IDFA has established a new International Standards Task Force to address the recent proliferation of global standards affecting the dairy industry. Led by IDFA Vice President Allen Sayler, the task force will provide a forum for members to discuss standards developed by the Codex Alimentarius Commission and the International Standards Organization, and to guide IDFA's activities with these organizations.
"With the continued globalization of food trade, more and more importing countries and buyers of dairy products are adopting international food standards," Sayler said. "These standards have a direct impact on the acceptance of U.S. dairy products in the global marketplace and could affect the ability of companies to successfully export their products."
IDFA has been actively engaged in the standards development process of Codex Alimentarius Commission, a United Nations-supported organization focused on international food standards, for nearly 15 years. While the Codex dairy standards work is almost complete, several important standards have yet to be developed in the areas of food additives, food labeling, nutrition and microbiological criteria in foods.
Standards issued by the prominent private sector group, the International Standards Organization (ISO), are becoming more important in the global trade arena. As a result, IDFA plans to join selected ISO committees within the United States to represent the interests of the dairy industry in the standards development process.
Recent ISO efforts have reached beyond traditional standards for food product, quality and safety to areas such as social, environmental and cultural responsibility for food companies. Although these areas are normally handled by governments, many ISO standards are developed by groups of private consultants who also provide auditing and certification services to industry.
"It's important for food companies to get involved in this development process," Sayler said. "If we don't, others will decide our standards for us."
The new task force will work closely with IDFA's International Trade Committee, led by Katie Sparrow, IDFA manager of international affairs.
"We want to coordinate our activities to ensure that U.S. dairy exports have access to all markets," Sparrow said.
Members interested in joining the new task force may contact Sparrow at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 220-3507. An inaugural conference call will be held September 10, at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time.