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CCNE11 underway / Strengthening cooperation on food safety and quality issues in the region


The eleventh session of the FAO/WHO Coordinating Committee for Near East (CCNE) commenced today, marking an important milestone in regional collaboration on food safety and quality standards. The meeting, chaired by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is taking place on 18 – 22 September 2023 in Rome, at the FAO headquarters with representatives from 17 countries joining in person and virtually.

I urge everyone to exchange scientific expertise and promote the use of Codex Alimentarius Commission standards as a basis for national legislation and to prepare and develop food standards, taking into account regional interests that have a positive role in advancing the work of the Regional Coordinating Committee”, said Khalid S Al Zhrani, CCNE11 Chairperson, welcoming all members and observers.

The Chairperson echoed the words of Mohammed Al Nasser, SFDA Vice-President, on the continuous Saudi Arabian commitment towards Codex Alimentarius since 1968, looking forward to closer collaborations and interactions. Moez Sanaa, WHO Unit Head for Standards and Scientific Advice on Food Nutrition, renewed WHO's commitment to supporting and strengthening data collection in the region, also through the Global System Food Initiative (GEMS Food).

Sarah Cahill, Senior Food Standards Officer, stated that “CCNE is among the youngest Codex committees, in response to the need to establish or strengthen national food control infrastructure across the region. The purpose of Coordinating Committees is primarily to discuss, share and potentially address food safety and quality issues at the regional level”. She also recalled that2023 marks the Codex Alimentarius Commission’s (CAC) 60th anniversary, underlining how change has been a constant positive trait of working on international food standards.

CCNE11 got underway with an engaging discussion on Transformation of food systems for sustainable foods for better health highlighting the importance of initiatives on healthy diets and nutrition in the region. Reflecting on the alarming increase of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), Dr Faisal BinSunaid from the SFDA stressed that dietary changes towards a healthier diet are likely to result in major health benefits and have a positive impact on economy in the countries within the region.

The CCNE11 agenda includes several topics, such as the proposed regional standard for maamoul, the food safety and quality in the region and the implementation of the Codex Strategic Plan, among others.


For more information:

CCNE11 meeting page

Interview to the CCNE11 Chairperson, Khalid S Al Zhrani

The CCNE Region - Regional Coordinator Saudi Arabia


Photo © FAO / Giulio Napolitano