Like every year, The Codex Alimentarius Commission, run by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), was held in Rome.
In a session that gathered 620 delegates from 128 member countries in addition to 41 international governmental and non-governmental organizations, including UN agencies, one member organization and one observer country, Codex celebrated its 50th anniversary and defined international standards for food safety and quality standards.
This year, in order to protect the health of people worldwide, Codex embraced some codes to prevent and reduce ochratoxin A which is a carcinogenic contaminant found in cocoa and hydrocyanic acid in cassava. These two products are very spread in developing countries.
Also in this matter, Codex provided guidance to avoid microbiological contamination of berries. Although fresh berries are very good for your health, they are easily contaminated. This contamination is responsible for certain illness spasms resulting from viruses like Hepatitis A and Norovirus, from bacteria like E. coli and from protozoa, all found in food.
In its work to help consumers choose a healthier diet, Codex gave instruction to limit Sodium and saturated fatty acids because they are associated with non-communicable diseases or (NCDs), therefore, they will be included in the Guidelines on Nutrition Labelling.
Codex instructed updated guidelines on formulated supplementary food consumed by children and older infants among vulnerable population groups to help them get healthier.
The Commission asked for more limitations for pesticide residues, veterinary drugs and provisions for food additive. The control of animal feed prevents eggs, meat and milk products contamination. National Food Control Systems will follow the protocol produced by the Commission for a better food control.
A new Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs will be organized in India to unify the national standards and control the volume of trade. This committee elaborates worldwide standards for spices and culinary herbs. It is responsible for dried and dehydrated state in whole, ground, and cracked or crushed form. Duplication will be avoided by consulting similar international organizations.
Codex scientific data is based on risk analysis and expert bodies’ advice in FAO/WHO organized in 3 committees: the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA); the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR); and the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Meetings on Microbiological Risk Assessment (JEMRA). Codex also gathers information requested from countries to stay aware of any problems and solve them.