Ensuring safer food for everyone
Codex Alimentarius Commission meets in Geneva
29 June 2006, Geneva/Rome -- The Codex Alimentarius Commission, the international food standards body of the United Nations, will meet in Geneva from 3-7 July 2006 to consider the adoption of a number of important proposals to improve protection of consumers from disease-causing organisms and substances by reducing their contamination of foods.
If adopted, the proposals would set standards that would also facilitate international food trade by eliminating unjustified technical barriers.
Some 500 delegates from about 100 countries and numerous nongovernmental organizations are expected to attend.
Codex to consider issues that affect people worldwide
Under consideration are issues that are important to developing and developed countries alike, such as:
Maximum limit for lead in fish. Lead can cause a wide range of disorders, including anemia and hepatic and neurological disorders.
Maximum limits for Cadmium in rice, marine bivalve molluscs and cephalopods. Cadmium can provoke nephrological (i.e., kidney) damage.
Measures for the prevention of aflatoxin contamination of Brazil nuts. Aflatoxins are carcinogenic.
Measures for the prevention and reduction of Dioxin and Dioxin-like PCB contamination in food and feed. These substances are highly toxic and carcinogenic.
Antimicrobial resistance task force may be set up
Topics on the agenda are complex and some are likely to cause intense debate such as the discussion on the establishment of a Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance.
Antimicrobial resistance in bacteria is a potential threat to human health. The incorrect use of antimicrobials, or antibiotics, in animals can result in the selection of bacteria that are resistant to these drugs. Through the slaughtering process such bacteria can end up in food. Resistant bacteria in food consumed by humans may cause disease in humans, which cannot be treated by known medicines. The new Codex Task Force would have the mandate to develop a risk assessment policy and strategies to reduce food safety risks associated with use of antimicrobials.
Additionally, the Commission will review the structure and mandates of its over 20 specialized committees.
Codex Standards form international benchmarks
The Codex Alimentarius Commission - a joint venture of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization - has 173 Member States and one Member Organization - the European Community.
Codex Standards form the basis of food legislation in many countries and are recognized as international benchmarks by one of the multilateral agreements of the World Trade Organization.
World Health Organization
(+41) 22 791 4458
Information Officer, FAO
(+39) 06 570 53168
e-mail this article