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Minister calls on South West Pacific region to face multiple challenges to food safety


Moses Amos

The 15th session of the FAO/WHO Coordinating Committee for North America and South West Pacific, is taking place in Port Vila, Vanuatu 16-20 September 2019. Addressing delegates at the opening ceremony, the Director General of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity, Moses Amos, speaking on behalf of the Minister, urged Codex to deal with the many modern-day challenges affecting food safety and trade in the region.

develop policies which best suit our situations

“Our region, comprising four of the most developed and some of the least developed nations, has the job of unpacking these challenges and offering the best and appropriate advice to our national food regulators to develop policies which best suit our situations”, he said.

Calling on member countries present, Amos underlined the need “to ensure we identify activities which will help our governments to see the importance of food security, food and nutrition safety and to help improve our individual nations’ participation in Codex work, and to add these into the implementation plan of new strategy.”

The CCNASWP region has wide and varied issues including climate change and other natural disasters that impact on food and nutrition security and negatively impact on human lives. “I urge your meeting to discuss ways which we can collectively employ to address them”, he said.


Opening session of CCNASWP15, Port Vila, Vanuatu

Sridhar Dharmapuri from the FAO Regional Office for Asia and Pacific said: “As we discuss food standards and good practices, we must not miss the larger message that food safety will need to be improved in a complex environment that includes fast-paced drivers such as global trade, online retail, urbanization and of course, climate change”.

WHO estimates of the global burden of foodborne diseases, which were released in 2015, show that every year approximately 125 million people become ill and about 50 000 people die from contaminated food in the Western Pacific region. A significant proportion of these are children under the age of five. Shashi Sareen, from the WHO Western Pacific Regional Office said countries in the region “need to not only develop or align national standards with Codex, but also participate in international standards setting so as to be able to influence such standards”.


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