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Through Codex, Asia works together to strengthen the Codex system and regional cooperation


Delegates from 18 member countries are gathered in Goa, India 23 to 27 September, for the 21st FAO/WHO Coordinating Committee for the Asian region (CCASIA).

Sunil Bakshi, Chairperson of the committee and Head of Regulations at the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), extended a warm welcome to those present emphasising that the main objective of CCASIA is to promote mutual communication and resource sharing to develop regional standards and regulations for food products.

A great opportunity to work together.

Rita Teaotia (main photo), Chairperson FSSAI, in her inaugural address, said it was a difficult time for trade and globally economies including major ones were slowing down. “Trade tensions and rising protectionism are increasing and in this environment the Codex Alimentarius Commission and CCASIA in particular offer us a great opportunity to work together to strengthen both the Codex systems as well as our regional cooperation”, she said.

Asia is a rapidly growing region, rich in linguistic, economic and cultural diversity and shares an ancient history of robust trading relations. Countries trade extensively with each other and at least in food, almost 60 percent of food trade is within the region. “To my view, this alone is enough reason for us to develop a common ground for cooperation”, said Teaotia, underlining the need to create a network of scientific and research institutions for collection and assimilation of scientific data for the region and the opportunity to explore ways of exchanging information regarding food fraud and other areas of core interest to countries.


Left to right: Sunil Bakshi, Rajeev Kumar Jain, Purwiyatno Hariyadi, Steve Wearne, Rita Teaotia, Sridhar Dharmapuri, Gyanendra Gongal, Sarah Cahill 

Sarah Cahill, Senior Food Standards Officer, Codex Secretariat said the “coordinating committees are unique among Codex meetings and the focus of such meetings is not only on standard setting but also to shine a light on various food safety and quality issues in the region”. Regional meetings provide a forum for collaboration and knowledge sharing, for promoting discussions on new issues emerging on the horizon and then “to take critical decisions on setting standards that are central to addressing food safety and quality in the region”, she said.

Steve Wearne, Vice-Chair, Codex Alimentarius Commission highlighted said “the regional coordinating committees and member countries collectively set the direction and the priorities of Codex”, and looked forward to seeing the results of the deliberations and key analysis to facilitate the continuing discussions on what more Codex can do “to ensure our international and national food control systems”.

Purwiyatno Hariyadi, Vice-Chair, Codex Alimentarius Commission said the “countries should aim to have more such initiatives at the regional level to ensure that key issues unique to Asia can be discussed”.

Elevating the status of food safety on the international development agenda.

Sridhar Dharmapuri, Senior Food Safety and Nutrition Officer, FAO said the two high-level events in Addis Ababa and Geneva “have firmly placed the topic of food safety front and center of the food agenda, alongside ending hunger and tackling the consequences of climate change”. Unlike the other two priorities, food safety is under-represented within the Sustainable Development Goals, “but we now have the opportunity to elevate its status on the international development agenda and integrate it as we proceed towards 2030”, he said.

Gyanendra Gongal, Technical Officer, WHO, representing Regional Director Poonam Khetrapal Singh, said that standards set by Codex are of global relevance: “All countries have a duty to adhere to the Codex standards and guidelines and to ensure more coordination amongst the regions”, he said.

CCASIA21-lighting the lamp

Rita Teaotia leads the lighting of the lamp ceremony at the opening of CCASIA21.


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