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    The FAO/WHO Regional Coordinating Committee for Africa (CCAFRICA23) held its Twenty-third Session in Nairobi, Kenya, from 2 to 6 September 2019

    The Committee advanced on the work on regional standards and identified the existing challenges and opportunities for food safety programmes in the region, the available tools to support food safety programmes and possible areas for intervention.

    Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) was identified as the highest priority in emerging issues which include pesticide residues, capacity of food control systems, food fraud, water contamination, consumer awareness, aflatoxins, and climate change.

    Members were urged to actively participate in all relevant Codex committees, to promote the use of Codex standards for regional harmonization and the use the FAO/WHO Food Control System Assessment tools to align their approaches.

    The Committee recognized the opportunity to leverage investments at continental level from both the public and private sector following the ratification of the Agreement of the Africa Continental Free Trade area (AFCFTA) by the African Union (AU) members in May 2019.

    The Committee agreed to support efforts made to propose the inclusion of food safety in the agenda of the upcoming WHO Executive Board (29-31 January 2020) and World Health Assembly (17-21 May 2020) by raising awareness in their ministries of health and representations to WHO in Geneva.

    The Committee also committed to actively engage in the implementation of the Codex Strategic Plan 2020-2025.

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    National Nutrition Strategies for 2017- 2020 to prevent and control Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in GCC countries

    The Governments of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are introducing measures targeting foods high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) based on the policies and recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO). With the support of the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office (EMRO), GCC countries are finalising their National Nutrition Policy for 2017-2020 and Action Plans for the prevention and control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), based on the commitments made in the Political Declaration of the UN High-Level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of NCDs.

    The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and Oman among others have included in their national nutrition policy a set of measures such as restrictions on the use of palm oil in food products, gradual salt/sodium reduction targets, replacing Transfatty Acids with Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids, and gradual sugar reduction targets, among others.

    A GCC Standardization Organization (GSO) standard regulating the maximum levels permitted for transfatty acids contained in foodstuffs was adopted, and the GSO Member States are also working on a voluntary standard on Traffic Light Labelling, based on the UK Food Standards Agency model.

    With the support of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), GCC countries have developed and ratified a common Value Added Tax (VAT) framework agreement and a unified law on selective excise taxes which foresees the taxation of tobacco and energy drinks at 100%, soft drinks at 50%.