PolyU Food Safety Consortium becomes the first and only Codex Observer as non-governmental organisation in Hong Kong and Mainland China

Date:02 Jul 2020

The Food Safety Consortium (FSC) hosted at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) is delighted to have become an Observer at the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), a body established by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and World Health Organisation (WHO) to develop food standards under the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme.

FSC is the first and only non-governmental organisation in Hong Kong and Mainland China to have been admitted as a Codex Observer. The Codex Observer status creates a unique opportunity and a significant step forward for FSC to participate in this pre-eminent international food standards-setting body that protects the health of consumers and ensures fair practices in food trade through contributing to international standards, guidelines and codes of practice.

(In the middle) Mr Tom Heilandt, Codex Secretary, gives a lecture on “Codex Alimentarius – Protecting Health, Facilitating Trade” at PolyU.

(From left) Mr Yves Rey, FSC Advisory Board Member and former Corporate Quality General Manager at Danone Group; Mr Guilherme Costa, Chairperson of Codex Alimentarius Commission; Dr Terence Lau, Convener of Food Safety Consortium, PolyU; and Mr Frank Yiannas, Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response - Food and Drug Administration at the first World Food Safety Day at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City

“As the leading institution on food safety and quality in Hong Kong, with a voice in the Codex standard-setting process, FSC is set to make an impactful contribution in tackling world food safety issues and PolyU is proud to host FSC,” said Professor Alexander WAI, Deputy President and Provost of PolyU. “FSC will continue to bring about synergistic collaborations among the supranational body, government, industry and academia.”

Since its establishment in 2015, FSC has been devoted to addressing food safety needs through innovation & technology development, and its conception reflects PolyU’s determination and commitment to advancing global food safety. FSC comprises over 60 members from academia, industry and related organisations, plus a global network striving to tackle food safety challenges with cutting-edge and applied technologies, and timely in-depth communications on food safety related matters.

Dr Terence LAU, Convener of FSC and Interim Associate Vice President (Innovation and Technology Development) of PolyU, remarked, “We support the view that food safety is a shared global responsibility. It is only through continuous exchanges and collaboration that we can jointly tackle food safety challenges around the world.” He added that by being a Codex Observer, FSC could further bring the views and suggestions of its members to the attention of the wider Codex community, directly channeling its views during Codex’s standard formulation process, and invigorating exchanges at all levels. “Through FSC Committee Meetings, seminars and gatherings with members and industry stakeholders, it is expected that FCS members can gain greater access to scientific advice and cutting-edge expertise through this global network, and thus more effectively work towards a safer global food supply chain for improved public health,” said Dr LAU.

Codex has set standards for nearly 200 food products and established over 120 guidelines and codes of practice on a vast range of issues linked to food safety, quality and trade. It has also set thousands of food additive limits as well as pesticide and veterinary drug Maximum Residue Limits since its establishment in 1963.

Mr Tom HEILANDT, Codex Secretary, stated, “Codex values collaboration, inclusiveness, consensus building and transparency. Governmental and non-governmental, public and private organisations play a vital role in ensuring Codex texts are of the highest quality and based on sound science. We are excited that FSC is bringing on board their expertise, working closely with us to open up a new page for global food safety.” 

As a Codex Observer, FSC can interact more directly with committees and working groups at the Codex Alimentarius Commission. “FSC has been providing the industry a great platform to connect and engage with different stakeholders. Being an Observer of Codex will truly open up our connections and participation towards global standards setting, an unprecedented opportunity for public-private partnership,” commented Mr Yves REY, FSC Advisory Board Member and former Corporate Quality General Manager at Danone Group. 

About the Codex Alimentarius
The Codex Alimentarius, or “Food Code”, is a collection of internationally adopted food standards, guidelines and codes of practice presented in a uniform manner. These food standards and related texts aim at protecting consumer health and ensuring fair practices in the food trade.

Over time, the Codex system has evolved into an open, transparent and inclusive way to meet emerging food safety related challenges. Codex includes standards for all the principal foods, whether processed, semi-processed or raw, for distribution to the consumer. It includes provisions in respect of food hygiene, food additives, residues of pesticides and veterinary drugs, contaminants, labelling and presentation, methods of analysis and sampling, and import and export inspection and certification. 

For more information about Codex Alimentarius, please visit the website: http://www.fao.org/fao-who-codexalimentarius/home/en/

About the Food Safety Consortium
The FSC was launched by PolyU in 2015 to address food safety needs through innovation and to advance global food safety. FSC has developed an industry-academia network to provide support to the food industry with advanced technology and science, and to enhance food safety capability and competence through academic and industrial collaborations, international conferences and exchanges. FSC is also the Hong Kong Affiliate of the International Association for Food Protection. With continuous support from food stakeholders, FSC will contribute its expertise and recommendations to advance food safety and quality standards worldwide.

For more information about PolyU’s Food Safety Consortium, please visit the website: https://www.polyu.edu.hk/itdo/fsc/en/index/Food-Safety

About The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
While boasting a proud history of over 80 years, PolyU is a vibrant and aspiring university with a forward-looking vision and mission. Committed to building a talent pipeline and research strength for advancing the development of Hong Kong, the Nation and the world, PolyU provides the best holistic education to nurture future-ready global citizens and socially responsible leaders, conducts high-impact interdisciplinary research, and proactively transfers knowledge to create value and build impact.  We embrace internationalisation and engage the Nation for education and research through strategic partnerships and collaborations.

With “Opening Minds. Shaping the Future” as our brand promise, the University is currently offering more than 160 taught programmes in six faculties and two schools, engaging in 3,200 exciting research projects, and collaborating with over 660 institutions overseas and in the Chinese mainland on a wide variety of initiatives. We have over 400,000 alumni around the globe and currently 28,000 students.

PolyU website: https://www.polyu.edu.hk/en/

Media Contact
Dr Terence Lau
Convener of Food Safety Consortium, Interim Associate Vice President (Innovation and Technology Development)
Tel: (852) 3400 2806
Email: terence.lt.lau@polyu.edu.hk

Ms Sharon Yu
Communications and Public Affairs Office
Tel: (852) 2766 5103
Email: sharon.yu@polyu.edu.hk

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