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Quality Digest


New Food Safety and Quality Standards

Published: Tuesday, August 7, 2007 - 22:00

(FAO: Rome/Geneva) -- The Codex Alimentarius Commission has adopted 44 new and amended food standards and set up a comprehensive set of risk analysis principles to help governments establish their own standards, especially for food items that are not covered by Codex standards, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and World Health Organization recently announced.

Codex food-safety standards are developed using scientific advice from FAO/WHO expert committees that enables the rigorous standard setting procedures within Codex. According to Dr. Kazuaki Miyagishima secretary of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, “This is why Codex standards are so successful globally and the reason they are recognized by the World Trade Organization Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement.

“Because governments often adopt Codex standards into their national legislation and sometimes even see the need for additional measures in areas not covered by Codex guidance, it is important that the extra safety measures are taken using the same rigorous and internationally recognized principles, not only to protect consumers, but to ensure they are consistent with multilateral trade rules” says Dr. Miyagishima.

FAO and WHO welcomed the move of the Codex commission to look for methods to prevent antimicrobial resistance in bacteria in food. FAO and WHO are ready to support Codex in areas such as the use of nanotechnology and the risk-benefit assessment of fish consumption.

The Codex meeting decided to develop additional guidelines to lower the frequency of Salmonella and Campylobacter in chicken. Together these two bacteria cause a significant proportion of food-borne diseases all over the world. Finding efficient ways of dealing with this problem from farm to table could result in the prevention of hundreds of thousands of food-borne disease cases every year.

This year’s Codex meeting adopted several important new codes and standards, including:

  • A code that would prevent or reduce Ochratoxin A contamination in wines across the production chain (Ochratoxin A is a mycotoxin known to be toxic to the kidneys)
  • A revised standard for infant formulae and formulas for special medical purposes that is expected to help save many infant lives worldwide
  • A revised code of hygienic practice for eggs and egg products that will protect consumers from disease-causing bacteria such as Salmonella Enteritidis and make international trade in eggs and egg products safer.

An advance version of the report of the 30th Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission in English can be downloaded at ftp://ftp.fao.org/codex/CAC/CAC30/al30REPe_advance_e.pdf. The final version will be available in September.

For more information, visit www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2007/1000624/index.html


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For 40 years Quality Digest has been the go-to source for all things quality. Our newsletter, Quality Digest, shares expert commentary and relevant industry resources to assist our readers in their quest for continuous improvement. Our website includes every column and article from the newsletter since May 2009 as well as back issues of Quality Digest magazine to August 1995. We are committed to promoting a view wherein quality is not a niche, but an integral part of every phase of manufacturing and services.