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Landmark food hygiene discussions begin in Panama


The Codex Committee on Food Hygiene (CCFH) is gathering for the 50th time. This year the meeting, chaired by the United States of America, is co-hosted by Panama, whose Vice Minister of Health, Eric Ulloa, set the tone for the week-long meeting. “Challenges are ahead,” he told the Committee, outlining the forward-looking agenda, which includes: revising one of the earliest Codex standards (the General Principles of Food Hygiene) and covering new topics, such as allergen management, microbiological foodborne outbreak management and Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, also known as E.coli.

In his opening statement, Emilio Esteban, Chair of Committee on Food Hygiene welcomed the 223 participants, both Codex Members and Observers, from 58 countries and expressed his thanks for their dedication and expertise.

“The United States has been honoured and proud to host this key food safety committee since its inception,” Mary Frances Lowe, U.S. Codex Manager, said in her opening remarks, referring to CCFH as a “key source of practical and authoritative texts that assist Codex Member governments in protecting consumer health while promoting fair practices in the food trade.”

Sarah Cahill, Senior Food Standards Officer, on behalf of the Codex Secretary, congratulated CCFH on its 50th anniversary, looking back on some noteworthy achievements. “When I started to attend this Committee in 2000, it was embarking on incorporating microbiological risk assessment as a cornerstone to its work and had paved the way for the establishment of the new JEMRA [Joint FAO/WHO Expert Meetings on Microbiological Risk Assessment],” she said, also noting that CCFH has led the way in applying a risk-based approach to standard setting.

The venue for CCFH also provided an opportunity for members of the Codex Latin American and the Caribbean region to discuss their priorities and coordinate input for the Codex Strategic Plan (2020-2025).


Read more about the CCFH on the website and new "Food Hygiene at 50" brochure.