“Healthy nutrition for a healthy future”. This is the theme chosen by the international community to commemorate International Food Safety Day on Monday June 7th. To keep up to date with the news of the day, the Department of Food and Applied Nutrition (DANA) organized an awareness event on the Food Code, better known as the “codex alimentarius”, for journalists. It was in the hotel “La Princesse” in Bohicon.
“600 million people fall ill every year after consuming contaminated food and 420,000 die from it.” These alarming figures show the gravity of the situation regarding the safety of our food. And sub-Saharan Africa happens to be the vulnerable area with food contaminated with infectious and chemical substances like microbes, pesticides, and others. This is due to non-compliance with the rules of hygiene necessary for the preparation, care and consumption of food. And yet, since 1963, food safety has been regulated by the Codex Alimentarius, which means food code in French. Little known to the public, the Codex alimentarius was on Thursday, 3.
The Codex Alimentarius: for better consumer health
Several lectures were given by Mr. Alexis Dagbégnon Tossougbo, Head of Quality Service at Dana, on the Codex Alimentarius or “Food Code”. In addition to the Codex and its website, he also spoke about the process of developing Codex standards. According to Tossougbo, the Codex Alimentarius is “a collection of food standards, codes of conduct and guidelines for processed, semi-processed or raw food intended for consumers”. It summarizes hygiene regulations, additives, pesticide residues and veterinary drugs, pollutants, labeling, analysis methods and samples, inspections and certifications.
The Codex system was created to protect the health of consumers, to ensure fair trade practices and to harmonize food standards worldwide. The Codex Alimentarius is of particular importance for the international food trade. Codex standards have become the benchmark for national regulations within the framework of the legal framework of the Uruguay Round agreements on international trade. There are currently 224 products standardized by Codex. The importance of the Codex Alimentarius in protecting consumer health was underscored in 1985 by United Nations resolution 39/85, whose guidelines called on governments to “consider the need to ensure food safety for all consumers and adopt the Codex . derived standards when formulating their national food policies and plans ”. In November 1961, the 11th FAO Conference passed a resolution establishing the Codex Alimentarius Commission. The statutes of this commission were to be adopted by the 16th World Health Assembly in May 1963. This commission is an intergovernmental body open to all member countries or associated members of the FAO and WHO. It currently includes 189 member countries, which represent over 98% of the world’s population. It meets every two years alternately in Rome at the FAO headquarters and in Geneva at the WHO headquarters. In addition to high-ranking officials from the member countries, the national delegations can also include representatives from the agricultural industry, consumer organizations and academic institutes. Several NGOs take part in the meetings as observers. It consists of several committees
The National Committee, an operational arm at the country level
In Benin, the contact point has been a member of the Codex Commission since 1974. He acts as a link between the Codex Secretariat and Benin. But it was not until June 1985 that the National Codex Alimentarius Commission was established by Decree No. 84-245 on the organization, powers and functioning of the National Codex Alimentarius Commission. The latter was updated by Decree No. 2010-638 of December 31, 2010 to become a national Codex Alimentarius committee. He is responsible for providing the government with all useful opinions on the definition, adoption and explanation of the international standards established by the Fao / Oms Joint Commission on the national territory, of which he is the correspondent at Benin level. It also gives its opinions and recommendations on the guidelines, codes of conduct, codes of conduct and other instruments to promote consumer safety that have been drawn up by the Joint Commission or by national organizations in the context of implementation.