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Celebrating the International Day of Plant Health: Embracing Codex Alimentarius and CPM-18

May 12th marked the International Day of Plant Health (IDPH), a pivotal occasion dedicated to promoting the global importance of plant health. As we observe this day, it is essential to highlight the significant role played by Codex Alimentarius and the 18th Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM-18) in safeguarding our food systems and ensuring global food security.

The Codex Alimentarius, established in 1963 by FAO and WHO, aims to develop international food standards, guidelines, and codes of practice. These standards are crucial for ensuring that food is safe and of good quality, whether produced locally or traded internationally. With the exponential growth of global food trade over the past century, Codex standards have become integral to maintaining the safety, quality, and fairness of food products worldwide. Since its inception, Codex has evolved to address emerging challenges in an open, transparent, and inclusive manner. Today, it continues to be a cornerstone in the international food trade, a $2000 billion industry, facilitating the safe production, marketing, and transportation of billions of tones of food.

CPM-18 recently brought together global leaders and experts to discuss critical issues related to plant health. Some of the key items discussed from the session included: E-Phyto Implementation; Global Phytosanitary Research Coordination; Diagnostic Laboratory Networking; Sea Containers and One Health Update; Africa Phytosanitary Programme; and Antimicrobial Resistance in plants.

What is the Relevance of Codex and CPM-18 to the IDPH? 

The International Day of Plant Health is an opportunity to recognize the vital work of organizations like Codex Alimentarius and the CPM. These bodies play a crucial role in developing standards and practices that ensure the health of plants, which are foundational to our food systems and global food security.

As we celebrate IDPH, it is important to acknowledge the achievements and ongoing efforts in plant health. The work of organizations such as Codex Alimentarius and the CPM exemplifies how international cooperation and scientific rigor can address global challenges, safeguard plant health, and ensure safe and quality food for everyone, everywhere.

Codex Alimentarius and CPM-18’s efforts to develop and update international standards and guidelines provide a more robust regulatory framework for the seed sector. This enhances the consistency and reliability of phytosanitary measures across countries, reducing the risk of pests and diseases associated with seed trade. By aligning with these international standards and benefiting from the initiatives and research efforts, the seed sector can enhance its global competitiveness, ensure compliance with regulatory requirements, and contribute to global food security and sustainability.

As stakeholders in the seed industry, staying informed and engaged with these international developments is crucial for leveraging these benefits and addressing the challenges ahead.  By supporting and promoting the standards set by Codex and the initiatives discussed at CPM-18, we can collectively contribute to a healthier, safer, and more sustainable world. Let us use this day to raise awareness, foster collaboration, and strengthen our commitment to plant health for the benefit of all.

For more information on the International Day of Plant Health, watch the video I recorded here.


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