Page tools
codexalimentarius > News and Events > News details

Codex food labelling committee / preparation and willingness to compromise keys to success


The 46th session of the Codex Committee on Food Labelling (CCFL46), hosted by Canada, will get underway virtually on 27 September and conclude on 7 October 2021. Topics on the agenda include: labelling of non-retail containers, front of pack nutrition labelling, allergen labelling and guidance on e-commerce.

CCFL46 was postponed from 2020 to 2021 due to the pandemic which allowed for extra time to further develop the agenda items.  Ahead of the meeting, Chairperson Kathy Twardek, Canada said: “A great deal of effort has been going on behind the scenes and I believe the items have been advanced quite a lot and this will help with our discussions.  My thanks go to chairs of the electronic working groups, the participants, and the Secretariats for all their hard work.”

Codex: the benchmark for global virtual meetings.

There has been wide recognition across the Codex community for the ability of the Codex Secretariat to switch to virtual meetings; in being able to reprogramme and coordinate delicate negotiations on technical standards, often exploiting the additional time between committee sessions caused by the pandemic to advance work on draft texts in working groups, and rapidly switch operations to virtual platforms, in what one Codex delegate called ‘the benchmark for global virtual meetings’.  

CCFL46 will be the first time chairing in an online environment for Twardek. “A virtual meeting is not the same as an in-person meeting, and I have seen that with a virtual meeting there is less room for extensive discussion. I think the keys for success will be preparation, being willing to compromise and understanding the views of others,” she said. “We will be dealing with complex issues and having to participate in these meetings in different time zones can be quite taxing,” she added.

E-commerce on the agenda

The numbers of people who do a weekly grocery shop online has doubled in some markets since the coronavirus lockdown in a trend that is now considered by many as irreversible. Codex has been working on this issue since 2019 addressing issues such as what information should be included on the web page for a particular packaged food if the customer is unable to actually pick up the product off the shelf as they would in a store and examine the label.

Other items to be discussed at CCFL46 include examining how technology can meet the practicalities of labelling large shipments of food products, and work on guidance for precautionary allergen labelling to protect allergic consumers based on updated expert scientific knowledge and advice.

Simplified nutrition labelling is an important tool to provide consumers with information to support healthier food choices and to help reduce the increasing incidence of obesity and chronic non-communicable diseases. “I see this as an important tool for us to communicate complex health information to consumers using a food label as the focal point,” said Twardek.


Learn more

Full details available on the CCFL46 meeting page

Interview with Chairperson Kathy Twardek, Canada