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NMPF, Agriculture Groups Work to Keep Science in Scientific Standards

July 8, 2019

The Codex international food standards are meant to protect human health and establish fair trade practices by developing cohesive food safety standards for food and agricultural products. However, the mandate to base Codex international food standards on scientific fact may be up for debate in July.

The European Union and other countries are seeking to water down Codex’s scientific mandate and instead direct that nonscientific factors, such as consumer preference issues, be considered as Codex develops standards. This would have significant negative repercussions for the American dairy industry and its ability to challenge unscientific barriers to trade.

The Codex Executive Committee and Commission will meet at the beginning of this month to consider revising its procedures in light of EU pressure. NMPF is working with the U.S. Dairy Export Council to lead the charge against these changes and ensure that existing science-based Codex rules are enforced and followed to preserve a level playing field for U.S. exports. The outreach on this issue harnesses a united U.S. food and agricultural effort on this issue, including driving support for U.S positions at the meetings.

NMPF has joined with other leading U.S. agriculture groups to develop materials outlining this threat to share with policymakers and international stakeholders. Together with several of those groups and USDEC, NMPF staff met last month with USDA Undersecretary of Trade Ted McKinney and USTR Chief Agriculture Negotiator Gregg Doud to make the case as to why preserving the scientific structure of Codex is critical.