Rwanda Standards Board organizes Awareness Workshop on Food Safety and Increasing the Participation in the work of the National Codex Committee
On December 7th, 2023 Rwanda Standards Board (RSB), with the aim to increase the country’s participation in the development and dissemination of information on international food standards under the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) and support the use and relevance of food standards, guidelines and codes of practice by stakeholders as an essential component of a science and rule-based food safety system, organized an awareness workshop that brought together policy makers, regulators, key actors in the agriculture sector involved in the development and implementation of agriculture and food standards, development partners, representatives of consumer associations, food processors and traders, universities and higher learning institutions, researchers, etc.
Through the presentation on CAC, National Codex Committee, panel discussions and updates on the progress registered in participating in CAC standards development and harmonizing international food standards with national standards, the awareness workshop mainly aimed to raise awareness of all stakeholders on the functioning of Codex Alimentarius Commission and National Codex Committee, brainstorming on sustainable active participation of Rwanda in Codex Alimentarius Commission, and mechanisms to support the use and relevance of food standards, guidelines and codes of practice by stakeholders as an essential component of a science- and rule-based food safety system.
Speaking at the official opening, Mr Emmanuel Gatera the National Standards Division Manager at RSB commended the progress made since Rwanda and CAC resolved to partner to increase the participation of the country in the CAC work and establish and operationalize the National Codex Committee. However, he noted the need for further efforts to get all actors aware and engaged in the activities of the National Codex Committee.
Participating virtually, Dr Blaise Ouatarra Food Safety and Quality Officer at Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Regional Office for Africa briefed the participants about the effects of consuming unsafe food including illnesses and deaths occurring globally. With reference to the actual data, he called for the active participation and contribution of everyone to ensure that everyone has access to and consumes safe food.
The participants to the workshop resolved to put more efforts in increased awareness on the work of the CAC, National Codex Committees and food safety targeting all involved in the food chain. Further, they highlighted the need for allocating funds to support the participation of experts in standards development and awareness raising activities with the contribution of the Government, development partners, industry, civil society organizations and research institutions. To fill in the gap of unavailable data in some clusters whereas it would serve as basis in developing and harmonizing reliable food standards, the participants requested policy making institutions, standards body, regulators, research institutions and relevant partners to collaborate and fast-track the development of the food data collection and information dissemination strategy.
Food is an important need that no living organism can do without. While every person has the right to consume quality and safe food, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) as well as the one on Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary Measures (SPS) require WTO Members to play full part in International Standardization such as through the work of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), the organ that was established by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) to develop international food standards. International food standards developed help to facilitate regional and international trade and consumer protection. Also, the workshop was an opportunity for Rwanda to celebrate the 60 years of Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) which started in 1963. The CAC main goal is to ensure “food is safe for everyone, everywhere”.
Ms Rosine Niyonshuti, Secretary National Codex Committee presenting
At the panel- Middle Chairperson of the NCC, right-Dr Dominique S Nkunda /Rwanda Institute of Conservation Agriculture (RICA) and Ms Carol Murekezi/TRASE-Trade in Agriculture Safely and Efficiently in East Africa.
“RSB services are delivered in consideration of gender equality to ensure inclusive sustainable socio-economic development”