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IAFN Celebrates 60 years of Codex

As Secretary General of the International Seed Federation and Chair of the International Agri-food Network[1] and its Coalition for an Enhanced Codex, it is my pleasure to highlight the importance of Codex Alimentarius this year, which marks its 60th anniversary.  The Codex Alimentarius Commission is the most important international body in the field of food standards, having developed hundreds of internationally recognized standards, guidelines, and codes of practice. It has defined thousands of permitted levels of additives, contaminants, and chemical residues in food with a critical goal: ensure food is safe for everyone, everywhere.

It is for this reason that farmer and business groups fervently support Codex Alimentarius, recognizing the role that Codex plays in international standard setting and facilitating trade. Our ultimate objective is to ensure the continued production and trade of safe, high quality and diverse food in an economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable way.  

With the International Day of Plant Health on 12 May fast approaching, it is worth celebrating both international standard-setting bodies such as Codex Alimentarius and the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM).  The seed industry has been supportive of the International Day of Plant Health to promote the importance of plant health to all actors involved in food production and consumer health.   

As with food safety standards set by Codex, the adoption of plant standards by CPM can help create an environment of harmonization of phytosanitary measures and predictability of movement of plants and plant products. Predictable international movement of safe food and seeds is critical to ensuring food security.

The importance of standard-setting bodies such as Codex and CPM should be celebrated every day, starting with the International Day of Plant Health!

Michael Keller
Chair, IAFN
Secretary-General, ISF

[1] The International Agri-Food Network (IAFN) was formed in 1996 during the World Food Summit as an informal coalition of international trade associations involved in the agri-food sector at the global level. The network facilitates liaison among the member organizations and engages international organizations in the agri-food chain at a global level.  The IAFN has been elected to coordinate the Private Sector Mechanism (PSM) at the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in Rome. In addition, IAFN is a member of the Global Business Alliance for Sustainable Development by 2030.


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