Thursday marked the conclusion of a two day sensitization workshop on food quality at the George Price Centre in Belmopan as part of the Codex National effort.
The Codex Alimentarius Commission is the body responsible for adopting standards and guidelines for protecting consumer health and ensuring fair trade practices for international food trade.
The workshop was hosted by the Belize Bureau of Standards and the Belize Agriculture Health Authority (BAHA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation and Agriculture (IICA) and the Ministerio de Economia, Industria Y Comercio (MIEC) of Costa Rica. Giannina Lavagni is the representative of CODEX and the MIEC representative for Costa Rica.
“Here we have a National Workshop in Belize to make a sensitization and enhancement of Codex Alimentarius in Belize. [On] the agenda we have the importance and benefits that the Codex Standard gives for [other] countries.
Also we can have technical assistance in the developing of food standards for each country, and collaborate with the elaboration of the standards in the world.
Emanuel Pech – Plus News
“Now are the standards specifically for importation or exportation?”
“Both of them.
Also we have food labeling, [and] food hygiene.
It’s a joint collaborative work within the Codex, that includes the private sector, stakeholders, consumers, academia, and also the public sector.”
“The purpose of this entire sensitization process is to educate people on the importance of Codex, to try to see how we could foster collaboration with both private/public sector, academia, and consumers on working together to ensure that we have safer food for consumption in Belize.
In addition. we’d like to see some kind of legislative framework supporting all of this work, and the establishment of certain committees, that could carry on this work at the National Level.”
“Now tell me, what is the general atmosphere of the discussions today?’
” The discussion have been, I must say, very interesting. The main feedback coming out is that exporters are using these standards, given that their trading partners require it. Their buyers are saying, ‘Unless you comply, and unless you have mechanisms in place to ensure that these products are really safe for consumption, we won’t buy from you.’
So they’re saying they’re pretty well much sensitized to the importance of Codex, because they’re using it.
The concerns they have is that at the National Level, it’s very clear that much more work needs to be done, to ensure that we are really producing and having safe food for consumption.”
In 2009 Belize established a National Codex committee. To enhance the effectiveness of the committee there is an urgent need to establish sub-committees , which will comprise of both public and private sector representatives who took part in this two day workshop.
In 1992 Belize became a member of CODEX and has since participated in various committee meetings of the Commission.