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FAO, WHO and Codex continuing to fulfil leadership in food safety and public health


Parent bodies applaud innovation in Codex, maintaining focus and momentum during the pandemic

As the 80th session of the Executive Committee of the Codex Alimentarius Commission opened online on 13 January 2021, Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General of FAO, complimented Codex on its ability to quickly adapt to new efficient and effective virtual ways of working. During the pandemic, Codex standards have provided clear, immediate and effective solutions to protect supply chains and consumers and “together we have a chance to change and transform food systems to be more resilient and sustainable,” she said.

Executive Committee a trailblazer in implementing new technologies.

With reference to the UN Food Systems Summit taking place later this year, Semedo told the Executive Committee that “normative work, including Codex work, will form an important base for all the work that FAO will do. More visible than ever before.”

Naoko Yamamoto, Assistant Director-General of WHO thanked the committee for advancing Codex work under difficult conditions. “The pandemic has tested and challenged us as never before, and has highlighted the need for resilient, fair and sustainable food systems to ensure the availability and affordability of safe and nutritious food for all.”

In 2020, the World Health Assembly adopted a new food safety resolution, ‘Strengthening efforts on food safety’ which underlines the commitment from Member States to strengthen national food safety systems and lower the burden of foodborne disease. “It also calls for further expanding WHO’s collaboration with FAO in food safety for coming years, including through Codex,” she said.

Guilherme Da Costa, Brazil, Chairperson of the Codex Alimentarius Commission said: “Codex has the strength to achieve better and fairer food trade globally”. Science-based standards provide transparency for market access, inclusiveness, and economic development. Equitable commercial relations contribute to the aim of eradicating poverty and hunger, fostering more productive employment and job creation. “Striving to ensure that no one is left behind in the drive to reach the 2030 sustainable development goals is one of our responsibilities,” he said.

The Executive Committee runs over two weeks as a virtual meeting and will discuss operational strategy during COVID-19 and issues related to the role of science. The session ends on 21 January.


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CCEXEC80, working documents

Main photo
Left to right: Naoko Yamamoto (WHO); Maria Helena Semedo (FAO)