Food safety critical to development and ending poverty: FAO deputy chief

FAO/Olivier Asselin
Smallholders and small family farms produce up to 80% of the food in many developing countries.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

Ensuring that people everywhere can trust the safety and quality of the food they eat is the focus of a UN meeting taking place this week in Rome.

The international food standards body known as the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) is expected to adopt a text on the maximum level of  mercury in fish, among other matters, during its annual session, which opened on Monday.

“One of the greatest challenges the world faces is how to ensure that a growing global population has enough safe food,” Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), told the gathering.

“Food safety is a critical enabler for market access, which promotes economic development and alleviates poverty.”

The Codex Alimentarius Commission was established more than 50 years ago by FAO and the World Health Organization (WHO).

It coordinates input from nearly 190 countries and the European Union, and addresses themes such as contaminants, pesticides, health claims and nutrition labelling.

The Commission meets every year for one week to adopt the standards, guidelines, codes of practice and other recommendations that make up the Codex Alimentarius—Latin for “food code” —aimed at protecting consumer health and ensuring fair practices in the food trade.

Tom Heilandt, CAC secretary, told UN News that mercury in fish and other seafood can be harmful or even deadly to people of all ages.

“We are particularly concerned about the contamination of fish because of contamination of the seas with this heavy metal. It is partially because of natural contamination, meaning that the mercury was in the environment already and then dissolved in the oceans, and partly also because of emissions from industry,” he explained.

“It can also enter into the body, even through the hair, and it is also possible to enter the foetus in a pregnant woman.  And that can be really bad for the baby.”

Representatives from nearly 120 countries and 70 organizations are attending this year’s CAC meeting, which concludes on Friday.

Guilherme da Costa, the chairperson, called on delegates to build consensus in setting standards.

“It is essential we do our best to further develop and disseminate Codex standards in order to ensure food safety and quality for everyone everywhere,” he said.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

What the Amazon rain forest tells us about globalization

CEOs in these countries are more likely to go with their gut

Nuclear weapons in Lithuania: defence against Russia or target for terrorists?

Corruption thwarts attempts to build a better world and ‘must be fought by all, for all’

3 strategies for Africa to thrive in this new era of globalization

UN urges ‘maximum restraint’ as Israel-Hamas tensions rise over rocket attack

Countries should focus on labour market policies to help refugees and improve coordinated actions to tackle illegal immigration

Stability in Europe has no chances because of Ukraine

Human rights experts call for ‘paradigm shift’ on arbitrary detention in Qatar

Young people are not a nameless, faceless mass. So why do we treat them as such?

Can Pakistan make its energy sector greener, cheaper and more reliable? The government thinks so

Maduro ‘brings the truth’ about Venezuela to UN Assembly; says he is ready to meet US President Trump

Bold measures needed to protect cross-border and seasonal workers in EU, MEPs say

Security Council calls for dialogue in Haiti

Coronavirus could worsen hunger in the developing world

Two rhythms and a sharpened pencil: how art can help us heal and make sense of the world

State aid: Commission invites comments on State aid rules for the deployment of broadband networks

Approving most of EU’s accounts, EP requests new measures to protect EU spending

From Shadows to Sunlight, Paraguay’s Road to Transparency

UN health agency spotlights stalled effort to close health divide across Europe, in new report

Brexit: political groups discuss options for an orderly withdrawal

High-tech or ‘high-touch’: UK survey gives clues to the jobs of the future

The Brexit factor in the US-China trade war and other conflicts

Your smartphone may know more about your mental health than you

Mass measles vaccination campaign begins in Ebola-hit DR Congo province

For how long and at what cost can the ECB continue printing trillions to keep euro area going?

The European reaction to the neo-fascist wind

The issue of mental health for modern young doctors

How energy infrastructure is shaping geopolitics in East Asia

EU cross-border payments outside Eurozone: MEPs scrap excessive fees

Russia won’t let Ukraine drift westwards in one piece

Use “blockchain” model to cut small firms’ costs and empower citizens, urge MEPs

Confronting neo-mercantilism: why regulation is critical to global trade

A Europe that protects: EU customs seized over 31 million fake goods at EU borders in 2017

This tech company is aiming to plant 500 billion trees by 2060 – using drones

These are the regions where people have most faith in their schools

6 steps every country must take now to prevent coronavirus deaths: WHO Director-General

Telemedicine in Brazilian favelas: The medicine of social isolation transforming public health

The next 48 hours may change the European Union

Plastic Oceans: MEPs back EU ban on throwaway plastics by 2021

The EU accuses Russia of bullying Ukraine to change sides

“Is Europe innovative? Oh, Yes we are very innovative!”, Director General of the European Commission Mr Robert-Jan Smits on another Sting Exclusive

The US will impose tariffs on Mexico, says President Trump

The Eurogroup+ is born to govern the EU Banking Union

EU fight against tax-evasion and money laundering blocked by Britain

There is no greater sorrow on earth than the loss of one’s native land

This is how COVID-19 is affecting informal workers

25 years on from genocide against the Tutsi, UN Chief warns of ‘dangerous trends of rising xenophobia, racism and intolerance’

How technology can help India breathe more easily

Why it’s good to turn your colleagues into friends

Thailand gave healthcare to its entire population and the results were dramatic

How much more political is the new EU leadership? Does this include personal bend?

How can coronavirus lockdowns end safely and effectively? – WHO briefing

EU prolongs economic sanctions on Russia by six months

With potential to boost profits by up to 20 per cent, a woman’s place is at work, says UN labour agency

Is it impossible to place the banks under control?

ITU Telecom World 2016: it’s all about working together

Commission steps up EU action to protect and restore the world’s forests

Banks promise easing of credit conditions in support of the real economy

What can smallpox teach us about how we’ve managed COVID-19?

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s