Laurie Hueneke, director of International Trade Policy, Sanitary and Technical Issues, for the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) attended last week the International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta, GA, and participated in a panel on the role of the Codex Alimentarius in establishing international food safety standards.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission, established by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization and its World Health Organization to promote food safety and coordinate international food standards, last summer, for example, adopted an international standard for ractopamine, a feed ingredient used to promote leanness in pork and beef.

NPPC strongly supported the action by Codex, which is the World Trade Organization’s reference body for food safety, noting that the UN body upheld its mandate to adhere to process and adopt science-based standards. The adoption of the ractopamine standard had been stalled for four years because of unscientific concerns by several countries. Ractopamine was evaluated and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1999 and has been approved for use in 26 countries.

A Codex panel of independent international scientists has confirmed the safety of ractopamine three times. NPPC views the adoption of maximum residue levels for ractopamine as a path forward to engage with trading partners that have food-safety concerns related to science, and the organization is actively involved in developing new standards based on science and consensus.

Many countries adopt Codex standards as national standards, increasing the influence that Codex standards play in how U.S. pork producers raise their animals and ensure a safe supply of pork to more than 100 countries every year.

The IPPE brought together processors, packers and producers to discuss issues of interest for the meat and poultry industries.