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A strong and responsive Codex important to advancing FAO Food Safety Strategy


Delegations attending the 27th Committee on Agriculture (COAG), held virtually from 28 September to 2 October 2020, have agreed to support the development of a new FAO Food Safety Strategy which will contribute to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with consideration for food safety issues, as the transformation of food systems accelerates.

The strategy will align with this transformation and provide advice on managing unforeseen global challenges and crises that may affect the food supply. It will also serve as an international policy and advocacy instrument to call for increased consideration for food safety in FAO programmes.

Speaking during the COAG discussion online, Australia encouraged FAO to ensure close alignment of the strategy with the work of the Codex and topics such as food fraud currently actively under consideration by Codex. “Australia considers the work of Codex … an essential part of the food security narrative, especially for the countries that rely on food imports for food security”, said the spokesperson.

The delegation from Germany speaking on behalf of the European Union and its 27 Member States said “we also request FAO to provide strong support to the Codex Alimentarius Commission and engage in reflecting on how this body could increase its contribution to the global efforts needed to improve the sustainability of our food systems”.

“In view of the increasing global importance of Codex standards, Switzerland strongly recommends FAO to ensure that the new FAO Food Safety Strategy clearly articulates FAO's responsibility to support Codex standard setting procedure in order to ensure that Codex standards are based on science”, said the delegation from Switzerland

Chile emphasized the need for FAO to focus on working closely together with its members to help them implement “the vast number of guides, manual studies and standards which FAO and others, in particular the Codex Alimentarius Commission have developed over the years”.

“A strong and responsive Codex will be important to advancing the FAO Food Safety Strategy”, said the representative from New Zealand.

The United States urged FAO “to leverage and align their food safety strategies with the work of Codex Alimentarius, which is the pre-eminent global food safety standards setting authority”.

Argentina also emphasized the need for FAO to continue to support and strengthen the funding for scientific advice on which Codex standards depend.

The FAO/WHO Coordinating Committees representing the six Codex regions called on Member Countries at their recent meetings in 2019 to raise their commitments to food safety following the two events held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Geneva, Switzerland in 2019  under the theme “The Future of Food Safety: Transforming knowledge into action for people, economies and the environment”.

The recent World Health Assembly Resolution “Strengthening efforts on food safety”, calling for an update of the WHO Global Strategy for Food Safety, also underlines the timeliness of the FAO initiative.

Markus Lipp, Senior Food Safety Officer, said: “We are highly encouraged by the support from COAG Members and fully recognize that the development of this strategy needs to occur in close alignment with WHO and Codex”.


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Photo credit: ©FAO / FAO