2008/730 Code of hygienic practice for pathogenic Vibrio spp. in fish and fishery products
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2008/730 Code of hygienic practice for pathogenic Vibrio spp. in fish and fishery products

By Thomas Madigan


The Codex Alimentarius Commission is a joint body of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO). It develops food standards, guidelines and related texts such as codes of practice under the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Program.

The Codex Working Group on the Code of Hygienic Practice for Vibrio spp. in Seafood was held in Kyoto, Japan on the 3rd to the 6th June, 2008 to develop the early draft of the Code.

Australia was represented on this Working Group because of the potential impact on industry (e.g. the requirement to use unnecessary post-harvest treatments and potential market access barriers due to requirements for implementation of the Code in export destinations).

As a result of attending this committee, the author of this report was able to provide specialist technical advice to the Australian delegation leader and identify areas of future research and development which will address data gaps in relation to any emerging Codex requirements. Furthermore, a list of recommendations for Australian input into the draft code has been provided.

Australia has already had significant input into the preparation of this Code. However, Australia needs to closely monitor the progress of the Code through the Codex process. Furthermore, if the bivalve shellfish Annex is approved, Australia should participate in this Working Group again.
There is currently little known about the prevalence of pathogenic Vibrio spp. in Australia. It may be beneficial to begin to address these data gaps before the introduction of this Code, particularly in the case of molluscs such as oysters, cockles and abalone and also in the case of warm water prawns.