Food testing – Conference of UN member states

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Author: Gábor Szunyogh


At the CCMAS conference that took place in Budapest with the participation of representatives of more than fifty UN member states and leading experts of the FM and NÉBIH, decisions were made about crucial analytical methods, regarding the world’s food trade and the laboratory testing of foods. Results of the conference were summarized to by the chairman of the Hungarian Working Group...

At the event that took place between May 8 and 12, Hungarian policy was represented by Dr. Márton Oravecz, president of the National Food Chain Safety Office (NÉBIH), and Dr. Lajos Bognár, Hungary’s chief veterinary officer and deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture (FM) responsible for food chain supervision, who reminded participants of the Codex’s role in public health, food chain safety and fair trade, and of the importance of the independent work of the organization.

„The methods and recommendations adopted at this conference will play a decisive role in the food trade of UN member states” - said to Dr. Tamás János Szigeti of the independent laboratory WESSLING Hungary Kft., which has been performing food analyses in Hungary for twenty-five years, chairman of the Hungarian Working Group of the CCMAS.

Why is CCMAS important?

The food testing work related to the food trade among UN member states has to be based on methods that can be applied by all parties involved in the transactions. At the same time, the existence of appropriate performance characteristics is also required of commonly accepted methods. For example, it is extremely important for the analytical results of the accredited laboratories of the different countries to be similar, within mutually accepted measurement uncertainty limits, for a certain food ingredient, or for unwanted, contaminating infectious agents – explained Dr. Tamás János Szigeti, adding that a continuously revised method collection – Codex standards – is maintained by the Codex Alimentarius Committee for this work, and this collection is recommended for the laboratory analyses of the above-mentioned transactions.

At the CCMAS conferences, the revision and classification of these methods, available free of charge to everyone, are performed. (The list of Codex standards is available here).

Although these documents are not binding, they serve as the basis for regional and national food regulations, and recommendations of the Codex Alimentarius are also of frucial importance when concluding commercial contracts – explained Tamás Szigeti, who has been coordinating the work of Hungarian participants of the event for eight years, regarding the methods and analytical principles to be discussed in the given year.


The Codex Alimentarius and it Hungarian aspects


The Codex Alimentarius Commission and its Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling (CCMAS) was established by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO), to develop international standards, directives and guidelines regulating the most important food ingredients and the maximum acceptable levels of foreign material in food.

Hungary has been an active participant of the work since 1963, and the prestigious international conference has been held in Budapest for several decades, this year’s edition being the 38th. It has been a special honor for us that the chairman and deputy chairman of the conference has been continuously given by Hungary. Among the chairmen, Prof. Dr. Péter Biacs, Prof. Dr. Pál Molnár and Prof. Dr. Árpád Ambrus have been adding to the reputation of the Hungarian food testing profession. Starting from this year, chairing the conference has been taken over by Dr. Marót Hibbey.

Regulations of the Codex documents have been gradually incorporated into Hungarian food law. In 1972, Hungary was entrusted with the secretariat of one of the committees, the Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling, as well as the organization of the meetings of the committee. It is the organization of this, in which WESSLING Hungary Kft., as the only independent laboratory, has been participating for eight years – said Tamás Szigeti, who also pointed out that decisions at the CCMAS conference are not made by voting, but on a consensus basis, therefore, a successful conference has a special significance.       


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