(FAO) and the (Egyptian Organization for Standardization and Quality (EOS) continue their Codex Capacity Building Program in Egypt
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is holding a workshop in Alexandria from 25-27 November 2019 entitled "Supporting Codex Capacity in Egypt" with contribution of the Egyptian Organization for Standardization and Quality, to strengthen the structure and program of Codex in Egypt, to improve the food import control system in the country in order to facilitate trade and ensure food safety.
The three-day workshop falls within the context of the public and private partnership, under the supervision of the Egyptian Codex Contact Point, which is under the umbrella of the Food Standards Department at the Egyptian Organization for Standardization and Quality (EOS), in collaboration with food safety experts from (FAO).
Participants included representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade, the National Food Safety Authority, the Veterinary Services Authority, the Faculty of Agriculture of Alexandria University, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Alexandria University, the Faculty of Agriculture of Tanta University, and a representative of the Food Chamber Industries and Companies, representatives of government agencies related to Codex work, as well as experts from FAO.
Eng. Ashraf Afifi, Chairman of the (EOS) and Chairperson of the Egyptian Codex Committee, said: "Egypt is one of the first Arab countries joined Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) since its inception, as the Egyptian Committee for Codex was established in 1973 to be mirror to the (CAC), which I am honored to chair, comprises all relevant governmental, academic and research authorities, representatives of the private and public sector and consumer protection associations".
“This workshop is unique and built on the success of the first workshop held in Cairo
last October, which was followed by an assessment of all Codex activities in Egypt. In collaboration with FAO, this workshop in Alexandria –the second largest governorate in Egypt- was organized to maximize the participation of all national entities in Codex activities.
Saber Mansour, FAO food safety expert, commented: “Food safety and fair practices in trade in food are the two pillars on which Codex texts are built. Food safety in Egypt will only be achieved through integration between the public and private sector. All the partners cooperated and benefited from the available scientific and practical academic expertise represented in universities, research centers and others along with the industrial and productive sectors. It was an opportunity to join efforts to support decision makers to incorporate Codex in national food safety policies in Egypt, which will ultimately affect the health and safety of consumers, and facilitate trade between Egypt and the world.
Leadership in Codex
(EOS) seeks to lead Codex activities in alignment with regional and international frameworks. Several important steps have been initiated for continuous improvement through the implementation of workshops that support the Egyptian Codex infrastructure within the work of the Codex Working Group of the Arab Initiative for Food Safety and trade facilitation within the (SAFE) project that is funded by UNIDO in cooperation with (FAO) and other partners. Egypt also sought to be a Center of Excellence to cooperate with all Arab countries in this regard. Therefore, it hosted workshops in Egypt with the participation of Sudan and Yemen, as well as representatives of the Codex secretariat, with the purpose of supporting Codex in the Arab States through the application of the Codex Guidelines issued by the Codex Working Group.
Hanan Fouad, Head of the Food Standards Department at (EOS) and Rapporteur of the Egyptian Codex Committee, said: “The workshop aims at strengthening the capacity of Codex in Egypt and raising awareness of Codex-related stakeholders on the Codex system in relation to Codex at the regional and international levels, in addition to identifying strengths and weaknesses and working to improve the weaknesses of the Egyptian Codex system".
Integration between sectors
Attendees from all concerned parties addressed the introductory speech which included the nature of their work and their expectations from the workshop. Commenting on these interventions, Eng. Ashraf Afifi, Chairman of the (EOS), pointed out the importance of integration between the different sectors, and the role assigned to each side to support the food safety system and food control in Egypt. In his speech, His Excellency said: "(EOS) is a huge organization for issuing Egyptian standards, including standards in the food sector since its establishment in 1957, and with regard to food safety, was mandated by the affiliated Minister, but the whole world went to collect all food safety issues in one organization, Therefore, it was necessary to establish the National Food Safety Authority in Egypt, and we should all provide full support and ensure complementarity among us to promote food safety and provide safe food for our consumers, and to establish trust between the citizen and the national bodies concerned with food safety control."
Egypt is a member of the Regional Codex Coordinating Committee for the Near East, and has observer status in the Regional Codex Coordinating Committee for Africa, which has made it a link between the Near East and African countries and the world. Through this workshop, (EOS) hopes to sustain communication between the different parties involved in the workshop, transfer and exchange of expertise between all sectors in order to support the national position of Codex, and improve and develop the leading role of Egypt at the regional and international level.