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“India is taking lead in standards”

With growing consumer awareness and involvement of developing nations in food safety dialogue, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, the apex body for food standards in the world, is recasting itself to accommodate diverse views and propose a new strategic plan for 2014-2019.

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In an interview with F&B news, Codex Alimentarius Commission’s chairman Sanjay Dave spoke about issues such as its recasting for the plan and harmonisation of Indian food safety standards with the science-based food standards laid down by the Commission. Excerpts:

What are the priority areas for Codex?
This is Codex’s 50th year, and we are mainly focussing on the finalisation of the New Codex Strategic Plan for 2014-2019 and the best way to achieve consensus-building amongst participating nations.

Currently, 185 nations and the European Union (EU) are part of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. So we would emphasise more on deliberations to arrive at consensus, so that the decisions would be applied universally and evenly.

What comprises the Codex Strategic Plan?
Basically, we want to further strengthen our procedure to formulate the standards, codes of practice, etc. by using more science-based models. Also the focus is on to make such standards, which fulfil needs of all the countries, ensure safety of the health of people and promote fair practices in food trade amongst the partner countries.

The plan also deliberates upon how the developing countries could be involved in capacity-building and also we would like to envisage an efficient delivery system that would help in harmonisation of standards amongst the member nations.

How much progress is made on the strategic plan?
We are deliberating on the next six-year strategic plan scheduled for 2014-19 for last two years. This year a series of meetings have taken place in different regional meetings. As you know there are six regions for Codex purposes. These are Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America and the South-West Pacific, Europe, the Near-East and Africa.

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