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Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Secretary of State Qu Dongyu welcomed the Codex Alimentarius Commission’s food standards on Monday. This lays a strong foundation for ensuring the safety of the food we grow, produce, process, trade and consume.

Qu addressed the opening of the 44th session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, the United Nations body established by FAO and the World Health Organization (WHO) to protect consumer health and ensure fair practices in international food trade.

He noted that “when doubts emerged about the risks from Covid-19 in food, FAO together with the World Health Organization (WHO), through Codex, provided quick, professional and technical guidance to producers, businesses and consumers.”

“Working collectively and in an integrated manner is vital, and Codex is a leading example of the power of effective and efficient partnerships,” Qu told the more than 800 participants in the virtual conference.

Director-general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus emphasized the critical role that Codex standards play in improving the safety and quality of food, protecting and promoting consumers’ health and nutrition, and protecting fair trade practices.

He praised the increasing synergies between FAO and WHO with the alignment of both agencies’ food safety strategies, and their deepening partnership to fight antimicrobial resistance.

Codex’s use of technology and innovation

The FAO director-general underscored that by harnessing the latest technology, Codex continues to be the global platform to develop food safety and quality standards that protect consumers and facilitate good practices in food trade.

He pointed to Codex’s work on electronic certification and third-party assurance which will contribute to making trade documentation more efficient and secure, and setting the benchmark for food safety in the global food market.

The 44th session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission will be held online from November 8 to 18, 2021, with members expected to approve a series of standards, guidelines, and codes of practice.

Codex Committees and Task Forces have met virtually in 2021 to complete work on a range of standards that have been proposed for adoption by the Commission:

• Spices and Culinary Herbs
• Contaminants in Foods
• Methods of Analysis and Sampling
• Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems
• Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods
• Pesticide Residues
• Food Additives
• Food Labelling
• Antimicrobial Resistance

At its 44th session, the Commission will also consider possible needs and mechanisms for introducing new food sources and production systems into Codex (eg FAO Food Safety Strategy 2022-2031 and WHO Global Food Safety Strategy 2022-2030)

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