Lead in fruits, drugs in livestock among issues to be tackled by UN food standards body

6 July 2015 – The United Nations food standards body, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, today kicked off its latest session in Geneva, during which it will examine and adopt new food safety and quality standards, including limits on the use of drugs in food-producing animals.

The Commission is a joint intergovernmental initiative of two UN agencies – the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Comprising 185 countries and the European Union, it compiles annually the standards, codes of practice, guidelines and recommendations that protect consumer health and ensure fair practices in food trade.

Kicking off the week-long session, the Commission today adopted guidelines related to the Trichinella parasite that may be found in the meat of pigs and other animals.

It has also decided to make the Asian regional standard adopted in 2009 to ensure the quality of ginseng products a worldwide standard, as long as these products are used as a food or food ingredient.

During the session, the Commission will consider a number of other topics, such as the maximum levels for lead in fruits and vegetables as well as the standards for the safe use of food additives and pesticides, including recommendations to prevent residues of certain antibiotics in food of animal origin.

It is also expected to support the establishment by FAO and WHO of a new $3.3 million per year Codex Trust Fund to support the more active participation of developing countries in international food standards setting from 2016 to 2026.