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Webinars build momentum on key trade issues in Codex ahead of May meeting


This week saw wide interest in trade standards that will be deliberated at the upcoming 25th meeting of the Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems (CCFICS25), to be held virtually from 31 May to 8 June 2021.

Two webinars held on Tuesday and Thursday 23 and 25 March 2021 brought together over 300 Codex Members and Observers as part of the series of Codex technical sessions updating delegates on topics on the agendas of subsidiary bodies in 2021. On Tuesday the discussion centred around draft guidelines on recognition and maintenance of equivalence of National Food Control Systems - a process that could help importing and exporting countries remove unnecessary restrictions affecting trade between them. Thursday was the turn of voluntary third-party assurance, a proposal moving through the committee which if adopted will see countries able to enhance their risk profiling of food businesses and more effectively target resources within their National Food Control Systems.

“A constructive and clear session enabled us to make some great progress,” said Fran Freeman chairperson of the committee speaking at the end of the second webinar.

Moving discussions into the informal webinar setting before the main meetings has allowed all those involved in a particular topic or coming new to the work, and to Codex, to grasp key issues and understand what is required to move the standards forward towards adoption.

Reem Barakat, Canada is one of the leads on the third-party assurance work. “I thought that there continues to be a high level of agreement on the text and I am hopeful that what we heard today will facilitate discussion and consensus at CCFICS, where we can be better prepared with solutions regarding those issues, “ she said.

“The value of the webinar was the opportunity to engage with the wider membership and listen to their views on a range of issues ahead of CCFICS25,” said Mike O’Neill, United Kingdom.

“By the time we get to May this year the committee will not have met for over two and a half years. Considering this break, combined with the complexity of the topics, it was encouraging to see these virtual meetings providing an excellent opportunity to familiarize and update CCFICS25 delegates on the work paving the way for good discussions at CCFICS25 and a successful outcome,” said Hilde Kruse, Senior Food Standards Officer in the Codex Secretariat.


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CCFICS25 documents on the meeting page.

Webinar recording and presentations available shortly