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Q&A with new CCFL Chair Lyzette Lamondin

Lyzette Lamodin

The Codex Committee on Food Labelling gets underway on Monday 9th May in Ottowa Canada.

This 43rd session will be chaired for the first time by Lyzette Lamondin and so we took this opportunity to find out a little more about our newest Codex Chair.

Q: You are currently an Executive Director of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Tell us something about the agency and its connection to Codex work.

A: The CFIA is a science-based organization responsible for enforcing Canada’s food regulations, including those set by Health Canada, to mitigate risks to public health and unfair market practices in the food supply. We also manage food safety emergencies and incidents.  

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

The CFIA and Health Canada are actively engaged in Codex in order to promote the adoption of science-based standards and guidelines to protect consumers here and abroad, and facilitate international trade.  Canada participates in all Codex Committees and task forces, and has been the proud Chair to the CCFL since the creation of the Agency in 1997.

Over the last few years , the CFIA has been working to modernize its food safety regulations. We looked to Codex for guidance and are very proud to say that we are aligning to international standards. 

One of my current responsibilities involves looking at how to modernize our approach to food labelling. There, too, the international consensus achieved through Codex will guide our policy and regulatory direction.

Q: You are extremely familiar with a Committee like CCFICS. What will be different for you in approaching the Committee on Food Labelling?

A:  I have been the Canadian Head of Delegation for several CCFICS meetings. I think the question should be more along the lines of what are the similarities between the two. Both CCFICS and CCFL cut across all foods and, as such, have the potential for broad influence and impact. The standards and guidelines that are developed in these committees can be technical in nature, but they can also move into areas of public policy and program design. 

The most public Codex Committee

Q: Much of the work in other Codex committees may seem highly technical to the general public and yet food labelling is an extremely “public” issue. What do you see as the role of the committee?

A:  Food labelling is, arguably, the most “public” of the committees. As consumers become more and more knowledgeable about the food they eat,  they want truthful and useful information on labels to enable them to make informed choices. It is also the principle way for food producers to communicate with consumers.  

When  food is traded globally, differences between labelling requirements are particularly challenging for industry that send product to many different countries. Consumers, who are used to a certain norm, could find the label confusing or less meaningful.

I believe the role of this committee is to find the right balance between how to provide consumers with the information they need, while not overly restricting the ability of industry to communicate with consumers…all the while ensuring that products on the market are not false and misleading. If we do that, it will set a standard, or an ideal, to which we can all move and, ultimately, have greater consistency in products that move across borders.  

Q: Looking through the CCFL agenda, what are your expectations for the meeting?

A: We have a few long-standing items that I would like to see progress toward completion, notably on Organic Aquaculture, which was launched in 2010, and date marking.  Tremendous work has been done on these items and consensus has been reached on many issues.  I am hoping the committee will have the collective will to move these items forward so that we can tackle some new work,  ideally with broad, horizontal impact.  

Q: This session of CCFL will be your first as Chairperson. What are the secrets to achieving consensus between Members in Codex?

A: It is my first, so I have yet to discover the secrets. However, I began my career as community developer and I believe the same principles apply to any consensus-based process: invite open and honest dialogue, respect, trust and new ideas from the participants. Usually, the solution presents itself, or simply needs to be pointed out. Some of the finest chairs I have witnessed demonstrate those techniques, often without even being aware.  

Thinking big for the future

Q: What issues do you think the committee should discuss in the medium to long term?

A: I will leave that to the CCFL delegates, but I will be encouraging members to think big – all food, all countries and of critical importance to consumers and industry.  As I mentioned earlier, as a horizontal committee, we have the ability to be broad and bold.

Lyzette Lamodin

Q: Can you give us a good example of a food label in Canada?

A: In Canada our food labelling laws are designed to allow consumers to make healthy, safe, and informed choices. Food labels are required to carry the name of the food, the net quantity, dealer name and address, ingredients list, and nutrition facts table. Labels must be bilingual - French and English - and there are legibility requirements.

Best before dates are applied to most foods with durable life of 90 days or less. Additional requirements are triggered, depending on situations, such as by the addition of nutrient content claims.

CFIA has a Labelling Tool for Consumers that provides an interactive example of a food labelled for the Canadian market. It can be accessed here.

The Codex Trust Fund

Q: How can we raise the profile of Codex to encourage more countries to contribute to the Codex Trust Fund2?

A: CTF2 is in place to help developing countries strengthen their national food safety systems. Since developing countries are increasingly exporting to developed countries, it is in the donor’s best interest to invest in CTF2, to promote stronger compliance of food safety requirements globally. With globalization of trade, it is becoming more urgent for developed countries to contribute to help developing countries strengthen their food safety systems. 


Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Working Documents for the Food Labelling Committee 


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