While inaugurating the 20th session of the WHO/FAO Coordinating Committee of Asia (CCASIA) Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare stated that “India is committed to adhering to international food safety standards.” He also appealed to CCASIA to focus on standardization of foods/cuisines of Asian origin and popularize them internationally and facilitate their global trade.
The Health Minister also reiterated that Codex has developed important standards and guidelines for different categories of food and through harmonisation we could also bring about appropriate level of protection of human health and fair practices in international trade. He said that India had therefore, already begun the process of harmonising the national standards with those of the Codex.
Shri Nadda further said that there is an urgent need to enhance awareness about the work of Codex. Codex Alimentarius has done tremendous work on standardisation and other food safety issues and these should be brought to the front so all stakeholders can benefit. The standardisation of process must be shared especially among developing countries as they make up almost 70 percent of the world’s population. He also called for capacity building among the countries of Asia and for all members to share resources so the least developed countries have the support they require in the area of food safety.
Shri Faggan Singh Kulaste, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare in his address said that standards not only play a crucial role in bringing about food safety but also eliminate the difficulties in trade of these foods. Standards developed by Codex are science based and developed in an inclusive and transparent manner and so are accepted worldwide. He also congratulated the Codex Alimentarius for its contribution to the protection of public health and fair trade practices which is immeasurable and has reached all the continents.
The function was well represented by members of the food sector fraternity including the science community, industry and industry associations, consumer and citizen organizations, international organizations and foreign missions, experts and government officials from Central ministries and States and other key stakeholders.
Shri Shyam Khadka, Representative of the FAO in India, Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director, Shri Ashish Bahuguna, Chairperson, FSSAI, Shri Sanjay Dave, Chairperson Coordinating Committee of Asia (CCASIA) and Ms. Anamaria Bruno, Senior Food Standards Officer, Codex Secretariat were also present at the inaugural ceremony.