41st Commission reaffirms commitment to science and consensus
At a meeting attended by over 650 delegates from 121 Member countries and 84 observer organizations, more than 30 standards were adopted and will now be published in the Codex Alimentarius or “food code”.
In his closing remarks on Friday Guilherme da Costa from Brazil, the chairperson of the Commission thanked delegates for the flexible and constructive approach to what is often “a delicate negotiation process but one that has global effects on food safety and fair practices in trade.”
Some of the key decisions taken in Rome last week include the alignment of a series of food additives and full integration into the General Standard for Food Additives; new work on front of pack nutrition labelling; adoption of maximum permitted limits for various contaminants and maximum residue limit for vet drugs and for pesticides.
Science and consensus
In discussions surrounding the conclusion of the Residues of Veterinary Drugs Committee not to advance the proposed draft maximum residue limits for zilpaterol hydrochloride (a bovine growth promotant) in the standards development process despite consensus in that committee on the validity of the scientific assessment, the Commission supported the Executive Committee’s decision to review the procedural provisions available in Codex on matters concerning science and consensus.
Chairperson of the Codex Alimentarius Commission Guilherme da Costa, Brazil
Flexible working methods for standard development
Some Codex committees are currently working by correspondence on particular issues including quinoa, processed fruits and vegetables and sugar cane juice. As work in Codex evolves there may also be occasions when there is a need to expedite other work for which the relevant committee is not currently holding physical meetings. The Commission wishes to explore consensus building and the standard development process in such circumstances and has requested the General Principles Committee to look at this from a procedural viewpoint.
FAO and WHO science is golden
The Commission recognized FAO and WHO efforts to accelerate delivery and ensure continuous improvement of scientific advice to committees and the views of both parent organizations that stable, multi-year, extra-budgetary contributions are needed to support an enhanced FAO/WHO scientific advice programme. By working closely with their representatives in the FAO and WHO governing bodies Codex members are well placed to advocate for all matters pertaining to food safety including sustainable funding for scientific advice and support for the establishment of a world food safety day by the United Nations General Assembly later this year.
Full report shortly available on the Codex meetings page
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?Codex / Bob Scott