ROUND TABLE Flyer Final-Colored (1)

ICMSS 2015
Round Table Session
March 18, 09.00 to 10.30
Venue: Salon Tronador
Chairpersons: Iddya Karunasagar and Marisa Caipo, Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations
Bivalve molluscs are an important commodity in international trade, however, very few
countries are able to access international markets due to stringent requirements. These filter
feeding animals tend to concentrate microorganisms, toxins and chemicals from the
environment. Thus, ensuring consumer protection requires adherence to stringent sanitary
measures. The Codex Alimentarius Commission has developed a Standard for Live and Raw
Bivalve Molluscs and Section 7 of the Code of Practice for Fish and Fishery Products deals
specifically with the Processing of Live and Raw Bivalve Molluscs. It provides overarching
guidance to national competent authorities on what is needed to protect consumer health.
This includes information on the prerequisite programs, the classification of shellfish growing
areas and the sanitary surveys and biotoxin monitoring programmes that are required to
produce bivalves meeting the Codex Standard.
The problem
Codex guidance, due to its global nature is very broad and does not specify the precise
manner in which classification is to be established and monitored. As a result, many countries
have developed different approaches to manage the public health risks from consumption of
bivalve shellfish. Globally, two different approaches have dominated, one based on the United
States ‘National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP) and the other based on the European
Union (EU) Food Hygiene Regulations. Both systems are intended to ensure that bivalve
shellfish are safe to eat but differ in their means of achieving this aim, thus, countries wishing
to access both US and EU markets must satisfy the requirements of both. This has had
substantial resource implications, resulted in complex shellfish sanitation programs and
prevented some countries, which would otherwise benefit from trading to both markets, from
exporting. Furthermore, the existence of different approaches means that it is often not clear
to countries wishing to establish a shellfish sanitation program for the protection of their own
consumers the best route to follow.
The way forward
This problem has been recognized by numerous fora, including an International Conference
on Bivalve Sanitation involving 15 major bivalve producers, the Codex Committee on Fish and
Fishery Products and the FAO Committee on Fisheries Sub-Committee on Fish Trade, and
the need to develop technical guidance to support the implementation of the Codex Code of
Practice for Fish and Fishery Products proposed as a way forward. FAO/WHO have initiated
work to develop such guidance. A core Expert Advisory group has been established and a
first meeting of this group was convened in Rome in November 2014. This meeting identified
the key elements to be addressed in the Technical Guidance for a bivalve mollusc growing
area food safety programme”
Aim of the Technical Guidance
1. To support the development of a growing area food safety program that is not driven
by an existing program, but reflects the best science and technical information
currently available;
2. To provide adequate information on the key principles that such a program could be
implemented to meet different needs e.g. protect local consumers or expand
opportunities for trade or a combination of these;
3. To revise some of the terminology associated with shellfish sanitation programs.
The key components to be addressed in the guidance include:
• Risk Profiles;
• Growing Area Assessment;
• Growing Area Monitoring;
• Growing Area Classification;
• Growing Area Management;
• Review of the Program.
The guidance will be developed in the course of 2015 and subsequently pilot tested. This
round table session provides a first opportunity to introduce the approach being taken in
developing these guidelines and get feedback from a broader stakeholder group on the
proposed direction and content of the guidelines.
Introduction of panel
1. Background and need for technical guidance on shellfish sanitation programmes –
Iddya Karunasagar
2. Problems faced by developing countries in implementing shellfish sanitation
programmes. – Mr. Tobias Kuugongelwa (Namibia), Dr. Tran Bich Nga (Vietnam), Dr
Sandra Arcamo (Philippines), Ms Nada Bougouss (Morocco), Ms Diana Garcia
Bonilla (Peru)
3. Current status of the Technical Guidelines and plans for their further elaboration Brian Roughan, Specialist Advisor (Seafood), Ministry for Primary Industries, New
Zealand and FAO/WHO core expert Advisory Group
4. Challenge to be addressed in developing the guidelines - Ronald Lee, Principal
Shellfish Hygiene Scientist, Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture
Science (CEFAS), United Kingdom and FAO/WHO Core Expert Advisory Group
5. Questions, discussion and feedback on proposed approach
6. Summary of feedback and close of session
This Session is open to all ICMSS participants. The session will aim to be as interactive as
possible to provide optimal opportunity for input to the guideline development process. Many
members of the FAO/WHO core expert Advisory Group will also participate.
For further information please contact:
Iddya Karunasagar, FAO Fisheries Consultant ([email protected])
Sarah Cahill, FAO Food Safety Officer ([email protected])
Marisa Caipo: FAO Regional Officer for Food Safety ([email protected])