Representatives from 51 countries and more than a dozen non-governmental organisations gathered in Budapest from 3 March for a committee meeting for Codex Alimentarius Commission to discuss methods of analysis and sampling for food and feed.
Michael Walker, Consultant Referee Analyst for the Government Chemist Programme, represented the Government Chemist and joined the UK team led by Andrew Damant, from the Food Standards Agency.
Participants at the meeting considered methods of analysis for Codex standards and testing in international food trade. They discussed analytical methods for safety issues, including mycotoxins and marine biotoxins, and food quality. Participants outlined various techniques for sampling foodstuffs in large consignments to assess if non-compliant or harmful goods are present to reach a global consensus on the best approach.
Under UK law, local authorities and food business operators can call upon the Government Chemist to arbitrate technical disputes on analytical or interpretational issues in food analysis. Incorrect sampling, analysis or interpretation can lead to disputes, and it is therefore important that the Government Chemist contributes to and keeps abreast of international Codex developments.