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Workshop in Azerbaijan reveals ideal mix for National Codex Committee


Participants gathered in Baku, Azerbaijan, from 6 to 7 February 2019 for a workshop entitled “Improving National Codex Capacities”, jointly organized by FAO and the Food Safety Agency of Azerbaijan (AFSA). National food control systems in Azerbaijan are undergoing significant change including the establishment of AFSA and the finalization of a food law.

“FAO is responding to the request of the Food Safety Agency of Azerbaijan for support to strengthen the food safety control system, and develop national Codex activities”, said Mary Kenny, FAO Food Safety and Consumer Protection Officer in the Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia. AFSA recognizes the importance of having knowledge of Codex processes, and a well-established National Codex Committee (NCC) to participate effectively in Codex activities at global and regional level, as well as benefit from Codex texts at the national level.

Betul Vazgecer

The workshop was led by Betul Vazgecer, Codex Contact Point of Turkey. “Learning first-hand from the experience of countries who have significantly improved their capacities over the years, such as Turkey, is highly beneficial”, said Kenny.

Thirty experts from the food safety institute, domestic inspection services, laboratories, import-export, risk assessment department and also food business operators, made up the group -  reflecting the “ideal multidisciplinary nature of a National Codex Committee”, said Vazgecer. “It was exciting to see the motivation of the Azerbaijani participants to establish an NCC and improve their capacity”, she added.

Although Codex Standards are voluntary in nature, countries greatly benefit from taking them as a basis for setting up national legislation based on their country’s needs. “Turkey was in a similar situation to Azerbaijan in 2004”, said Vazgecer,  who sees this as the first step  in moving towards “collecting all food legislation under the same umbrella” and defining what is obligatory in their own legal system.

Fuad Mardiyev, Head of International Relations and Protocol Department, Food Safety Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan (AFSA) and the Codex Contact Point of Azerbaijan praised the work of the organizers. The experience gained “will be used towards establishing an NCC, a National Codex Secretariat and Sub-committees in Azerbaijan as well as in developing Codex work and National Standards”, he said.


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FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

Food Safety at FAO

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Republic of Turkey