Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Quality of foods, especially those manufactured by industry, are assessed for their quality and safety against bench mark standards evolved by the national agency in each country and these standards are not uniform in all countries having credible executing agencies. While for domestic consumption individual countries can have their own standards keeping in view the prevailing situation, when it comes to international import-export business, global bench marks are necessary or bilateral agreements are to be arrived at to avoid undesirable trade disputes. The inter country agencies WHO and FAO set up the Codex Alimentarius Commission vested with the unique task of evolving universally agreed food standards. In its latest confabulations in Canada recently, this agency was able to arrive at a consensus in creating 30 new standards.

"An international food safety body has set rules to cut levels of cancer-causing chemicals and bacteria in foodstuffs ranging from French fries to baby food, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization said on Monday. With food safety awareness growing around the world, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, a joint body of the FAO and the World Health Organization, adopted last week more than 30 new standards and guidelines to protect consumers' health, it said. The Commission has approved measures to reduce acrylamide in foods, a chemical which may cause cancer and is produced during frying, roasting and baking of carbohydrate-rich foods: French fries, potato crisps, coffee, biscuits, pastries and breads. "Applying Codex standards and guidelines are an important part of ensuring that consumers in every part of the world can be protected from unsafe food," Ezzeddine Boutrif, director of FAO's Nutrition and Consumer Protection Division, said in a statement".

Global trade amongst WTO affiliated member countries uses the Codex standards for settling many disputes without allowing such different views or interpretations to sour inter country relations. It is creditable that 181 member countries and the awesome European Union are able to arrive at unanimity on food safety standards for the benefit of their population. While setting up standards is a technical task carried out by experts, it is up to the policy makers and administrators in the member countries to create the necessary atmosphere and infrastructure to implement the safety protocols arrived at the Codex forum.


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