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Near East Committee guiding strategy and regional standards



The Eighth session of the FAO/WHO Coordinating Committee for the Near East (CCNEA) took place in FAO HQ Rome from 1-5 June. Regional coordinating committees are responsible for defining the problems and needs of the region concerning food standards and food control and are also tasked with developing regional standards for food products that move exclusively or almost exclusively in intra-regional trade. Chairperson Mrs Léna Dargham described the meeting as “an important forum to discuss regional concerns and challenges about food safety and quality issues”.

Regional Standards

The committee agreed to retain labneh as a regional standard with Lebanon taking the lead in providing the technical inputs to the Commission underling the specific attributes of the product that differentiate it from other fermented milks. A regional standard would, in the view of the committee, facilitate and increase trade in the product. The work on this regional standard as well as on zaatar and doogh is seen by Mrs Dargham as an important step towards facilitating trade of such products in the region and ensuring fair trade practices.

Strategic Plan for CCNEA

The Committee also finalised the CCNEA Strategic Plan 2016-2019, in line with the Codex Strategic Plan, to bring more coherence and proper direction for the Codex activities at the regional level, in this framework the Chair of CCNEA emphasized the importance of having set strategic objectives that aim "to enhance the role of countries of the Near East region in Codex activities and strengthen their collaboration in order to promote the use of Codex standards as well as protect the region's interests".

Regional Coordinator

The Committee also nominated Iran as Coordinator for CCNEA for appointment by the 38th Session of the Commission. Asked about Iran’s expectations for the region once the nomination has been confirmed by the Codex Alimentarius Commission in July 2015, Dr MH(F) Shojaee AliAbadi, Head of the Iranian Delegation, acknowledged the contribution of Lebanon and looked forward to being able "to increase the solidarity and technical cooperation within the member countries of the region to fulfil commitments in delivering food fit for consumption".

The work of all 6 FAO/WHO Coordinating Committees will be presented to the Codex Alimentarius Commission in July.

Click here to see the full agenda.

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