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 22nd Session of the Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems was held in Melbourne, Australia from 6 – 12 February 2016. 

Matters for adoption by the 39th Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission

The Committee agreed to forward the following texts for adoption at Step 5/8:

  • Proposed Draft Principles and Guidelines for the Exchange of Information Between Importing and Exporting Countries to Support the Trade in Food (REP16/FICS para. 26 and Appendix II);
  • Proposed Draft Revision of the Principles and Guidelines for the Exchange of Information in Food Safety Emergency Situations (CAC/GL 19-1995) (REP16/FICS para. 45 and Appendix IV);
  • Proposed Draft Revision of the Guidelines for the Exchange of Information Between Countries on Rejections of Imported Food (CAC/GL 25-1997) (REP16/FICS para. 50 and Appendix V).

The Committee agreed to forward the following texts for adoption at Step 5:

  • Proposed Draft Guidance for Monitoring the Performance of National Food Control Systems (REP16/FICS para. 33 and Appendix III).

Matters referrred to other Codex Committees

The Committee held a discussion on Food Integrity/Food Authenticity as Emerging Issues(see paras 71 and 72) which is also of interest to the Committees on Food Labelling (CCFL) and on Methods of Analysis and Sampling (CCMAS) as well as the CCEXEC71 and CAC39.

Matters for information

The Committee agreed to consider at its next session:

  • Discussion papers on System Comparability / Equivalence (see para. 54)
  • Discussion papers on the Use of Electronic Certificates by Competent Authorities and Migration to Paperless Certification (see para. 58 - 60)
  • Discussion Paper on Third Party Certification (with broad parameters) (see para. 63)
  • Discussion Paper on Consideration of Emerging Issues and Future Directions for the Work of the Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems (see paras 65–67); and
  • Discussion Paper on Food Integrity/Food Authenticity as Emerging Issues (see paras 71 and 72).

Next meeting

The 23rd Session of the Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems is scheduled in approximately twelve to eighteen months subject to further discussion between the Codex and Australian Secretariats.

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Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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