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Codex Executive Committee takes virtual route for standard setting


In an historic moment for the Codex Alimentarius Commission, the Executive Committee (CCEXEC) began its 79th meeting online due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Spread over seven days (13-20 July 2020) and four online sessions, the committee will examine standards for adoption and proposals for new work from those committees that were able to meet before travel became impossible in March this year and all subsequent Codex meetings were cancelled. The recommendations of the CCEXEC will go forward for consideration by the full Codex Alimentarius Commission at its next session, planning for which is still under discussion.

Speaking on behalf of FAO Director General, QU Dongyu, Assistant Director General, Bukar Tijani, said the meeting was “a testament to the progress and power of technology, but it is also a sign of our overall resilience and openness to innovation”. Tijani highlighted the key role international organizations have to play in responding to the impact of the pandemic on people’s lives and livelihoods, global food trade, markets, food supply chains and livestock. “We need to protect everybody, but especially the most vulnerable who are always the most severely affected by global crises”, he said.

Naoko Yamamoto, Assistant Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), told participants the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic was an opportunity to reshape food systems. “We need to critically rethink the way we produce, process, package, transport, market and consume our foods and how we dispose of food waste”, she said. Earlier this year the World Health Assembly adopted a new resolution on food safety. “By updating the global strategy for food safety, WHO will continue to fulfill its leadership in food safety and public health, together with FAO, Codex and other relevant partners, to ensure everyone can have adequate access to safe and healthy food”, said Yamamoto.

The Chairperson of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, Guilherme da Costa, Brazil, underlined the unity and global participation he had witnessed from all those involved in Codex. “We now have even greater global responsibility for food safety and it is essential we do our utmost to further develop and disseminate Codex standards to ensure food safety and quality for everyone, everywhere”, he said.


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Standards under discussion available online on the CCEXC79 meeting page.