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Jim Sutton Speech To Codex Meeting

Jim Sutton Speech To Codex Meeting

Speech Notes 18 February 2002

Codex Committee on Meat and Poultry Hygiene, Wellington

Ladies and Gentlemen: welcome to New Zealand and thank you for attending this Codex Committee meeting on meat and poultry hygiene.

Codex - the Codex Alimentarius Commission - is an international body responsible for establishing international food standards for consumer health protection and fair practices in trade. It was set up in 1962 by both the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Health Organisation, as part of their joint food standards programme.

New Zealand has been a member of Codex, and an active supporter of its activities, since 1962.

As a country with an economy heavily reliant on trade in food, New Zealand strongly supports Codex's role in promoting sound, science-based international standards for consumer health protection and fair trade.

Globally, food safety and related issues are of enormous public interest.

As chair and host country for the Codex committees on meat and poultry hygiene - as well as the Codex committee on milk and milk products - New Zealand has responsibility for leading the task of establishing international standards and guidelines for meat and dairy products. Both these are critically important to New Zealand.

The Codex Committee on meat hygiene is responsible for setting worldwide standards for meat hygiene.

It was adjourned sine die in 1993 after completing a major review of the original codes.

However, at the last Codex Alimentarius Commission meeting last year, we raised the possibility of re-convening the committee to review the current codes, as there have been a number of significant developments within the Codex system.

These include the development of an international code of practice on general principles of food hygiene.

The meat hygiene codes would benefit from suitable linkages to the general principles. The review should also facilitate the development of more targeted provisions for meat and meat products.

Food safety is a fast moving area, with a lot of public scrutiny. I think it is only appropriate to ensure that the systems we work by internationally are kept under regular review.

So, that's your work this week.

I'm delighted to see so many of you, from so many countries, here today. This work you are about to do is extremely important for the world's citizens. I encourage you to make your best efforts to work well together to come up with the best for all of us.

Good luck and thank you for your attendance at this week's meeting.

Office of Hon Jim Sutton

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