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Regional Coordination in Strengthening Countries' Participation and Implementation of International Food Safety Standards








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    Perspectives and guidelines on food legislation, with a new model food law 2005
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    The increasing globalization of food trade and the harmonization of food standards and food safety measures have led to significant changes in the international and national regulatory frameworks for food. The World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement) named the Codex Alimentarius as the source of international standards on food safety, which has had a profound impact on the status of Codex standards, guidelines and recommen dations in international food trade, particularly among members of the WTO. In addition, there is an increasing recognition of the need to integrate and improve coordination of regulatory activities among national and international bodies to better protect human, animal and plant life and health, as well as the environment, without creating unnecessary barriers to trade. On the other hand, food policies are expanding to take account not only of food safety and food security but also nutrition an d the human right to food.
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    Policy brief
    Improving food safety to foster trade 2023
    Food safety measures are essential to protect the health of consumers and to promote confidence in international markets. It is therefore crucial to ensure that food safety measures and controls are in place to protect public health while avoiding unnecessary costs and barriers to trade. To ensure that food reaches consumers safely while trade is facilitated, members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have adopted the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement) and the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement). In particular, the SPS Agreement strongly encourages WTO members to use international standards, guidelines and recommendations, and identifies the joint FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission as the relevant international standard-setting body for food safety. With this in mind, this policy brief discusses the links between trade and food safety, explores ideas for improving food safety while promoting trade, suggests ways forward, and highlights the critical role that FAO can play. More specifically, the brief suggests that in order to facilitate trade and ensure safe food for all at all times, countries need to take further steps to further improve food safety at the national, regional and international levels, and to ensure the proper application and harmonization of food standards. In this regard, investment in food safety is essential, and capacity-building support from FAO and other international organisations is key.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    Trade and Food Standards 2017

    This publication explains how international food safety standards are set through the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and World Health Organization (FAO/WHO) Food Standards Programme – the Codex Alimentarius Commission – and how these standards are applied in the context of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreements on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement) and on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement).Through the FAO/WHO C odex Alimentarius, members establish science-based, internationally agreed food standards.

    The publication describes the two organizations, how they operate together, and how countries can and should engage to keep international food standards up to date and relevant, and to resolve trade issues. The publication also highlights the need to invest in domestic capacities to be prepared now and in the future to keep food safe and to ensure that trade flows smoothly. The publication also illustrates some of the drivers of change in the area of food regulation, underlining the need for governments to be constantly attentive and ready to pick up on challenges and new opportunities, be they related to human health, consumer preferences or evolutions in technology. Members will need strong institutions and national capacity to respond to these challenges, both domestically and in the dynamic international system of food standards and trade rules that they have created. They will need to be flexible and forward looking, to enjoy the benefits and manage the risks the future holds, mindful that food is a commodity like no other.

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