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One of the key bodies involved in setting international food standards, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, is being urged to increase the participation of developing countries. Proposals by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Health Organisation — the two bodies that set up the commission — on how this should be done are being discussed this week at the commission's 27th session, which is taking place in Geneva, Switzerland.

The commission, which produces science-based food safety guidelines and recommendations, has so far funded the attendance at its meetings of delegates from developing countries.

But the FAO's assistant director-general Hartwig de Haen says this is not enough and is calling for more capacity building to strengthen food safety systems in developing countries, both to allow such countries to participate more fully in international trade in food, and to ensure better protection for local consumers.

Link to Food and Agriculture Organisation press release