Key topics of discussion included the prevention of food loss and food waste

The INC took part in the 78th Session of the UNECE Working Party on Agricultural Quality Standards in Geneva, Switzerland, from November 13-15, 2023. The INC was represented at the event by Mr. Michael Waring, Chairman, Mr. Pino Calcagni, Chairman of the Sustainability, Scientific and Government Affairs Committee, Mrs. Goretti Guasch, Executive Director, and Ms. Irene Gironès, Statistics and Technical Projects Manager.

The meeting served as a venue to assess the work of the Working Party and the Specialized Sections and highlight the significance of the standards in promoting global commerce in agricultural products.

Mrs. Guasch reported on the INC’s recent activities to promote nuts and dried fruit consumption, including dissemination campaigns and funding for health research. She also made the case for removing trade barriers on nuts and dried fruit. Mrs. Guasch expressed the INC’s strong support for the UNECE standards as the internationally accepted minimum quality standards. She also reported that, as previously agreed in a meeting of the UNECE Specialized Section on Standardization of Dry and Dried Produce, a small group led by the INC is developing a code of good practice to reduce food loss and waste in nuts and dried fruits.

Mr. Calcagni added that the INC is proud of its long-term collaboration with UNECE and highlighted that the sector is now approaching the goal of 3 billion consumers worldwide. During a discussion on the use and impact of the Agricultural Quality Standards, Mr. Calcagni underscored the need for capacity building in non-EU countries that are becoming importers. The INC also offered support in assessing the use and impact of UNECE standards worldwide.

The Working Party approved the Standard for inshell pecans, Standard for pecan kernels and Revised standard for cashew kernels submitted by the Specialized Section on Dry and Dried Produce. In addition, the meeting included a round table on the prevention and reduction of food loss and waste, and the role of digitalization in ensuring efficient agricultural trade, with a focus on the needs and solutions for national inspection bodies.

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