Published: 06/29/2006 - Updated: 08/14/2019
Author: Dra. Loredana Lunadei
Alimentarius Codex Commission, the UN body that deals with establishing rules on quality and food safety at international level, will meet in Geneva within the next July 3rd and 7th to discuss a series of proposals to improve consumer protection, preventing pathogens and harmful substances from contaminating the food.
If the proposed rules will be established, they would facilitate also international food trade by eliminating unjustified technical barriers.
The reunion brings together nearly 500 delegates from one hundred countries and many NGOs.
A wide range of topics
Among the issues to be discussed include important issues for both developed countries and those in development. These include:
- Maximum levels for lead in fish. Lead can cause a wide range of diseases, including anemia and hepatic and neurological disorders.
- Maximum levels of cadmium in rice, bivalves and cephalopods. Cadmium can cause kidney damage.
- Measures for the prevention of aflatoxin contamination in Brazil nuts. Aflatoxins are carcinogenic.
- Measures for the prevention and reduction of pollution by dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in food and feed. These substances are highly toxic and carcinogenic.
Topics on the agenda are complex and some of them are expected to rise to an intense debate, as discussion to establish a Working Group on Antimicrobial Resistance.
Antimicrobial resistance is a potential threat to human health. Misuse of antibiotics, or antibiotics in animals can result in the emergence of bacteria resistant to these drugs.
Through the chain of the meat industry, bacterial can reach food for human consumption. These bacteria can cause diseases that cannot be treated with known medications.
The new Codex Task Force will be mandated to develop a risk analysis and strategies to reduce risks in food derived from use of antimicrobials.
In addition, the Commission will examine the structures and mandates of its over 20 specialized committees, to ensure their effectiveness and that their work meets the needs of Member States.
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The Commission is a joint body of the Organization of the United Nations Food and Agriculture (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). It has 173 Member States plus the European Community.
Codex standards form the basis of food legislation in many countries has become benchmarks in accordance with international agreements of the World (WTO).
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