13 - 17 November 2006
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
The 15th session of the FAO/WHO Coordinating Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean reached the following conclusions:
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE CODEX ALIMENTARIUS COMMISSION AND THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE:
The Coordinating Committee:
Review of regional coordinating committees
Strategic Plan 2008-2013 of the Commission
Structure and mandates of Codex committees and task forces
Nomination of Coordinator
MATTERS REFERRED TO CODEX COMMITTEES AND TASK FORCES
Committee on General Principles
The Coordinating Committee:
OTHER MATTERS OF INTEREST
The Coordinating Committee:
Activities of FAO and WHO complementary to the work of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, including capacity building
Conclusions and recommendations of the FAO/WHO Regional Conference on Food Safety for the Americas and the Caribbean - Follow-up actions
Information on national food control systems and consumer participation in food standards setting
Information on use of Codex standards at national and regional level
Regional Strategic Plan
Objective 1 - Communication
- highlighted the results reached in improving communication by using both Spanish and English in the exchange of information within the Region, including the CCLAC webpage, and encouraged Members to review their data on Codex contact points and to notify any change to the Codex Secretariat and the CCLAC Coordinator (para. 68);
- agreed that Argentina continued to host and update the CCLAC webpage and took note of the various suggestions to improve the page in compliance with this Objective (para. 69);
- congratulated the Coordinator on having achieved the establishment and use of virtual chat rooms and emphasized the need to archive the chat sessions and to announce them well in advance the sessions (para. 70);
- established 3 levels of fora on the CCLAC webpage namely: level 1 - Codex contact points; level 2 - public administration (intergovernmental) and level 3 - free access (civil society) as described in Annex III of this report (para. 71).
Objective 2 - Effective participation of Members
- stressed the need for information exchange to help the understanding of Codex matters and the development of national positions (para. 73);
- agreed on the distribution of questionnaires to follow-up on the effective participation of Members of the Region in the work and meetings of the Commission and its subsidiary bodies that would be made available on the CCLAC webpage (paras. 73 and 75).
Objective 3 - Strengthening of capacities
- encouraged international organizations and donor countries to provide training on subjects prioritized by the Committee to attend its needs (para. 76);
- took note of a long-distance training course being developed with the assistance of the Codex Secretariat to improve participation of Members of the Region in the work of Codex (para. 77);
- reiterated the need for Members of the Region to receive cross-training from FAO/WHO/WTO and encouraged these organizations to develop joint crash courses aimed at Codex focal points who should be responsible for their organization and publishing (para. 78);
Objective 4 - Use of technical and scientific capacities
- recognized the increase in the demand for regional experts to address specific needs of Members of the Region and suggested that in the selection of experts for scientific advice the FAO/WHO criteria should be taken into account while continuing to discuss this matter among its Members (para. 80).
Objective 5 - Continuity of the Committee's tasks
- recognized the excellent work done by Argentina in the implementation of the Regional Strategic Plan and agreed that it should be linked with the Commission Strategic Plan 2008-2013 (paras. 81 - 82).
Objective 6 - Technical and financial cooperation
- encouraged Members of the Region to cooperate at bilateral or regional level to take advantage of the capacities available in the Region for the resolution of member countries needs and urged Members of the Region to consider using funds from regional organizations or other donors and financial sources that allowed for the development of programmes or joint developments (para. 83).
Objective 7 - Identification and prioritization of regional standard-related needs
- noted that this objective had fostered the discussion of matters of regional interest in addition to those already identified in a specific Agenda item as demonstrated in the various issues to be considered under other business and future work (para. 85).
Guidelines for Food Safety in Tourist Zones
Issues of significance to the Region including other business and future work
Compliance with Codex MRLs and the MRL-setting needs of the Region
- noted a number of conclusions related to compliance with Codex MRLs for pesticides by WTO/Codex member countries and recommendations concerning the setting of Codex MRLs for pesticides in products of interest to the Region (para. 97);
- expressed its concern on the situation of the establishment of Codex MRLs/pesticides vis-à-vis the work of JMPR/CCPR and its consequences for countries exports of the Region (para. 98);
- agreed to reconvene the Working Group on MRLs/Pesticides led by Brazil to continue to collect data on the combination “agrochemical/culture” of interest to the Region for which there are no Codex MRLs and to complete this information by 31 January 2007 in order to update the document presented at this session and make it available in time for the next session of CCPR (paras. 99 - 100).
Food additive Stevia rebaudiana
- expressed its disagreement on the rescheduling of the evaluation of steviol glycosides and unanimously supported the reinsertion of this compound in the list of substances scheduled for evaluation by the 2007 JECFA meeting (para. 106).
Risk Analysis Principles for application by Governments
Code of Ethics for International Trade in Foods
- reiterated its position that no further work was needed on the Code as the Principles contained therein were already addressed in the relevant WTO Agreements and Codex texts and thus supported Recommendation 2 of CCFICS regarding the use of relevant Codex texts and technical assistance to establish or strengthen national food export/import control systems in those Codex Members which such systems were not sufficient (para. 113).
FAO/WHO Trust Fund
- recognized the potential advantages of the Trust Fund although the current parameters of distribution of funds did not completely benefit the Region and made a number of recommendations to improve the efficacy of the Fund (paras. 74 and 114).
Overlapping of topics between Codex and ISO
- agreed that relations between Codex and ISO should be synergetic and cooperative whereas collaboration, coordination and communication should be enhanced further to find areas where Codex/ISO can complement each other in order to avoid any duplication of work (para. 117).
Other private standards
- expressed its concern on the use of private standards stricter than Codex standards for market access which could cause technical obstacles to trade and agreed that the role of private standards versus Codex standards was an important issue that should be discussed within Codex (para. 118).
- agreed to continue to discuss this issue, including proposals for new work to be undertaken by the Task Force and the development of regional positions, in a Working Group chaired by Brazil (para. 120).
Regional distribution of subsidiary bodies of the Commission
- noted that the current distribution of subsidiary bodies of the Commission did not allow for a balanced participation of all regions in the work of Codex and recommended governments and the Commission to takeinto account the concentration of Codex committees and task forces in certain regions (para. 121);
- draw the attention of Codex Members on the need for a representative geographic distribution of Codex subsidiary bodies so that, when they were available for hosting, priority should be given to countries volunteering from those regions where there were no or a few Codex committees/task forces allocated to ensure fair distribution and equal participation of Codex Members (para. 122);
- supported Argentina as host country for the Committee on Fats and Oils if the next session of the Commission decided to appoint a new host country for this Committee (para. 123).
Standard for Table Grapes
- supported the final adoption of the draft Standard for Table Grapes at the next session of the Commission (para. 127).
Consensus in Codex
- agreed on the importance of decisions taken by consensus and encouraged Members of the Region to consider this matter with a view to a regional position at the next session of CCGP (para. 128).
New sardine-type of Ecuador
- supported Ecuador for the inclusion of the Ecuadorian sardine “pinchagua” (Opisthonema spp) in the Standard for Canned Sardines and Sardine-Type Products and set up a Working Group led by Ecuador to assist this country in the process of inclusion (para. 131).
Standardization of “Quinua”
- supported work on standardization of “quinua” and set up a Working Group led by Bolivia to study the documentation available in Codex with a view to determining the appropriateness to elaborate a Standard for this products at its next session (para. 132).
Standardization of “Culantro Coyote”
- supported work on standardization of “culantro coyote” and set up a Working Group led by Costa Rica to review the documentation available in Codex with a view to determining the appropriateness to elaborate a Standard for this products at its next session (para. 133).
Standardization of “Tilapia” (Oreachromis niloticus y Oreachromis aureaus)
- supported work on standardization of “tilapia” and agreed that Costa Rica would prepare a document on this matter to determine the opportunity to develop a Standard for this product at its next session (para. 134).
Restriction on the use of clembuterol
- - stressed the need to avoid the misuse of this substance and to apply Codex MRLs and relevant texts for the use of veterinary drugs (para. 136).
- agreed to carry out a survey on the use of nutrition labelling in countries of the Region and to discuss this matter in order to establish goals for its eventual harmonization within the Region (para. 140).
Judgement of equivalence of sanitary measures associated with food inspection and certification systems
- Appendix: - agreed on a number of recommendations relating to the elaboration to the Appendix to these Guidelines (paras. 141 - 142).