Colombia hosted dialogue of LAC countries on Codex Alimentarius
Bogota (IICA).Representatives of 16 Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries met in Colombia to adopt positions on the international food standards of the Codex Alimentarius related to three subjects: residues of veterinary drugs in food, general principles, and contaminants.
The meeting was held with support from the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).
The 64 participants, drawn from countries including Ecuador, Paraguay, Argentina, Costa Rica, the United States, Peru and Colombia, sought to reach a consensus and work together for the benefit of the agrifood subsector throughout the region.
According to the manager of the Codex Alimentarius program of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Mary Frances Lowe, “the best option for the region is to make decisions based on science”. She underscored the importance of harmonizing standards with other LAC countries to open up more markets.
The Vice Minister of Business Development of Colombia’s Ministry of Industry and Trade, Felipe Sardi, advocated joint work and a global vision. In his view, it is essential that the international community comply with the requirements, so that trade in goods and services is unfettered.
The IICA Representative in Colombia, Luis Condines, observed that it was possible to achieve improvements in the conditions of producers thanks to the technical expertise and experience of the participants.
“With equitable trade in food, the protection of consumer health, and the use of science-based standards to safeguard the development of rural communities, we are creating the possibility of a life of dignity throughout the value chain of the rural sector,” Condines explained.
The manager of IICA’s Agricultural Health and Food Safety Program, Robert Ahern, remarked that such opportunities for dialogue had a decisive role to play in helping the member countries keep abreast of Codex policies and standards.
“As an organization that facilitates access to science-based knowledge on Codex-related issues, IICA is especially equipped to bring people together and exercise leadership in the discussion of technical matters, which constitutes value added for the countries,” he noted.
The Codex Alimentarius Commission was established in 1963 by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), and given the mandate of guaranteeing consumers safe, quality food.