Codex Press Releases and comments over the years

What is Codex and why does IBFAN attend?

Codex is a joint United Nations body created in 1963 by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the FAO to develop food standards, guidelines and codes of practice under the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme.  IBFAN has been attending Codex meetings since 1995 when the World Trade Organisation (WTO) was established and was mandated  to refer to Codex Standards in trade disputes. Overall, Codex has had a damaging influence on the protection of breastfeeding and child health. The lack of transparency and poor conflict of interest safeguards,  coupled with the dominance of food corporations and powerful exporting nations, has led to Codex adopting weak standards for many harmful foods and commodities. These standards have been regularly used in attempts to stop governments bringing in strong marketing controls. with interventions made at the WTO concerning commercial milk formula marketing, labelling or safety testing regulations of another member state, wrongly treating Codex standards as a ‘regulatory ceiling’ for trade purposes.  In fact,  governments have the sovereign right to adopt any legislation they consider necessary to protect child health as long as it does not violate international trade principles,

Largely because of IBFAN’s consistent advocacy at Codex, the standards on foods for infants and young children adopted after 1995,  all refer in some way to the International Code, the Global Strategy and/or the subsequent WHA Resolutions on infant and young child feeding  and the Codex Code of Ethics for International Trade continues to require Member States to “…make sure that the international code of marketing of breast milk substitutes and relevant resolutions of the World Health Assembly (WHA) setting forth principles for the protection and promotion of breastfeeding be observed.”

Here are the key Codex standards:  

STANDARD FOR FOLLOW-UP FORMULA FOR OLDER INFANTS AND PRODUCT FOR YOUNG CHILDREN* CXS 156-1987

 

2024:  Codex is now Requesting comments on circular letter “2024/52-NFSDU: 

Request for proposals for new work and emerging issues” under consideration of the 44th session of the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU).  New work cl24_52e.

 

Below are some leads to Press Releases and comments we have made over the years.

 

Industry funding channelled through health professional bodies, such as ESPGHAN, weaken Codex standards

IBFAN briefing May 2024.  Espghan 5

Codex green-lights wasteful, sweetened Ultra-Processed drinks for older babies

Codex Strategic Plan for 2026-2031

 Letter from the Codex Chair and Vice Chairs about the – asks fundamental questions:

  • How should the multilateral system for trade and standards respond to the challenge from the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit to “transform the way the world produces, consumes and thinks about food”?
  • What role might Codex play, as the multilateral standard setting body for food safety and fair practices in trade?
  • If you were to create afresh the multilateral system for standards to protect human, animal and plant health, what would be the key organising principles?
  • If Codex were to commit to delivering one thing in the period to 2031, what should that one thing be?
  • Much has changed in 60 years since Codex was established, so we wonder, is it time we rethink Codex?

IBFAN Comments on Codex Strategic Plan

Codex: will ‘sustainability’ claims boost trade of harmful products?

After 10 years of struggle, Codex puts child health before trade at last

Codex decides on ultra-processed baby drinks

Feb 2023 Thailand and Bangladesh urge WHO to take the lead in trade – WHO 152nd Executive Board

Nov 2022 CAC45: RUTF Guidelines adopted but still no Zilpaterol conclusion

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, gave a bleak and honest message to CAC44, welcoming the fact that everyone could meet face-to-face again:

“But you meet at at time of unprecedented challenges. Conflicts and climate change are exacerbating food insecurity and malnutrition. Most people around the world who have access to food can not afford healthy diets. Deforestation and habitat loss are increasing the risk of zoonotic pathogens. Anti Microbial Resistance, environmental contamination and degradation, occupational hazards, unsafe and adulterated foods – the list goes on. A transformation of the world’s food systems is needed urgently, based on a One Health approach that protects and promotes the health of humans, animals and the planet. The Codex Alimentarius has a critical role to play in guiding country regulations that promote health, while facilitating fair trade.  WHO remains committed to working with FAO to develop and deliver high quality scientific advice and evidence-based global food food safety guidelines and standards.”

Weak global trading standards and the climate crisis – why Codex must step up

https://www.babymilkaction.org/archives/35279

Ensuring Strong safeguards on Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods.  https://www.babymilkaction.org/archives/34951

Codex standards must have strong safeguards August 2022

Should Business NGOs sit on country delegations?  Question to the Codex Secretariat during the  CAC briefing 29th July 2022.  HERE

Global trading standards must follow WHO in  restricting harmful marketing 75th World Health Assembly, Geneva, 22-28th May, 2022

2021 Baby food industry lobbies to weaken Codex standards on sweetness and flavouring

2021 Danone and Croplife in evidence at Codex 2021

Greenwashing and the risks of Sustainability Labelling IBFAN Sustanability CCFL 22

CODEX: Exporting countries put trade before the health of the planet and children

Codex Commission (CAC44) meeting unable to reach Consensus on growth hormone

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, gave a bleak and honest message to CAC44, welcoming the fact that everyone could meet face-to-face again:

“But you meet at at time of unprecedented challenges. Conflicts and climate change are exacerbating food insecurity and malnutrition. Most people around the world who have access to food can not afford healthy diets. Deforestation and habitat loss are increasing the risk of zoonotic pathogens. Anti Microbial Resistance, environmental contamination and degradation, occupational hazards, unsafe and adulterated foods – the list goes on. A transformation of the world’s food systems is needed urgently, based on a One Health approach that protects and promotes the health of humans, animals and the planet. The Codex Alimentarius has a critical role to play in guiding country regulations that promote health, while facilitating fair trade.  WHO remains committed to working with FAO to develop and deliver high quality scientific advice and evidence-based global food food safety guidelines and standards.”

IBFAN at the Codex Labelling: Bio-fortification, Cross Branding, front of pack labelling

 

July 2018.  Conflicts of Interest and US pressure at the Codex meeting in Rome

41st CODEX ALIMENTARIUS COMMISSION  Rome 2-6 July 2018

 

____________________________________________________

2016 Global standardsetting committee puts child health before trade 38th Codex Alimentarius Nutrition Committee, Hamburg, Germany. 7th December 2016 Codex PR 2016

2014 Trade vs health – global meeting fails to safeguard infant and young child health Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses Bali, Indonesia 24-28th November 2014 Codex-Bali-PR-2014.

2011 The Business of malnutrition: breaking down trade rules to profit from the poor
Codex Nutrition Meeting, Bad Soden, Frankfurt, Germany 12 -18th November 2011 Codex PR 2011

2006. EU and US block Thailand’s proposal to reduce sugar in baby foods FAO/WHO Codex Nutrition Committee (CCFSNDU) Chiang Mai, Thailand, 3rd November 2006.  Codex PR 2006

 

Miscellanous Codex Reports, presentations and papers:

What you don’t know about the Codex can hurt you: how trade policy trumps global health governance in infant and young child nutrition. Russ K, Baker P, Byrd M, et al.Int. Journ. Health Policy and Management 2021; 10(12): 983-97.Baker et al. Globalization and Health (2021) 17:58. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12992-021-00708-1

Policy Brief by Katheryn N. Russ, Professor and Chair, Economics Department, University of California, Davis: INTERVENTIONS AT WTO AND CODEX RELATED TO NATIONAL IMPLEMENTATION OF THE WHO INTERNATIONAL CODE OF MARKETING OF BREASTMILK SUBSTITUTES https://katherynruss.weebly.com/uploads/4/5/1/7/45179109/codex-wto-who_and_the_code.pdf

Here are some excerpts:

…The brief also describes parallel lobbying of the US government, the leader in some of these interventions, where the positions weigh the relative importance of the Codex Alimentarius versus World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations as international standards in World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee processes. 

1. In response to questioning by New Zealand and the United States, Thailand notified the WTO in 2015 of its intention to adopt legal provisions for “Controlling the Marketing Promotion on Food for Infant and Young Children” in alignment with the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes.

2. The United States and other countries interjected repeatedly at meetings of the World Trade Organization TBT Committee in 2016-2017 that Thailand’s proposed legislation deviated from Codex standards and that the WHO Code is not recognized as an international standard. 

IBFAN-Codex-RUTF 31.10.17-

Phil Baker’s Codex Paper 2021

IBFAN Codex Report CCNFSDU Nov 2013

Codex setting standards for whom-Nov16.2022.ES  Presentation by Elisabeth Sterken.

Codex Briefing 2008

 

https://twitter.com/FAOWHOCodex/status/1644551138065412096?cn=ZmxleGlibGVfcmVjcw%3D%3D&refsrc=email

 

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