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.

Outcomes from the 36th Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission

The 36th Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission adopted the Guidelines for National Food Control Systems.

Last meeting

The Twentieth Session of the Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems held in Chiang Mai, Thailand from 18 – 22 February 2013 reached the following conclusions:

Matters for the 36th Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission Matters for  Adoption / approval

The Committee agreed to forward to the 36th Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission:

  • Draft and Proposed Draft Principles and Guidelines for National Food Control Systems (N06-2009) for adoption at Steps 8 and 5/8; and
  • Draft amendments to Guidelines for the Exchange of Information in Food Safety Emergency Situations (CAC/GL 19-1995). 

Matters of interest

The Committee agreed to consider at its next session the amendments to the Guidelines for the Exchange of Information between Countries on Rejections of Imported food (CAC/GL 25-1997) to address animal feeding.

Matters referred to other Committees / Task Forces

Committee on Fish and Fishery Products (CCFFP)

The Committee agreed to inform the CCFFP that section “Information exchange” of the Guidelines for Import Control System (CAC/GL 47-2003) (paragraphs 34 and 35) provided guidance on exchange of information between importing and exporting countries (see para. 11).

Next meeting

The 21st Session of the Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems will be held in the latter half of 2014 at a date and venue yet to be determined.