volume of the series of 26 books a bout the topic, covering the entire globe. This volume discusses the nutrition and health aspects of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland as well as Sápmi, also known as Lapland. It is published by Elsevier/Academic Press 2018. ISBN: 978-0-12-809456-3 (eBook) and 9780128094167 (print). Note that, as with all food science books published by Elsevier, using the code GHI30 gives you a 30% discount.

Copies of the first two GHI's books are still available:  

Ensuring Global Food Safety  - Exploring Global Harmonization.
Elsevi er/Academic Press, 2009.

ISBN: 9780123748454 (print) 9780080889306 (eBook)

Regulating Safety of Traditional and Ethnic Foods. 
Elsevier/Academic Press, 2015.

9780128006054 (print) 9780128006207 (eBook) 


Founded in 2004 as a joint activity of the US-based Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) International Division and the European Federation of Food Science and Technology (EFFoST), the Global Harmonization Initiative (GHI) is a network of scientific organizations and individual scientists working together to promote harmonization of global food safety regulations and legislation. For more information, please visit our website at

GHI has legal non-profit entity status and its charter and constitution are registered in Vienna, Austria as the GHI-Association (ZVR453446383).

GHI is an initiative of the European Federation of Food Science and Technology (EFFoST), which is the European part of the International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST) and the International Division of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT). GHI is supported by the European Hygienic Engineering and Design Group (EHEDG) and many other organizations.