Food Law News - FAO/WHO/WTO/Codex - 2004
6 – 10 December 2004
CODEX – Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification (13 th Session), Melbourne , Australia
The Thirteenth Session of the Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems reached the following conclusions:
Matters for Adoption by the 28th Session of the Commission
- Agreed to advance the proposed draft Principles for Electronic Certification to Steps 5/8, with the omission of Steps 6 and 7, for adoption by the 28th Session of the Commission and to recommend the Commission to attach the Principles as an Appendix to the Codex Guidelines for Generic Official Certificate Formats and the Production and Issuance of Certificates (CAC/GL 38-2001) (see para. 37 and Appendix II).
Matters for Approval of the 28th Session of the Commission
- Agreed on the need to develop Principles for the Application of Traceability/Product Tracing in the context of Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems and to forward a project document for new work on the development of these Principles, through the Executive Committee, to the 28th Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission for approval as new work. The Committee agreed that a Working Group would prepare proposed draft Principles for circulation for comments at Step 3 and consideration at its 14th Session (see paras 92, 94, 98 and Appendix IV);
- Agreed to forward a project document for new work on the revision of the Codex Guidelines for Generic Official Certificate Formats and the Production and Issuance of Certificates (CAC/GL 38-2001) through the Executive Committee, to the 28th Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission for approval as new work. It also agreed that a Working Group would prepare a proposed draft revised Guidelines that, pending the approval of the Commission, would be circulated for comments at Step 3 and considered at its 14th Session (see paras 108-109 and Appendix V);
- Agreed to recommend to the 28th Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission to footnote to paragraph 35 of the Codex Guidelines for Food Import Control Systems (CAC/GL 38-2001) the reference to the WTO Decision WT/MIN (01)/17 which inter-alia specified that ‘a reasonable interval' “ shall be understood to mean normally a period of not less than six months” (see para. 114).
Matters of Interest to the 28th Session of the Commission
- Agreed that work on the appendices to the Codex Guidelines on the Judgement of Equivalence of Sanitary Measures Associated with Food Inspection and Certification (CAC/GL 53/2003) should be carried out in a step-wise prioritized fashion. It agreed that a Working Group would prepare proposed draft Appendices on “Documentation for evaluation of submissions of requests for equivalence determinations”; “Determining an ‘objective basis of comparison'”; and, “More details on the process of judging equivalence” for consideration at its next session. The development of Appendices on “Assessing which measures are to be the subject of an equivalence determination” and “Terms for onsite visits by importing country authorities undertaking a determination of equivalence” would be carried upon completion of the first three appendices. As regards the Appendix on “Information relating to the need for technical assistance and cooperation between the importing countries to exporting countries”, the Committee agreed that the United States would prepare a discussion paper with a view to identifying which requirements could be developed by the Committee in this regard for consideration at its next Session (see paras 23-25);
- Agreed to return the renamed proposed draft “Principles and Guidelines for Risk-Based Inspection of Imported Foods” to Step 3 for circulation and comments. It further agreed that a Working Group led by the United States would revise the proposed draft Principles and Guidelines on the basis of the written comments requested at Step 3 and the discussion at the present session, for circulation, comments at Step 3 and further discussion at its 14th Session (see para. 80 and Appendix III);
- Agreed that a Working Group would revise the discussion paper on the revision for the Codex Guidelines for the Exchange of Information between Countries on Rejection of Imported Foods(CAC/GL 25-1997) to clearly justify a need for revision of the guidelines so that the Committee at its 14th Session could decide on whether to initiate this new work (see para.102);
Matters of Interest to other Committees
Codex Committee on General Principles
- Supported the Definitions of Risk Analysis Terms related to Food Safety that were adopted by the 27 th Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission on an interim basis. In this regard, it was noted that these definitions were helpful to the work of the Committee, especially the work related to equivalence and that the development of a definition for “process criteria” might be added in the future to assist with the practical implementation of food control systems (see para. 7).
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