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79. The Task Force recalled that at its 1st Session, the issue of traceability was raised by several delegations. It noted that a better understanding of this concept and its implications was required before it could be included definitively in the text on General Principles for Risk Analysis to be developed and agreed that a discussion paper should be prepared by the Delegation of France on this issue. It also agreed that, if time allowed, the paper might be considered by the ad hoc Working Group responsible for developing the first draft of the General Principles and the Guidelines on Safety Assessment.[13] A draft paper was prepared and subsequently revised following the input of several Delegations at the meetings of the Working Group. The Task Force noted that the general orientation and conclusions of the paper has been discussed in the context of the Task Force’s discussion of Paragraph 21 of the proposed draft General Principles for the Risk Analysis of Foods Derived from Modern Biotechnology (see paras. 34 to 42 above).

80. The Delegation of France noted that in addition to the continuing debate in the Task Force, the matter of traceability needed to be discussed at a general level within Codex since the issue was one of a horizontal nature. It stated that the most appropriate forum for such general discussions would be the CCGP, while the specific issues relating to foods derived from biotechnology should continue to be examined by the Task Force. This view was shared by many other Delegations and Observer Organizations.

81. The Delegation of the United States, supported by some other Delegations, stated that traceability was an important issue in the broader context, and also in many other areas, including in particular, public health. The Delegation suggested that CCFICS should be the most appropriate Codex Committee to consider this issue. It agreed that consensus was needed about the application of traceability in Codex work and noted the proposal of the CCFICS to request the advice of the Commission on how to proceed in this matter.

82. The Delegation of India, supported by Indonesia, stated that the concept was new to developing countries and that while the need for documentation was recognized, in view of the likely cost implications of relying solely on analytical detection of products, the implications of introducing the concept of traceability into the food system needed to be explained and carefully considered. These Delegations noted that production and marketing systems in developing countries were not the same as those of the developed countries, even though the same consumer concerns had to be met. These Delegations expressed interest in the development of equivalent systems that would meet the same objectives.

83. The Task Force agreed to request comments on the papers provided by the Delegations of France and the United States by means of a circular letter (see Footnote 12 above). It further agreed that these papers and the comments received would be discussed at its next session, taking into account the guidance provided by the Commission in this matter. In the meantime it agreed to inform other Codex subsidiary bodies and the Commission of the present discussion.

[12] CX/FBT 01/6; CRD 3 (Comments of the United States of America).
[13] ALINORM 01/34, paras. 27, 31, 35).

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