Food Law News - FAO/WHO/WTO/Codex - 2008
Codex Committee Report (ALINORM 09/32/19), 7-10 October 2008
CODEX – Coordinating Committee for Europe (26th Session), Warsaw, Poland
The 26th Session of the FAO/WHO Regional Coordinating Committee for Europe reached the following conclusions:
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE 32ND SESSION OF THE CODEX ALIMENTARIUS COMMISSION AND BY THE 64TH SESSION OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE:
The Coordinating Committee:
- Noted the need for improving horizontal communication of national experts attending different Codex Committees to have consistent national positions and that the establishment of the CCEURO website has been successfully used by the coordinator and members of the CCEURO to exchange information and to distribute newsletters before the 26th Session of the CCEURO session and the FAO/WHO Regional Workshop on the Codex Alimentarius (para. 9);
- Recognised that several Members in the European region whose economies are in transition were eligible for the Codex Trust Fund and acknowledged the important support given by the Codex Trust Fund in funding participation of these countries at Codex sessions but stressed that more capacity building was necessary in order to ensure that participation effective. In this respect the Committee examined various capacity building alternatives and took note of different proposals (para 19);
- Thanked FAO and WHO for their ongoing support to the Codex Alimentarius Commission and its subsidiary bodies through activities and programs on capacity building and scientific advice and noted the efforts of both FAO and WHO in the area of school feeding and promoting nutrition-friendly schools and encouraged close collaboration on these activities (paras 31-32);
- Agreed that information provided on national food control systems, consumer participation in food standards setting and other agenda items could be made available on the CCEURO website together with country information collected by FAO through capacity building projects with the understanding that this would be a useful tool for an exchange of information (para.46);
- Noted that in most countries Codex Contact Points and National Codex Committees generally worked well, while in other countries they needed further capacity building (para. 49);
- Welcomed the recommendation of the 61st Session of the Executive Committee to grant an observer status to the European Consumer Organization (BEUC) (para. 48);
- Noted that Codex standards and related texts were of voluntary nature, however the explicit reference of Codex food safety standards in the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) obliged WTO members to use them unless members wishing to use more stringent standards can scientifically justify it. For this reason, many countries of the Region were integrating Codex standards into their national legislation (para. 54);
- Noted that although many countries of the European region have taken many good initiatives in the area of nutrition and can report good progress, there still was a need for more work throughout the region in order to improve food safety and nutrition and that support from FAO and WHO to member states of the Region was very welcome in this regard (para 60);
- Unanimously agreed to nominate Poland as the Regional Coordinator for Europe (para. 62).
MATTERS REFERRED TO CODEX COMMITTEES AND TASK FORCES
The Coordinating Committee:
Codex Committee on General Principles (CCGP)
- reiterated its previously (agreed at its 25th Session1) position that the promotion of adoption of regional positions on strategic subjects by the Regional Coordinating Committees was already covered by the current terms of reference, in particular, the bullet (g) “exercises a general coordinating role for the Region” and therefore there was no need to change the terms of reference of Coordinating Committees as proposed by the CCLAC (para. 21);
- strongly supported the revision of the Code of Ethics for International Trade in Food (para. 76).
Codex Committee on Food Labelling (CCFL)
- The Coordinating Committee stressed the need for guidance concerning the Labelling of Foods and Food Ingredients obtained through certain Techniques of Genetic Modification/Genetic Engineering (paras 69- 71) and noted the importance to have a guidance on labelling provisions dealing with the food ingredients identified in the WHO Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health (paras 72-73).
Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling (CCMAS)
- The Coordinating Committee encouraged all members to participate actively in the work on the new guidelines for the detection and identification of foods derived from biotechnology (para. 77);
Codex Committee on Methods of Food Additives (CCFA)
- The Coordinating Committee noted that is was important for delegations to stress in the relevant Codex Commodity Committees that in accordance with section 1.2 of the Preamble of the General Standard for Food Additives, Commodity Committees had the responsibility and expertise to appraise and justify the technological need for the use of additives in foods subject to a commodity standard, while the task of the Codex Committee on Food Additives was more focused on the safety of these food additives. Therefore, when the food categories, as defined by the GSFA, are much broader than the scope of the Codex Commodity Standards is not appropriate to just refer in a commodity standard to the list of food additives of the corresponding food category (para. 80).
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