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Communicating food safety regulations and risk management: Involvement and pariticipation of consumers and other stakeholders - THE UK EXPERIENCE

Conference Room Document submitted by the United Kingdom








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    Meeting
    The need to build the capacity of consumer organisations for improved participation in Codex 2001
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    The role consumer organisations can have in strengthening the capacity and effectiveness of food safety and control systems in developing countries cannot be underestimated. From the standards setting process to the monitoring of foods in the marketplace, consumer organisations provide a critical yet neutral voice in supporting government efforts to improve the safety consumers face in the market place. Their involvement furthers consumer confidence in government systems and processes. Howe ver for them to play their full role, more work is needed to build the capacity of these organisations and also ensure their voice is heard within policy making processes. Consumers International has been successful in strengthening consumer organisations' ability to contribute to food safety issues. However these efforts need to be supported directly by Codex Alimentarius. Consumers International acknowledges the trust proposed by both FAO/WHO and are hopeful that some of the proceeds from this fund will be used to address the issues on capacity building of consumer organisations raised by this paper.
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    Report of the FAO Expert Consultation on the Trade Impact of Listeria in Fish Products. Amherst, MA, USA, 17-20 May 1999. 1999
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    The globalization and growth of international trade in fish and fishery products in recent years has made these products one of the most important items traded in terms of value. Concerns regarding the safety of these products has prompted the emergence of a number of new regulations such as a zero-tolerance policy for Listeria monocytogenes in fishery products or the use of a risk based approach to establish maximum limits for Listeria in these products. The paper describes the findings of the FAO Expert Consultation on the Trade Impact of Listeria in Fish Products, held in the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA from 17 to 20 May 1999. It documents the current scientific knowledge regarding the risks of listeriosis in relation to fishery products, discusses current regulations and their impact on trade and provides guidelines for the prevention and control of Listeria in these products.
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    Meeting
    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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