Contact: Peggy Armstrong
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Move will help USDA fulfill its dual mission to expand agricultural exports and protect public health

(Washington, D.C. – September 8, 2017) The U.S. Department of Agriculture in May created its first undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs (TFAA) following a directive from Congress in the 2014 Farm Bill. Yesterday, the department announced that the U.S. Codex Office would move from the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to TFAA to improve the department’s coordination on trade and international activities.  

The U.S. Codex Office is responsible for ensuring U.S. government interests are reflected in the development of international food standards, guidelines and codes of practice by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, the standard-setting organization run jointly by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization.

“IDFA welcomes this timely move,” said Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association. “Placing the U.S. Codex office in the Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs area helps to ensure that Codex standard-setting activities will be founded on strong science, result in real public health benefits and facilitate fair trade of U.S. dairy products around the world.

“U.S. dairy product companies continue to face trade barriers in getting safe, nutritious dairy products into markets around the world due to foreign regulations that are often protectionist in nature and aren’t designed to truly protect public health,” Dykes added. “We look forward to working with the undersecretary and his staff on Codex and trade issues affecting agriculture and the U.S. dairy industry.”

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The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation's dairy manufacturing and marketing industries and their suppliers with a membership of nearly 525 companies within a $125-billion a year industry. IDFA is composed of three constituent organizations: the Milk Industry Foundation (MIF), the National Cheese Institute (NCI) and the International Ice Cream Association (IICA). IDFA's nearly 200 dairy processing members operate more than 600 manufacturing facilities and range from large multi-national organizations to single-plant companies. Together they represent more than 85 percent of the milk, cultured products, cheese, ice cream and frozen desserts produced and marketed in the United States.