The Food Group Division of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria SON has undertaken staff training on understanding Codex’s structure and functioning to build their capacity on Codex standards-setting process and procedures for carrying out assigned responsibilities relating to the Codex Committees.
Addressing the gathering, the Head of Food Group and Codex contact point, Mr. Yunusa Mohammed, thanked the Director General for his benevolence in approving the provision of resources to conduct the training.
Adding that, the main objectives of the training were to utilize and improve the technical capacity of SON staff on Codex activities, thereby improving the Country’s participation at all Codex fora.
Mr. Mohammed further stressed that the importance of the Codex standards in International trade cannot be overemphasized, noting that the Codex standards have received global recognition and it is being used as a benchmark recognized by the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures called SPS Agreements in case of trade dispute.
In highlighting the importance of Codex and the sustenance of its activities in Nigeria, the Food Group Head says the National Codex Committee was set up to provide a platform for the activities of the Codex at the National level and to advise the Government on National Policy on Food Safety and Implementation Strategy Quality on International trade in food.
He says the activities are technical; therefore, the National Codex Committee has established more than 18 National Codex Technical Committees to align with the existing committees of the Codex Alimentarius Commission in line with current best practices.
He mentioned some of the Committees as follows;
• Technical Committee on contaminants in food – CCFC.
• Technical Committee on Food Additives – CCFA.
• Technical Committee on Food Hygiene CCFH.
• Technical Committee on food labeling – CCFL etc.
Mr. Mohammed informed the participants that they automatically qualify to serve as food group representatives on the various established National Codex Technical Committees under the training, listing out that their functions are well spelled out in the letters nominating them.
In the technical session, the Codex Contact person for the Standards Development Department, Mr. Ibrahim Yahaya, made a practical presentation focusing mainly on the Development of Codex Standards, the National Codex Committee, participation in Codex electronic Working Groups, and the Codex online commenting system.
The following resolutions were made at the end of the training;
• CCP to assist other participants in enrolling on the Codex electronic working Group platform.
• WhatsApp group be established for participants for continuous improvements/interaction.
• Participants to engage other food group staff in carrying out their responsibilities as it relates to recently assigned Codex committee activities.