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The need to build the capacity of consumer organisations for improved participation in Codex








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    Integrated approaches to the management of food safety throughout the food chain 2002
    Most countries with systems for recording foodborne disease have reported significant increases in the incidence of diseases caused by pathogenic micro-organisms in food over the past few decades. As many as one person in three in industrialized countries may be affected by foodborne illness each year and the situation in most other countries is probably even worse. Apart from the deaths and human suffering caused by foodborne disease, the economic consequences are enormous, running into billion s of dollars in some countries. In Europe bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, "Mad cow disease") and contamination of food with dioxins led consumers to lose confidence in the safety of foods on the market, with severe economic consequences. In many cases, the origins of food safety problems can be traced back to contamination of animal feed or other factors in the early parts of the food chain, an area which until fairly recently had received scant attention from those responsible for food s afety.
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    The Current Status of Consumer pariticipation in Food Safety Risk Analysis, and Opportunities for Improvements 2001
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    Consumers International has participated in Codex work as an observer for three decades, and notes the importance of ongoing efforts by the Codex Commission to improve the participation of consumers in its activities. Sound goals have been established, but the details of implementation have yet to be worked out. Data need to be collected at regular intervals on objective measures to track progress in consumer participation at the national and international level. Some governments are more advanc ed than others in terms of the extent and mechanisms through which they facilitate consumer participation in their food safety risk analysis. Through forums such as this one and Codex Regional Coordinating Committees, successful experiences can be shared and perhaps, more widely adopted. In order to improve the quality of consumer participation, consumer NGOs should be given opportunities to take part in risk analysis training and similar workshops carried out by international agencies and natio nal governments. The risk assessment process, which has traditionally been closed to observers, should also be more open and transparent; bringing invited consumer participants into that process could both improve the results and add to the credibility of risk assessments.
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    The WHO International Health Regulations and the promotion of Food Safety in International Trade 2001
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    This paper discusses: New food safety challenges posed by the growth of the international food trade, Public health implications of the World Trade Organizations's (WTO) Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS), and The role of the World Health Organization's (WHO) International Health Regulation's (IHR) in promoting food safety. The paper reviews various shortcomings of the current leading international agreement in the area of food safety and trade - the WTO SPS agreeme nt - and states that the globalization of the food industry necessitates not only reform of an international trade agreement that protects business interests, but also an international food safety agreement to protect consumer interests. This paper concludes that this need could be served by supporting the revision of the WHO IHRs as they apply to food in international trade. The paper recommends that developed countries should provide the WHO with extra-budgetary resources to promptly complete this effort. Such steps will help restore public confidence in the safety of the food supply and promote further steps towards trade liberalization in the food sector. Such steps will thus benefit producers as well as consumers.

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