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Finland food industry fair confirms Codex is 60 but far from retirement


As part of the global celebrations of Codex Alimentarius turning 60, the Finnish government hosted a session at the annual Food Industry fair in Helsinki, Finland, on 23 May 2023. Titled “Codex – Far From Retirement”, the session attracted over 100 food professionals out of approximately 550 people attending the fair.

The session was led by Sebastian Hielm, Finland’s Food safety Director and European member of the Executive Committee of the Codex Alimentarius Commission and included presentations by Tom Heilandt, Secretary of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, Anne Beutling, from the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, currently Chairperson of the FAO/WHO Coordinating Committee for Europe (CCEURO), and  Sébastien Goux, Deputy Head of unit in the Directorate-General Health and Food Safety of the European Commission.

In her presentation Anne Beutling pointed to the diverse national contexts and legal and institutional frameworks as well as the varying intensity of international food trade in the 52 members of the CCEURO region to which Finland belongs. “Issues of global scale such as the impact of climate change on food safety or food fraud are among the most pressing concerns for European regulators. Members from CCEURO seek to address these issues through participation in the development of international rather than regional standards,” she said.

Sébastien Goux explained why the EU decided to become a member organization of Codex 20 years ago, how Codex standards affect EU legislation today and how important it is for the EU that Codex standards facilitate more sustainable food systems.

All speakers agreed that discussions about the future of Codex provide a unique opportunity for Codex to boost its ambition when it comes to contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals and transitioning the world’s food systems.

Inspired by the success of the session, the Finnish government will follow up with active messaging over various media channels during the week around World Food Safety Day on 7 June.


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Codex at 60


Photo credit © Laura Oja

(l to r) Sebastian Hielm, Sébastien Goux, Anne Beutling, Tom Heilandt