Luc Mougeot, DRC Vice-President, attended the 20th meeting of the CODEX Committee on Fresh Fruits and Vegetables held in Kampala, Uganda this past October.

DRC participates on the CODEX Committee on Fresh Fruits and Vegetables in order to ensure that standards being proposed or revised are written in a manner that is as consistent as possible with Canadian and U.S. standards. Ensuring consistency helps to minimize the impact on producers when they ship overseas.

“CODEX sets the high level international standards that we are supposed to work towards and look towards implementing when we make domestic revisions,” said Mr. Mougeot.

CODEX Alimentarius Commission is an international standard setting body for everything from health and safety to grade and commodity standards. CODEX standards are utilized by many countries that may not have their own domestic standards. While Canada and the U.S. have national domestic standards, CODEX standards can set the tone for future revisions to Canadian and U.S. standards. The other area they can impact is for shippers sending out of Canada to a country that doesn’t have national standards and that has adopted CODEX standards.

Most CODEX member countries that apply CODEX standards will use those grade standards on import controls. They may use them for domestic control and they may use them for export control for countries such as Canada. Other standard setting bodies include the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

Sometimes DRC sees references to Cat 1, Class 1 on contracts without any reference to a standard body such as CODEX, OECD and UNECE. In the absence of recognized grade or reference to grade, we tend to fall back to domestic standards when applying inspections. If both parties have agreed to class and properly referenced appropriate standards, it is important to note that individuals using these categories may face challenges when it comes to an inspection and proving non-domestic standards apply.

“DRC has obtained official observer status with respect to CODEX and, as we move towards potentially taking over grade standards from CFIA, our participation will continue to enrich discussions and standard setting within CODEX,” concluded Mr. Mougeot. CFIA is the head of the official delegation and CFIA’s Kevin Smith is the representative and currently also serves as an ex-officio government representative on the DRC Board of Directors. The next meeting will occur in 2018 (date and location still TBD) and prior to the meeting, Mr. Smith will reach out Canadian industry sectors to establish industry positions on draft standards.

CODEX questions? Please contact the DRC Help Desk:

DRC Help Desk | 613-234-0982 | Info@fvdrc.com