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Goa, India - FAO/WHO regional meeting discussing key issues for Asia


“Asian countries play a key role in the global supply chain”, said Codex Vice Chairperson Purwiyatno Hariyadi as delegates from the Codex Asia region gathered in Goa, India for the FAO/WHO Coordinating Committee for Asia (CCASIA), 23 to 27 September 2019. This meeting is an opportunity for countries to meet and discuss their common concerns and “ensure the standards that advance in the Codex system are relevant” he said.

A packed agenda will deal with the food safety issues that the region considers to be of the highest priority, work on the development of food safety standards and seek to deliver a regional workplan that responds to the goals and objectives of the new Codex Strategic Plan.

Gyanendra Gongal, from the WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia said: “There is no food security without food safety and Codex standards and guidelines have critical roles to play in ensuring people have healthy diets and safe food”.

Seah Peik Ching, from the Singapore Food Agency, attending CCASIA for the first time said the meeting was a chance for Asian countries to network at the regional level.

CCASIA is a chance to discuss the big ideas, big issues and topics

“This is where part of the global Codex work is generated”, said Peter Ben Embarek, from the WHO Department of Food Safety and Zoonoses. With the momentum food safety has gained on the global agenda in 2019 following The First FAO/WHO/AU International Conference on Food Safety held in Addis Ababa and the International Forum on Food Safety and Trade (Geneva), CCASIA is a chance to discuss “the big ideas, the big issues and the big topics” that are priorities for the region, he said.

What are we actually eating?

In many countries it is possible to order a taxi through a phone app and food along with it, shop for groceries online and get lunch without even leaving the house or office. “Is this food safe and who is ensuring that? And when it comes to processed food what’s in it? What are we actually eating? These are questions that consumers are concerned about”, said Sridhar Dharmapuri, FAO Senior Food Safety and Nutrition Officer. With food safety issues never far away from traditional and social media, “the fundamentals of food control constantly need upgrading and food safety needs to be well integrated with national and regional agriculture development programmes to have maximum positive impact on public health and trade”, he said.

Keynote speaker Prof Ayyappan, Central Agricultural University in Manipur, India, will address the issue of food safety at the primary production level. Asia sits at the fulcrum of the global food system, with diverse food production systems contributing to 48.2% of the world’s food basket. Ayyappan will tell delegates that regulatory frameworks in Asian countries need to apply the same stringent compliance requirements that are in place for processing and trade also at the primary production level.


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