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Codex Executive Committee / session underway at WHO, Geneva


As the 78th session of the Executive Board of the Codex Alimentarius Commission got underway at the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Naoko Yamamoto (main photo), Assistant Director General, WHO, reaffirmed the organization’s commitment to work closely with FAO in order to enhance the role of the Executive Board to review and optimize the operations of the whole Codex Alimentarius Commission.

Acknowledging WHO’s role in working closely with member states and FAO to strengthen food systems and improve food safety worldwide, Yamamoto said WHO priorities included Codex and the joint WHO/FAO scientific advice programme, “and necessary support to build and strengthen effective food safety systems at the national, regional and global levels including capacity building of food safety systems in low- and middle-income countries”.

Critical role of Codex standards.

In addition to the need to address food safety issues in the work of Codex, “there has been increasing recognition of the critical roles and responsibilities that Codex standards and guidelines play in ensuring the people have healthy diets, in particular in today’s rapidly changing food environment”, she said.

Markus Lipp, Head of the Food Safety and Quality Unit in FAO underlined FAO Director-General, Qu Dongyu’s, strong support for Codex having been instrumental himself in introducing Codex to China. Describing the challenges for the Executive Committee Lipp said: “I would like to urge you to carefully consider your mandate of being the executive arm of the Codex Commission and making sure that you exercise your executive privileges with a view to making Codex more efficient, more useful and more productive. We all will be held accountable”.

World Food Safety Day, a unique opportunity.

World Food Safety Day celebrated on 7 June 2020 will be another opportunity to raise the profile of food safety. “While food safety is important on all other days too, this day provides a unique opportunity to stress, with a common synchronized voice, that food safety is everybody’s business”, said Lipp.

Guilherme Da Costa

Guilherme Da Costa, Chairperson Codex Alimentarius Commission

The Chairperson of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, Guilherme Da Costa, Brazil, reminded members of the paramount role the committee plays as the executive arm of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. “It should be focused on mutual cooperation, strengthening participation in Codex, consensus-building, and especially on the interests of the world as food safety and fair practices in food trade are concerned”, he said.

Da Costa spoke of the recent WHO Executive Board recommendation to send a resolution strengthening efforts on food safety for consideration by the Seventy-third World Health Assembly, in May 2020. “This is a key development for the area of food safety and especially for Codex and the science basis of the organization”, he said.


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