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Ag Secretary Pauses Plan to Move Codex

(Dan Flynn – Food Safety News)

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, for the moment, has backed off his controversial plan to transfer the U.S. Codex Office, which works on international food standards, from USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service to a new trade office in the department.

In a letter to Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-KS, Perdue said there are two planned changes at USDA that “merit further discussion” because of issues raised by critics. Those two changes are moving Codex away from the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the proposed merger of the Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS) with the Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA).

With the office of the Under Secretary for Food Safety still vacant after after more than 44 months, a USDA reorganization plan put forward in May by Perdue proposed turning the U.S. Codex operation over to a the recently created Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs (TFAA) office. Among the stakeholders who’ve strenuously objected to the proposed reorganization is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which does most of the USA’s heavy lifting at the 188-member international Codex Alimentarius Commission. Click here to read more.

Related: Trade Agreements, Harmonized Standards Should be Priority, Says FAO Chief (Food & Beverage News)