The 52nd Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues (CCPR) meeting was held virtually in 2021. Rebecca Fisher of Market Access Solutionz attended the global meeting of regulators and industry experts as part of the New Zealand delegation. Rebecca’s time to attend the virtual meetings of CCPR to represent the interests of NZ growers was made possible through the A Lighter Touch programme.
CCPR is the International Standard setting committee for pesticide residues. It is one of many Codex committees that operate to develop international standards, codes of practice and guidelines relating to food production and food safety. This meeting is important and has a direct impact on NZ growers because CCPR establishes policy relating to the trade of crops with pesticide residues and to set maximum residue limits (MRLs). Standards set at these meetings form the basis of NZ’s agrichemical residue legislation.
The Codex membership has a global reach and represents 99% of the world’s population with developing countries taking more of an active role in the Codex process. Being an active member of Codex helps NZ compete in world markets and improve food safety. This is important because Codex MRLs are recognised by many of NZ’s main trading partners and NZ is one of the few countries that automatically accepts Codex MRLs for imported produce. Additionally, CCPR sets policy that is generally incorporated into NZ’s policy for the establishment of MRLs. China is the host country and NZ is a key contributor to CCPR and Codex standards for crop protection products.
This meeting was cancelled in 2020 due to the Covid pandemic and shifted to online only. This is the first time that this meeting has been held online, with over 380 delegates in attendance from over 50 member countries, and 15 government and non-government organisations around the world and in different time zones.
Acceptance of Codex MRLs by importing countries is very important to growers of NZ export crops as it reduces complexity in complying with importing country requirements. If all importing countries accepted Codex MRLs, then NZ growers would only need to consider Codex MRLs when producing export crops. However, currently some of NZ’s key trading partners do not accept Codex MRLs. NZ’s contribution to CCPR is vitally important to continue to push for these countries to accept Codex and global standards.
NZ is fortunate that the Government (through the Ministry for Primary Industries) allows an industry delegate to attend, as many countries are only represented by government regulators. This is a privileged position and one that needs to be maintained to ensure that industry can continue to positively influence development of crop protection product policy and the setting of Codex MRLs. Acceptance of international policy is the most efficient system for NZ as we have limited resources to develop our own policies. At CCPR, policies are debated and receive the benefit of the engagement and scrutiny of multiple international experts.
The CCPR is one of the most active and productive committees in Codex and this year close to 400 MRLs were adopted. These are essential for supporting global crop production and international trade (especially for minor crops).
About 25% of these MRLs should directly benefit NZ growers, especially those that export to Asian markets that recognise Codex (such as China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, India, and Vietnam).
Achievements at this meeting include several new and prospective crop protection products that could be very useful for NZ growers are highlighted in the report. A Lighter Touch participants are encouraged to review these new control options as part of their crop protection strategies as they may be useful to trial and fill control gaps identified in A Lighter Touch Milestone 10.2 for new-age agrichemical registration projects.
The Codex Meeting Report, background papers and conference room documents can be found here