The Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems (CCFICS) will be chaired by Australia for its 25th anniversary meeting.
The committee develops principles and guidelines for food import and export inspection and certification systems, Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment first assistant secretary for Exports and Veterinary Services Division Nicola Hinder said.
“This meeting is important for Australia, in particular our agricultural sector, to help shape the science-based international standards underpinning food import and export,” Hinder said.
“It’s about harmonising methods and procedures to protect the health of consumers, ensure fair trading practices and facilitate international food trade. Australia is actively involved in initiatives that promote the development of international standards for trade in food, animals, animal products, plant and plant material.
“During the plenary, Australia will put forward a proposal for new work developing guidance on alternative verification systems such as remote auditing. The committee will also consider paperless trade which aligns with the 2020-21 congestion busting budget measures, particularly around delivering a more competitive export industry through flexible assurance methods such as the better use of technology,” she said.
“Efficient and transparent inspection and certification systems ensure that our food safety systems continue to protect consumers and deliver fair trade in food. This is the only Codex committee chaired and hosted by Australia, and the first time it has been held as a virtual meeting.”
The current CCFICS chair is the Exports and Veterinary Services Division’s former first assistant secretary Fran Freeman.
Key items on the agenda include developing guidance on the paperless use of electronic certificates and equivalence across national food control systems. It also includes tackling food fraud and consolidated guidelines related to equivalence.
Freeman is hoping to progress work on each of the key items for discussion.
“Each of the items are at different stages, however we are looking to make progress on each topic on the agenda,” she said.
The third World Food Safety Day celebrated on 7 June 2021, falls within the CCFICS meeting week. Established by the World Health Organisation, World Food Safety Day draws attention to global food safety awareness, also an essential facet in the work undertaken by CCFICS.