UN Making Food Safer; Smaller Companies Feel at Risk

June 25, 2009

A new United Nations report may have some small food companies feeling left in the cold. The World Health Organization (WHO; Geneva) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO; Rome) wrote a report that warns of the adverse effects that may occur impending food safety standards put on smaller companies.

A new United Nations report may have some small food companies feeling left in the cold. The World Health Organization (WHO; Geneva) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO; Rome) wrote a report that warns of the adverse effects that may occur impending food safety standards put on smaller companies.

The report says that processors and exporters have found it difficult to deal with “new and overlapping requirements,” with smaller companies having neither the time nor the infrastructure to compete with their richer, more-able counterparts.

The report comes in response to recent U.S. and world food scares involving pistachios, peanuts, and alfalfa sprouts, says the Reuters report.

The report is scheduled to be released next week at a Codex Alimentarius Commission (CODEX, Rome) meeting. CODEX is a joint body of WHO and FAO that establishes international food safety standards.

Various new safety standards of “both a regulatory and private nature” are expected to impose problems on smaller food companies, especially those in poorer nations, according the report.

"To the extent that there are economies of scale in compliance and/or larger firms are better able to access finance and other resources, compliance processes are likely to induce processes of consolidation and concentration," said the study.

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