EAC submits joint regional positions on Codex Alimentarius Standards
The EAC established a Codex Forum as a subcommittee of the East African Standards Committee (EASC) in 2013, and most of the EAC harmonised standards of food are based on Codex standards. However, due to financial constraints, the forum never convened ahead of Codex Committee meetings to generate regional positions. The first meeting of the EAC Codex Forum to come up with joint East African positions ahead of Codex meetings was convened in Arusha from 2nd – 4th October 2019, supported and facilitated by EU-EACMARKUP. MARKUP supported the organisation of the Codex Forum to achieve its objective to improve standards and SPS measures harmonisation in the sectors of coffee, tea, cocoa, spices, oil seeds, spices and horticulture.
The EAC Partner States agreed on common positions to be submitted to the 21st session of the Codex Committee on Fresh Fruits and Vegetables (CCFFV; Mexico 7 – 11 October 2019) and the 51st session of the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene (FH; 4- 11 November 2019 in the USA).
Speaking at the opening of the meeting, Alhaj Rashid I. Kibowa, Director of Trade of the EAC Secretariat underscored the importance of international (Codex) standards in facilitation of international trade in food and emphasized the need to ensure raised awareness on Codex standards. He also emphasised the importance of private sector engagement in the development and harmonisation of East African Standards. He urged the EAC Partner States to utilise the opportunity presented by MARKUP to generate common positions that will make them speak with one voice at Codex meetings.
Codex Standards are used as the basis for assessment of the quality and safety of foods traded in international markets. The settlement of disputes on the quality or safety of food traded between member states of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) of the United Nations is also based on Codex standards.
As a result of the meeting, the EAC Secretariat is now able to submit regional positions to the secretariats of CCFFV and FH for consideration at the forthcoming meetings.
For more information on the Codex Alimentarius see: http://www.fao.org/fao-who-codexalimentarius/en/