The Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), an international organization established jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1963 to safeguard consumer health and promote equitable practices in the global food trade, celebrated its 60th anniversary this year. To mark this significant milestone, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), operating under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in collaboration with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), organized a seminar entitled “India Celebrates 60 Years of Codex” on October 27, 2023, in New Delhi.
The event was attended by the Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Chairperson of FSSAI; CEO of FSSAI; and Vice Chairperson of CAC amongst others. In their opening remarks, these guests underscored the pivotal role of Codex in strengthening global food safety policies and facilitating trade by harmonizing international food standards.
The Secretary of MoHFW and Chairperson of FSSAI, commended Codex for its outstanding contributions over the past six decades. He emphasized the need for a science-based framework and active participation from developing nations, stating that “Collaboration and ongoing participation in Codex activities are essential to ensure food safety remains at the forefront.” The Secretary also announced that a new Food Safety Bill, amending the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, is almost ready and will soon be tabled in the upcoming Parliament session.
During his keynote address, the CEO of FSSAI, addressed the evolving food habits and emerging challenges associated with cutting-edge food innovations. He stressed the importance of establishing real standards to ensure the delivery of safe food to the public and highlighted the crucial role of CAC in this regard.
In alignment with the commitment to global food safety, the Vice Chairperson of CAC, highlighted Codex’s remarkable growth from a small group of developed countries to a robust organization with 188 member countries and one-member organization. He emphasized the integration of food safety into every organization and government, emphasizing its paramount significance.
He also commended FSSAI’s democratic process in shaping food safety norms and the pivotal role of multi-stakeholder participation, including industry and civil society, in crafting food safety regulations. He addressed emerging concerns such as the entry of microplastics into the human bloodstream and emphasized the urgency of innovating alternative technologies for food packaging.
The inaugural session paved the way for two panel discussions on the future of Codex and the imperative to enhance capacity for greater Codex participation in the coming decade. India’s engagement in Codex activities was recognized, with achievements such as hosting the Codex committee on spices and culinary herbs, co-hosting various sessions on food hygiene and contaminants, and chairing and co-chairing working groups within the Codex system.