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Regional Meeting for Near East begins in Rome


The regional meetings provide an incredibly important opportunity for dynamic discussion on major and emerging food safety and quality issues facing the region.

There are six Codex regions each represented by a joint FAO/WHO Regional Coordinating Committee (RCC).They meet every two years. Each committee is responsible for defining the problems and needs of the region concerning food standards and food control. By working collectively at the regional level countries are able to highlight regulatory issues and problems arising from food control in order to strengthen food control infrastructures.

CCNE9 - Rome

Mrs Nayereh Sadat Pirouzbakht President of the Institute of Standards & Industrial Research of Iran (ISIRI) welcomes delegates

The FAO/WHO coordinating committee for the Near East is part of the regional composition of Codex and has 17 members

The current Coordinator of the committee is The Islamic Republic of Iran. Mrs Nayereh Sadat Pirouzbakht President of the Institute of Standards & Industrial Research of Iran (ISIRI) is the Head of Delegation at the Rome meeting. ISIRI is the Codex Contact Point for Iran and as such the official channel of communication with Codex. In her opening remarks Mrs Pirouzbakht called on Codex member states to become "pioneers in the production and distribution of eco-friendly organic products reducing the use of pesticides and preservatives and improving food processing techniques".

Dr Mohammad Hossein Shojaee Aliabadi is a Senior Scientific Adviser at ISIRI and is chairing the meeting.

On the agenda

Highlights on the agenda include the keynote address that will be given by Dr Chris Elliot, Vice-Chancellor, Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences of Belfast. Dr Elliot will provide an overview of food integrity/food authenticity from a food quality and safety perspective. 

Food trade is an important source of income and employment for the countries of the Near East region. However, there is an increasing threat posed by the intentional adulteration of food for financial gain. Food fraud is an emerging issue that can have a negative impact on both quality and safety aspects of foods as well as the integrity of food preferences. It can disrupt consumer confidence and affect the standing and financial viability of food businesses.

Other items on the agenda include identification of critical and emerging issues in food quality and safety within the region and work on regional standards for Doogh and Zaatar.


The Codex parent organisations oversee the coordinating committees. Dr Renata Clarke, Head of the FAO Food Safety and Quality Unit in the Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department said: "These meetings serve to inform the Codex agenda, inform FAO and WHO’s capacity development focus and strengthen networks and collaboration regionally. We have under-utilized this opportunity in the past and we are seeking to correct this."

Dr Kazuaki Miyagishima, Director of the Department of Food Safety and Zoonoses in WHO highlighted another opportunity the regional meetings present: "Codex's global standard setting efforts should not compete with but should be supported by the deepening of regional cooperation. RCCs are the ideal forum to achieve this."

Click here for details of the Rome meeting of the Near East region