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Latin America and Caribbean addressing challenges of food safety


The Latin American and the Caribbean region has a third of the world’s fresh water resources and more than a quarter of the world’s medium to high potential farmland. It is one of the largest net food exporting regions in the world and its agricultural production continues to expand. Chile, elected as Regional Coordinator for the first time in 2015, is serving a second term that will end in 2020 at the 43rd Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission.

The FAO/WHO Coordinating Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean (CCLAC) will bring together in Santiago, Chile, from 21 to 25 October 2019, delegates and observers from the 33 countries that make up this Codex region.

Together, united as one voice

“This committee is the place in which countries from Latin America and the Caribbean come together, united as one voice, to address challenges and make propositions in the field of food safety”, said Diego Varela, Chile, International Affairs Coordinator at ACHIPIA, and Codex Regional Coordinator. Looking ahead to a week of discussions, “I would like to see a clear message with proposals from the region on how to address current and emerging issues that are affecting production and trade at the international level”, he said.


Simone Raszl, PAHO-WHO Food Safety Regional Adviser said: “I believe that CCLAC is important because in this regional meeting there is a unique opportunity to discuss solutions for common problems and countries can create synergies and support each other to overcome regional issues”.

“The work of CCLAC is important for the establishment of priorities and strategies on the elaboration of regional standards, especially for the harmonization of regional positions to be defended by the Latin American and Caribbean countries” added Andre Santos, Coordinator of the Brazilian Codex Alimentarius Committee. “Better engagement between countries means the strengthening of developing countries' participation at the Commission and its subsidiary bodies”.

María Inés Ibarra Colmán, Codex Contact Point, Paraguay looked forward to enriching discussions in plenary that can provide a broader vision of important issues for the country and “generate agreements among all to have a solid position as CCLAC”.

Different historical backgrounds and cultures must be taken into account.

This diverse region includes not only countries from Latin America but ten Caribbean states. Stuart Laplace, Director of the Bureau of Standards of St. Kitts and Nevis said: “As the smallest CARICOM country, St. Kitts and Nevis believes that participation in Codex related matters is paramount. Members of the Codex community come from different historical backgrounds and cultures, therefore our contribution to standards development individually, must be taken into account to guide the process and ensure standards are developed to account for all. If we do not participate in committees, we weaken the link as a group which further diminishes the overall goal of developing a Codex standard to represent all of us”.

CCLAC21, Chile

CCLAC21 - Santiago, Chile, 21 to 25 October 2019

“We consider the Codex Committee of Latin America and the Caribbean of great importance, it is a place where countries of the region have the opportunity to exchange everything related to Codex and its main objectives”, said Jorge Félix Medina Pérez, Secretary of the National Codex Committee, Cuba. “At this meeting countries can better exchange information on food safety and those emerging issues we are facing today”.

A sense of regional belonging.

Tandeka Barton is a Government Analyst in the Food and Drug Department in Guyana a country which sits on South America’s North Atlantic coast. “CCLAC is important to Guyana because it motivates and improves the morale of our members thereby providing the opportunity for us to express and contribute to the standard setting process. It also demonstrates a collective responsibility in improving safety, quality and equality in world food trade”.

Barton described actively participating in the decision-making process with the hope of improving the quality of decisions as a key expectation for the meeting, to create what she described as “a sense of regional belonging”.

Food safety, food trade and new goals

Over the course of the week, delegates will discuss the future of food safety, focusing on relevant issues in the region, and seek to deliver a regional workplan that responds to the goals and objectives of the new Codex Strategic Plan.

The keynote speaker at CCLAC21 is Andrés Couve, Minister of Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation from Chile who will underline the importance of science in Codex and the need to generate data and support science both at the national and international level.

“Codex is a member-driven organisation”, said Steve Wearne, Director of Global Affairs, Food Standards Agency, UK and Vice-Chairperson of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. “The regions and their member countries set our direction and priorities. The agenda item on a roadmap to implementation of our new strategic plan is important as it will identify and commit to the activities that drive Codex forward.”


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Follow the CCLAC21 agenda on the Codex website and get live updates on Twitter using #CCLAC21.