US-based CRN set up its European subsidiary at the end of last year, with the aim of strengthening the group’s international efforts, particularly in the dissemination of science-based policy recommendations.
CRN-I’s first day-long scientific symposium – entitled Scientific Issues Related to Codex Alimentarius Goals – was held earlier this month just before the Codex Alimentarius Commission meeting, and addressed certain key industry issues such as science-based risk management and developing scientific standards for health claims.
According to Mark LeDoux, chairman of CRN and a founding board member of CRN-I, the group’s first event met expectations and provided “a forum for a productive conversation between international regulators and policy and nutrition experts”. He stressed that one of CRN-I’s responsibilities is to ensure that regulators and policy makers around the world have “opportunities to take part in peer-reviewed, science-focused discussions so they are able to consider other scientific perspectives during the policy-making process.”
Scientific basis for Codex
According to John Hathcock, Ph.D., CRN senior vice president of scientific and international affairs, the symposium underscores the need for a scientific basis for Codex decisions, and the group’s first event “achieved its goal of ensuring a productive and science-based, intellectual conversation took place that reframes critical issues facing the Codex delegates.”
Other speakers at the event included Arpad Somogyi, D.V.M, Ph.D, a senior regulatory toxicologist with significant experience in Codex and national regulatory agencies in Europe. Somogyi said that while Codex has made great progress in resolving international trade disputes about food safety, many unresolved questions still hamper free trade.
He stressed that Codex documents should be based primarily on scientific principles and evidence, and that their purpose should include both protection of the public health and assurance of fair practices in food trade.
Another speaker, Jeffrey Blumberg, Ph.D., professor of antioxidants at Tufts University, addressed the importance of recognized differentiation between evidence-based nutrition and the commonly applied procedures in evidence-based medicine. He urged for a recognition of the differences when regulators evaluate supplement research.
Summaries, speaker presentations and abstracts from the symposium are available here.
CRN-I said it plans to submit the proceedings from the symposium for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.