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Codex Alimentarius Commission's 86th Session: Global Leaders Push for Enhanced Food Safety and Trade Standards

The Codex Alimentarius Commission's 86th session advanced global food safety standards, with India contributing significantly to spice standards and recycled packaging.

KJ Staff
Codex Alimentarius Commission's 86th Session: Global Leaders Push for Enhanced Food Safety and Trade Standards (Photo Source: @MoHFW_INDIA/X)
Codex Alimentarius Commission's 86th Session: Global Leaders Push for Enhanced Food Safety and Trade Standards (Photo Source: @MoHFW_INDIA/X)

The 86th session of the Executive Committee of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CCEXEC86) was held at the FAO Headquarters, where key global leaders underscored the importance of consumer health protection and equitable practices in food trade. Maria-Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General of the UN body, emphasized the Commission's enduring mission to safeguard consumer health and ensure fairness in food trade practices.

In her address, Semedo highlighted the ongoing discussions surrounding the new Codex Strategic Plan for 2026-31. She stressed the necessity of achieving a consensus on prioritizing standard-setting efforts to effectively support all Codex Members in addressing emerging challenges. "We need to agree on how we identify, define, and prioritize future challenges as they emerge, rather than waiting for those challenges to proliferate," she urged.

Ailan Li, Assistant Director-General of WHO, also emphasized the critical role of sustainable food systems in promoting public health and sustainable development. The global community is in serious need of clear, robust strategies to navigate current and future challenges. We must ensure that food systems contribute to having healthier diets and safer foods for the people today and future generations, as per Ailan.

Codex Chairperson Steve Wearne of the United Kingdom reflected on the achievements of the Codex's 60th anniversary celebrated in 2023 and encouraged members to focus on future advancements. "2024 now presents us with the opportunity to look to the future and to advance our work on the Codex Strategic Plan for 2026-2031," he said, urging CCEXEC Members to engage fully in developing a comprehensive draft of the new strategic plan.

India, represented by G Kamala Vardhana Rao, CEO of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), actively participated in the session, advocating for the enhancement of quality standards for spices such as small cardamom, vanilla, and turmeric. As a major producer and exporter of these spices, India’s involvement is crucial in facilitating smoother international trade.

In addition to spices, India also supported the progression of standards for named vegetable oils, guidelines for controlling Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli, and the safe use and reuse of water in food production and processing. Another significant proposal championed by India was the development of Codex guidance on food safety considerations related to the use of recycled materials in food packaging

Highlighting its experience, India shared the guidelines developed by FSSAI on recycling post-consumer PET for food contact applications, which were well-received by the committee members. This initiative aligns with addressing global challenges such as climate change, environmental protection, and sustainability.

India's commitment to establishing robust food safety standards and promoting fair practices in global food trade was evident throughout the session. The country’s active participation and contributions underscore its pivotal role in the international food industry, reflecting its dedication to global food safety and sustainability.

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