Christine Wieck and Jason H. Grant · 2021

Codex in Motion: Food Safety Standard Setting and Impacts on Developing Countries.

The Codex Alimentarius, or ‘food code’, was established to set international standards to ensure the safety and quality of food and agricultural products while at the same time creating a level playing field for international trade. However, less is known about the duration of the standards setting process in the Codex committees, and the extent to which trade is impacted when standards are delayed versus cases in which the adoption of standards was accelerated. This article reviews and evaluates three case studies in which Codex standards were rapidly adopted: Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) levels in cinnamon; melamine standards for milk and powder; and Codex guidance procedures in the case of melons. Two recent cases in which Codex standards have been held up are also considered: maximum levels of aflatoxins in ready-to-eat peanuts; and cadmium in chocolate. We find evidence that accelerated adoption of Codex standards is an important catalyst facilitating exports by some developing countries. Delays and non-adoption of Codex standards, on the other hand, can lead to significant export underperformance in certain countries and regions. Thus, Codex members would do well to reflect on the positive trade flow benefits that can be realised among developing countries who depend on international standards for export earnings.

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Christine Wieck

Christine Wieck
University of Hohenheim

Christine Wieck is professor for agricultural and food policy at the University of Hohenheim. Her research, teaching and outreach centers on the quantitative and qualitative analysis of agricultural and food policies in a globalized world with a special focus on the sustainable transformation (greening) of the EU food system and EU-Africa relationships on agri-food matters. Prior to returning to academia, she worked in the years 2015-2018 for the German Development Agency (GIZ) as an agricultural trade policy advisor. She started her agricultural career with a vocational training as a farmer and worked for several years on organic dairy farms in the West of Germany. In 2020, she was appointed a member of the scientific advisory board of the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. From April 2018 to March 2019 she was appointed to the Task Force “Rural Africa”, an independent advisory body of nine experts to provide expertise, advice and recommendations to the EU commission on how to advance the EU-Africa relationships in agri-food matters and the coherence of EU agricultural, trade, environment, rural and development policies. She is also a member of the scientific advisory board of the German-African Business Organisation.

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