US Public Meeting on Codex Agenda Items

The Office of the Under Secretary for Food Safety, U.S. Department of Agriculture is sponsoring a public meeting June 8 to provide information and receive public comments on agenda items and draft U.S. positions that will be discussed at the 32nd Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, to be held in Rome, Italy, June 29-July 4, 2009.

Slow International Progress Toward Harmonized Audits

EAS e News (June 2009) reports on the recent Food Safety Summit technical sessions on third-party audits and the slow process of harmonizing international audits. Because there is an overlap between the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and the Codex Alimentarius Commission's general principles of food hygiene, GFSI's proponents hope to use the overlap to gain easier international acceptance of GFSI's criteria.

“According to Mark Overland, corporate certification manager for Cargill, who moderated the sessions, general acceptance of the GFSI in the United States would require three key elements: a public audit standard instead of the numerous proprietary standards that exist; accreditation of audit bodies to the international standard; and auditors that are qualified to the international standard. . . . Codex Chair Karen Hulebak expressed concern about any moves to expand the international use of proprietary standards for third-party auditing. . . .”

The whole article is available here.