We congratule Mr. Guilherme Antonio da Costa Junior for the election, this Tuesday (18), with 56% of the votes, to be the next Chairperson of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC)!
Running against Mahamadou Sako from Mali, Costa was the first candidate put forth by the Brazilian Government for the role. Indeed, in July 2014, Mr. Costa was elected Vice-Chairperson of the CAC, with 134 votes out of 169 countries, which was also the first time Brazil composed the board. His candidacy, both then and particularly now, was highly supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply of Brazil (MAPA), as well as Brazilian Diplomatic representations both at the United Nations and at the World Trade Organization (WTO).
A veterinarian by profession specialized in food safety, Guilherme Costa is a Carrier Auditor of the MAPA with over 30 years experience in the sector. At MAPA, he was General Negotiation Coordinator at the WTO from 2005 to 2008 and director of the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Negotiations Department from 2008 to 2010, where he was responsible for bilateral and multilateral negotiations on food safety. He was also Agriculture Attaché for four years (2010-2014) in the Permanent Delegation of Brazil to the WTO and other economic organizations in Geneva (DELBRASOMC). Among its functions, as an agricultural attaché to the WTO, Costa participated in negotiations on issues related to the Committees on Agriculture, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, and Technical Barriers to Trade.
The election comes as a worldwide recognition of his concrete contributions to both Brazilian and global standards on food safety and protection of consumer health. At the same time, it must be pointed out that with this, Guilherme Costa joins José Graziano da Silva – Director-General of the FAO – and Rodrigo Azevêdo – Director-General of the WTO – as a trio of Brazilians reinforcing the country’s (potential) leading role in global agribusiness and trade, more generally, negotiations. It might also be an opportunity for help the country to restore the confidence on its own sanitary system.
Established in 1963 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), the CAC provides guidelines and recommendations for food safety, quality and fair trade to 188 member countries – and, indeed, even to non-members indirectly. It works on topics related to food labeling, food hygiene, pesticides, modern biotechnology, among others. In addition, it issues guidelines for the treatment of official inspection and certification systems in the import and export of food.