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The Current Status of Consumer Participation in Food Safety Risk Analysis, And Opportunities for Improvements

By Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Nutrition Reference Publication

Electronic reproduction.

Summary: Consumers International has participated in Codex work as an observer for three decades, and notes the importance of ongoing efforts by the Codex Commission to improve the participation of consumers in its activities. Sound goals have been established, but the details of implementation have yet to be worked out. Data need to be collected at regular intervals on objective measures to track progress in consumer participation at the national and international level. Some governments are more advanced than others in terms of the extent and mechanisms through which they facilitate consumer participation in their food safety risk analysis. Through forums such as this one and Codex Regional Coordinating Committees, successful experiences can be shared and perhaps, more widely adopted. In order to improve the quality of consumer participation, consumer NGOs should be given opportunities to take part in risk analysis training and similar workshops carried out by international agencies and national governments. The risk assessment process, which has traditionally been closed to observers, should also be more open and transparent; bringing invited consumer participants into that process could both improve the results and add to the credibility of risk assessments.


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