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Codex Alimentarius: A briefing on the International Food Safety Body and its Dynamics Peter Sousa Hoejskov Food Quality and Safety Officer FAO Regional.

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Presentation on theme: "Codex Alimentarius: A briefing on the International Food Safety Body and its Dynamics Peter Sousa Hoejskov Food Quality and Safety Officer FAO Regional."— Presentation transcript:

1 Codex Alimentarius: A briefing on the International Food Safety Body and its Dynamics Peter Sousa Hoejskov Food Quality and Safety Officer FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific Complying with Market Requirements on Food Safety and Product Quality Second Regional Training Workshop – Linking Farmers to Markets 19-23 January 2009, Siem Reap, Cambodia

2 Outline Food quality and safety standards Introduction to Codex Objectives of Codex Codex strategic plans and goals Codex organisational structure The process of developing Codex standards Codex in relation to the WTO Agreements The impact of private standards on Codex Conclusions

3 Importance of food safety standards Vital component of food safety control systems; providing the basis for inspection, testing and certification activities Provide guidance to industry, consumers, government and other players in the food supply chain for determining the safety of their products Provide a general view of requirements for international trade in food

4 About Codex Alimentarius CODEX ALIMENTARIUS is a latin term for food code The Codex Alimentarius is a collection of food standards, guidelines and codes of practice developed by the Codex Alimentarius Commission

5 Codex Alimentarius Commission Parent organizations:  Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)  World Health Organization (WHO) Membership:  176 member countries and 1 member organisation (EU)  Over 200 observers from UN and other intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations (Industry, consumer and academia)

6 Codex Objectives (1): To protect the health of consumers, To ensure fair practices in the food trade, To coordinate all work regarding food standards

7 Codex Objectives (2): To determinate the priorities for global food safety To initiate the preparation of standards To publish the standards Codex plays a prominent role in the development of international standards and in bringing about harmonization

8 Codex strategic vision statement The CAC envisages a world afforded the highest attainable levels of consumer protection including food safety and quality. To this end, the Commission will develop internationally agreed standards and related texts for use in domestic regulation and international trade in food that are based on scientific principles and fulfill the objectives of consumer health protection and fair practices in food trade Source: Codex Alimentarius Commission – Strategic Plan 2008-2013

9 Codex strategic goals: 2008-2013 1. Promoting sound regulatory frameworks 2. Promoting widest and consistent application of scientific principles and risk analysis 3. Strengthening Codex work-management capabilities 4. Promoting cooperation between Codex and relevant international organizations 5. Promoting maximum and effective participation of members

10 Codex strategic plan for CCASIA 2009- 2014 (1) 1. To develop and strengthen national food regulatory system and Codex Contact Point and/or National Codex Committee 2. To strengthen communication and coordination amongst the CCASIA members, with other regions and Codex Secretariat as well as other relevant organizations 3. To achieve maximum and effective participation of member countries in the activities of CCASIA, Codex Alimentarius Commission and its subsidiary bodies

11 Codex strategic plan for CCASIA 2009- 2014 (2) 4. To strengthen scientific and technical capacities of member countries in the region 5. To promote use of Codex standards and related texts as a basis for national legislation 6. To develop and/or review Codex standards and related texts taking into account regional interests

12 Codex Alimentarius Commission – structure and management The Executive Committee, The 6 Regional Coordinating Committees The Secretariat of the Commission

13 Subsidiary bodies of the Codex Alimentarius Commission: Codex Committees:  Codex committees for general principles  Committees for special types of foodstuff products Ad-hoc Intergovernmental Special Work Groups  Biotechnology  Antimicrobial resistance  Processing and Handling of Quick Frozen Foods

14 Codex organizational chart

15 Codex standards Focus:  Standards for products, processes and systems for ensuring food safety Coverage:  Foods widely traded Applicability:  Voluntary but the WTO encourages countries to adopt Codex standards

16 Food safety areas of concern (1) Unallowed chemicals / proper use of allowed chemicals:  Environmental &/or processing contaminants  Microbial toxins  Residues of pesticides & veterinary drags  Use of food additives Microbial contaminations:  Foodborne pathogens  Development of antimicrobial resistance

17 Food safety areas of concern (2) Best practice  Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)  Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)  Good Hygiene Practices (GHP)  HACCP  Prevention and control of contaminants New technologies  Biotechnology, genetically engineered foods, food irradiation, nanotechnology Other  Import / export certification systems  Methods of analysis and sampling  Labeling

18 Codex process for standards development (1) A country proposes development of a new standard in a committee New work is being approved by the CAC Proponent of new work leads the effort to get the standard adopted Scientific data including risk assessment information provided by FAO/WHO expert bodies and others is being collected

19 Codex process for standards development (2) Proposed draft standards are submitted to members of the Committee and international organizations for comments and the standards is amended accordingly The standard preparation goes through a process of 8 steps before the standard can be adopted as a Codex standard A Codex committee, as the risk manager, adopts the standard

20 Codex Alimentarius Commission – Achievements so far... Products  Over 240 food standards  40 hygienic and technological practice codes  700 food additives and contaminants evaluated  50 veterinary drugs evaluated  3,200 maximum pesticide residue limits  More than 1,000 maximum limits for food additives and contaminants

21 Codex in relation to the WTO Agreements The SPS Agreement calls on countries to harmonize their national standards with “international standards, guidelines or recommendations Codex Standards are defined as “international standards, guidelines or recommendations” for food safety Codex standards are recognized bythe World Trade Organisation (WTO) as “presumptively valid” for use in international trade and the TBT Agreement calls on countries to use relevant international standards when they exist

22 ... Regulating compliance with food safety standards Compliance with food safety standards is the role of farmers and other players in the food supply chain Food safety attributes, unlike food quality, are not immediately visible to the consumers Thus compliance with food safety requirements has to be monitored and regulated by governments

23 International food safety regulations and standards - Managing the cost of compliance The cost of compliance with food safety measures should fit within the overall framework of managing for product competitiveness  Food safety standards should adequately protect consumer health and be reasonably feasible for farmers and industry to implement  Standards should not restrict innovation and market access  Technologies should be provided to encourage farmers and industry to comply

24 The Codex trust fund and FAO capacity building programmes Provision of funding for developing countries to attend Codex meetings Provision of training programmes for understanding Codex procedures  Latest training was the “Codex Training Course for Asia and the Pacific” which was held from 13 to 15 November 2008 prior to the CCAsia 2009

25 Other FAO capacity building activities in Asia in support of Codex, ex: Workshop on Codex information sources, Bangkok Dec. 2006 Basic awareness course on microbiological risk assessment, Jakarta Nov. 2006 FAO/WHO Regional Workshop on HACCP in small and less developed food business, Jakarta Aug. 2008

26 Private food quality and safety standards in relation to Codex Implemented by retailers and food industry Flexible standards that are negotiated between buyers and sellers Dynamic standards that can rapidly be changed on the basis of demand Tend to be more stringent, more rigorously enforced and wider in scope than Codex standards

27 Drivers for implementation of private food quality and safety standards Disharmony in public standards and SPS measures across countries The demand for standards has out-paced the supply of public standards Advancement in food safety science and growing public awareness of health safety issues Following food scares, consumers expect retailers, through their purchasing practices, to supplement Government regulations for ensuring food safety Consumers and retailers are demanding more transparency, traceability and quality assurance in the food chain

28 General challenges of private food safety standards Inconsistency among various sets of standards Multiple reporting and documenting systems Market requirements differ from Government work on standard setting Private standards undermine international fora for standard setting (Risk of establishing parallel standard systems) Not necessarily any price incentive of compliance with private standards

29 FAO publication

30 Conclusions (1) All countries have an interest in ensuring that Codex standards protect human health and achieve this without hindering trade and economic development External assistance by organisations and an internal commitment by countries to provide the needs for effective participation in Codex are both essential to achieve this

31 Conclusions (2) One of the main challenges for Codex is the rapid development and implementation of private standards and requirements Goodwill based on an understanding that development of relevant standards is a shared responsibility, should enable Codex to keep moving forward


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