|Food and Nutrition Bulletin Volume 10, Number 1, 1988 (UNU, 1988, 86 pages)|
Codex Alimentarius Commission
After 25 years, the joint FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission has grown from the original 30 countries to 130 today. The Codex system was set up to facilitate the world trade in foods and to protect consumers' health through internationally agreed standards and codes of practice.
FAO and WHO have a number of projects providing assistance to member countries to set up and improve the food control system. A clear distribution of responsibilities at the national level is necessary, together with simple rules and regulations that differ as little as possible from those of other countries. The Codex work offers a common forum for discussion between government representatives, producers, exporters, importers, and consumers. The commission agreed to establish a new committee for standardization of tropical fresh fruits and vegetables and accepted Mexico as host country. The new committee will elaborate standards and codes of practice for tropical fresh fruits and vegetables that are grown exclusively in tropical zones.
So far, more than 200 individual commodity standards have been elaborated, as well as 35 codes of practice and about 2,000 maximum residue limits for pesticides. Codex committees that have completed their work have been adjourned, and new committees have been set up. In general, the work on individual commodity standards is giving way to more "horizontal" work. For future work, Codex will concentrate on aspects of food safety-additives, contaminants, pesticide residues, food hygiene- and of food quality-labelling, nutrition information, claims, ethical problems.
The Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling has the consideration of simple methods of analysis as a permanent item on its agenda. There is a constant need for methods that can be used in laboratories with basic facilities and equipment and that are still sufficiently accurate.
An important task for the future will be to work for the practical application and implementation of standards and codes. Standards will have to be accepted by governments and be incorporated into national regulations, and the codes of technical and hygienic practice will have to be widely applied. The Codex regional co-ordinating committees have been given an important role in the co-ordination of international and national food safety work. There are four Codex co-ordinating committees-for Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean; the co-ordinating countries are Egypt, Indonesia, Austria, and Costa Rica respectively.
For more information about Codex work, contact the Codex contact point in your country; the contact point in most countries is located in the Ministry of Agriculture. Or write to the Codex secretariat, c/o FAO, Via delle Terme di Caracalla, Rome, Italy.
- Barbo Blomberg-Johansson
(reprinted from the Food Laboratory
Newsletter, 1987, no. 10)
Course on food and nutrition in primary health care
The fifth six-week training course on Food and Nutrition in Primary Health Care will be held in Wageningen, Netherlands, 24 October-2 December 1988. It is designed primarily for programme officers who have responsibility in implementing activities for the improvement of the food and nutrition situation of vulnerable groups. The main objective of the training will be to strengthen the capability of the participants in completing their day-to-day work-in particular, programming, data collection and analysis, the management of money, materials, and time, the supervision and motivation of personnel, reporting, and other important managerial tasks.
The course will be conducted by the International Courses in Food Science and Nutrition, under the responsibility of the International Agriculture Centre. The total fee for the course is 8,500 Netherlands guilders, which covers all costs except travel to and from the course location. The closing date for applications is 1 September 1988. Admission to the course will be on a competitive basis.
For further information, contact: International Agriculture Centre, P.O. Box 88, 6700 AB Wageningen, Netherlands; telephone 08370-90111.
In 1986 a first course of applied research and training on tempe was held at the Nutrition Research and Development Centre, Bogor, Indonesia. The training participants were ten scientists from Asia and Africa. Funding was provided by the United Nations University.
Participants pointed out the following benefits from the training: Tempe technology is an appropriate technology for processing legumes (not only soybeans) into palatable, safe, and nutritious food. The significant health effects of soybean tempe, especially the complementary value of tempe protein for cereals and other carbohydrate sources and the high content of dietary fibre and its effect on diarrhoea, are very important for developing countries. Tempe can be used in nutrition improvement programmes.
The transfer of tempe technology to developing countries will! help promote the nutritional status of their populations. This can be achieved only if the trainees disseminate the knowledge and skill gained from the training in their own countries.
To keep the participants aware of developments in tempe technology, a Tempe Newsletter, funded by the United Nations University, is being published four times a year by the Nutrition Research and Development Centre. Those interested in further information should write to the Nutrition Research and Development Centre, Komplek Gizi Jl. Dr. Semeru, Bogor 16112, Indonesia.