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Codex Contaminants Committee meeting in Rio


Contaminants are substances that have not been intentionally added to food. They can occur naturally and enter the food while a crop is growing. They can form during manufacturing, handling, storage, processing or distribution. Or they can enter the food from the environment, through our water, the air or soil.

The Contaminants Committee establishes or endorses permitted maximum levels or guidelines levels for contaminants and naturally occurring toxicants in food and feed.

Nearly 50 countries are expected at this 11th session which begins in Rio de Janiero, Brazil on Monday April 3rd.

Co-hosting with Brazil

Co-hosting is a unique way of involving countries.

Rio de Janiero, Brazil

Cable car approaching Sugarloaf Mountain, Urca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Dr. Marie-Ange Delen, from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, is the Coordinator for Codex Alimentarius in The Netherlands. "Ever since the CCCF started counting, the Netherlands has cherished the concept of co-hosting the CCCF with another country." she said. "We now try to do it every other year. We have already succesfully co-hosted with China, Turkey, Moscow and India and are at the moment intensively working together with Brazil."

Dr Delen also explained that "co-hosting is a unique way of involving countries" that would otherwise be unable to permanently host a committee. Dr Delen added: "The instant effect of the opening session is that responsable politicians afterwards have a better understanding of the value of Codex. By moving the Codex meeting to another continent, attendance from countries in that region increases immediately, because attending becomes less costly."

Dr Delen emphasised that "Codex is a truly international organisation", and that this should therefore be reflected in the the locations where the meetings are held. She also noted how delegates seem to appreciate ithe initiative.

"Last time we co-hosted was with Kazakhstan for the CCEURO-meeting. And that went very well too."

Challenges of co-hosting

Working closely with another Codex member on a project as complex as co-hosting, involves facing cultural differences and a long-range relationship.

"It is true that organising a meeting outside of the Netherlands is more work for us as Dutch Codex team. It can be frustrating at times when things do not go as smooth as we want." noted Delen.

ANVISA - Brazilian co-host

Dr Bianca Zimon, Health Regulation Expert at the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency - ANVISA, which is co-hosting the session said: "Hosting the CCCF meeting is a great opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of the work done by Codex in Brazil and also to increase participation of Brazilian experts and of delegates of the CCLAC region."

For details of the 11th session of the contaminants committee visit the meeting webpage.