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International symposium recognizes central role of Codex in food safety and food control systems


The International Symposium on Food Safety and Control, which concluded yesterday, 31 May, in Vienna, Austria, provided a forum for information sharing on cutting edge research and developments in the application of nuclear technologies for food safety and control. The event also offered networking opportunities between the public and private sectors and the chance to define future research needs and directions.

The symposium included seven sessions, which addressed several topics, from chemical residues and contaminants in food and feed, to One Health and the impacts of climate change on food safety.

Codex was also at the centre of the discussions of the five-day symposium. Steve Wearne, Chairperson of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) addressed the plenary in the session Standard setting, regulations, metrology, risk assessment, which was chaired by Sarah Cahill, Senior Food Standards Officer, Codex Secretariat. In his presentation, Wearne recalled the role of all participants in setting and implementing international food safety standards and guidelines, highlighting the importance of international food safety and quality standards, and the need to work together “as we are all part of the agrifood system”. The session put a spotlight on some of the data generation efforts ongoing around the world to support standard setting, including maximum residue limits (MRLs) for antimicrobials which are of particular importance to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Other speakers in the session presented data on mycotoxins, including emerging mycotoxins, with several presentations focusing on the importance of looking at co-exposure to mycotoxins. Research and monitoring efforts on other hazards including radionuclides, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH), cyanotoxins and pesticide residues were also discussed as well as risk assessment approaches using available data.

The challenges for those working on the operational frontline of ensuring food is safe were also presented, such as finding a balance between reducing pesticide residues while also preventing the growth of mycotoxin producers on food crops. The session also provided insight into the full lifecycle of a food standard, from issue identification to data generation and risk assessment through to standard setting, implementation and monitoring to analyze effectiveness - and the use of that data to adjust standards or regulations.

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The International Symposium on Food Safety and Control

In the news - Nuclear techniques can play a crucial role in setting science-based global food standards


© Photo credits FAO / Codex