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Two observers on working virtually and the value of global standards


The International Fruit and Vegetable Juice Association (IFU) represents producers, associations, traders, machinery and packaging producers and public and private scientific institutions from around the world. As a worldwide association, IFU has faced similar challenges to Codex when it comes to arranging meetings. “Unfortunately, our physical meetings and events were all cancelled so we moved to remote meeting. It’s not the same so we try and have shorter sessions … at different times to try and enable all time zones to connect at a reasonable time”, said John Collins, Executive Director (pictured right, above).

With a CAC43 agenda focussed on adopting Codex texts and approving new work from those committees that did meet before the pandemic, IFU’s expectation is that the same objectives as from a face-to-face meeting can be met. Looking to 2021 “We would like clarity where possible to understand if the physical meetings in the early part of next year will go ahead”, he said.

Corrado Finardi is Regulatory Affairs Manager for Food & Feed Safety at COCERAL, the European association representing the trade in cereals, oilseeds, pulses, olive oil, oils and fats, animal feed and agrosupply. COVID-19 has allowed associations to better appreciate the need for resilience and preparedness in order to increase the speed of response. During the pandemic “COCERAL acted as an intelligence hot spot, gathering and distributing promptly vital information both to our members and to the EU institutions”, he said.

The Commission is expected to approve new work in the food hygiene committee on allergen management for food business operators. “It is indeed key that the codes of practice – both private and public – seek to meet real needs and respond in a proportionate manner to the actual risks associated to food & feed without adding layers of complexity”, said Finardi.

COVID-19 has shown how closely we are all interconnected and also the value of global standards. An area Codex could work on in the future has been highlighted by the knock-on effect of our interconnectedness. “Crisis communication and crisis management in complex situations when the risks are not arising directly from food but from the overall food supply chain management”, is an interesting area Codex could possibly work on in the future he said.

Both IFU and COCERAL marked World Food Safety Day within their communities, especially timely said Finardi for those involved in harvesting in June: “It is an important day in that it acts as a reminder of the vital role of food in our lives”.

The current CAC43 session is being attended by over 50 of the 237 Codex Observers.


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Codex Observers

IFU website

COCERAL website