Report from the Codex Commission meeting in Rome – 2-6th July 2018
The Final Report of this meeting is has now been published CLICK HERE
The 41st meeting of the WHO/FAO Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) – the UN body that sets standards for the global trade of foods and commodities – met in Rome from 2-6th July. The mandate of Codex is ostensibly to protect consumer health and facilitate fair trade practices, however, these aims are continually threatened by the commercial and political interests of producer countries, and the Conflict of Interest rules that do not safeguard these aims effectively.
The Rome meeting kicked off with a speech from Ted McKinney, US -Under Secretary of State for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs (see weblink – archives, Session 1: 23 minutes in). After stressing how much he loved Codex and the importance of ‘science’ and sticking to the ‘rules’, McKinney said that Codex was at a crossroads, and that it needs to keep itself relevant for its ‘customers’ (the corporations). He feared they would ignore Codex if the standards were affected by political, national/regional concerns, concerns that – although important – are not in the purview of Codex. The speech is amazing and is worth deconstructing. Are the problems that women face when bottlefeeding in poor resourced areas a ‘regional’ concern I wonder? And what ‘science’ would McKinney approve of and how does he interpret rules?
Like all observers (the vast majority are industry front groups) we are asked to speak only after Member States – so in this meeting its difficult to affect the course of the debate. Nevertheless IBFAN made several important interventions, which, when it came to the report writing on the last day, the US tried (unsuccessfully) to have deleted or weakened. Here is a summary of the interventions we made:
Friday 6th July CAC41 – Adoption of the report This was a long session where several times the US tried and failed to remove the references to my interventions. Move to 5 hours 38 minutes to watch the US trying to remove references to foods high in salt, sugar and fat WHO’s statement.
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