Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems

​​Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems

The Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems (CCFICS) is chaired and hosted by Australia. This committee develops principles and guidelines related to food import and export inspection and certification systems with a view to harmonising methods and procedures which protect the health of consumers, ensure fair trading practices and contribute to facilitating international trade in food stuffs.

Existing Codex Standards

Standards relating to food import and export inspection and certification systems* that have been endorsed and adopted into the international food code include standards on:

  • Principles for Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification
  • Guidelines For The Exchange of Information between Countries on Rejections of Imported Foods
  • Guidelines For The Design, Operation, Assessment and Accreditation of Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems
  • Guidelines For The Development of Equivalence Agreements Regarding Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems
  • Guidelines for Food Import Control Systems
  • Guidelines for the Judgement of Equivalence of Sanitary Measures Associated with Food Inspection and Certifications Systems
  • Guidelines for the Exchange of Information in Food Safety Emergency Situations
  • Principles for Electronic Certification as an Appendix to the Codex Guidelines for Generic Official Certificate Formats and the Production and Issuance of Certificates (CAC/GL 38–2001), and
  • Principles for Traceability/Product Tracing as a Tool within a Food Inspection and Certification System 
  • Principles and guidelines for the conduct of assessment of foreign official inspection and certification systems (Annex to the Guidelines for the design, operation, assessment and accreditation of food import and export inspection and certification systems (CAC/GL 26–1997) (N07–2008)
  • Guidelines for National Food Control Systems 

*This is an indicative list only. For a full list of standards approved by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, please consult its Official List of Standards.

Last meeting

The 21st of the Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems was held in Brisbane, Australia from 13 – 17 October 2014. 

Matters for adoption by the 38th Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission

The Committee agreed to forward:

  • Project Document on Proposal for new work to develop Principles and/or Guidelines for the Exchange of Information (including questionnaires) between Countries to Support Food Import and Export for approval as new work (see para. 28 and Appendix III)
  • Project Document on Proposal for new work to develop Guidance for Monitoring the Performance of National Food Control Systems for approval as new work (see para. 36 and Appendix IV)
  • Project Document on Proposal for new work to revise Principles and Guidelines for the Exchange of Information in Food Safety Emergency Situations (CAC/GL 19-1995) for approval as new work (see para. 46 and Appendix V)
  • Project Document on Proposal for new work to revise the Guidelines for the Exchange of Information between Countries on Rejections of Imported Food (CAC/GL 25-1997) for approval as new work (see para. 54 and Appendix VI).

Matters for interest to the Codex Alimentarius Commission

The Committee agreed to consider at its next session:

  • Discussion papers on System comparability / equivalence (see para. 63)
  • Discussion papers on the possibilities of the use of electronic certificates by competent authorities as well as the migration to paperless certification (see para. 63)

The Committee agreed to forward the response of the Committee on the Implementation of the Strategic Plan to the 38th Session of the Commission.

Matters Referred to Other Codex Committees/Taskforces

The Committee held a discussion on Halal Food which is also of interest to the Committee on Food Labelling (CCFL), Food Hygiene (CCFH), the FAO/WHO Coordinating Committee for Near East (CCNEA) as well as the Executive and Commission.

Next meeting

The 22nd Session of the Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems will be from 8-12 February 2016.