The Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is hosting a public meeting Jan. 14, 2016, at USDA headquarters in Washington, D.C., to provide information and receive public comments on agenda items and draft U.S. positions that will be discussed at the 22nd session of the Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems, which will take place Feb. 6-12, 2016, in Melbourne, Australia. This meeting will also be available by conference call (1-888-844-9904, participant code 512-6092).

The CCFICS is responsible for (a) developing principles and guidelines for food import and export inspection and certification systems, with a view to harmonizing methods and procedures that protect the health of consumers, ensure fair trading practices and facilitate international trade in foodstuffs; (b) developing principles and guidelines for the application of measures by the competent authorities of exporting and importing countries to provide assurance that foodstuffs comply with requirements, especially statutory health requirements; (c) developing guidelines for the utilization of quality assurance systems to ensure that foodstuffs conform with requirements and to promote the recognition of these systems in facilitating trade in food products under bilateral/multilateral arrangements; (d) developing guidelines and criteria with respect to the format, declarations and language of such official certificates as countries may require, with a view toward international harmonization; and (e) making recommendations for information exchange in relation to food import/export control.

The following items on the agenda for the 22nd session of CCFICS will be discussed during the public meeting: draft principles and guidelines for the exchange of information between countries to support food imports and exports, revision of the guidelines for the exchange of information on rejections of imported food, system comparability or equivalence, and the use of electronic certificates by competent authorities and migration to paperless certification.

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