In September 2010, the framework was updated to cover a wider range of issues and a more detailed treatment of all aspects of food security. The WTO secretariat and other agencies involved in the task force contributed to the development of the framework. Facility of Standardization and Business Development To help developing countries comply with nutritional and health standards In July 2008, the task force developed its first framework for action, in which it presented its strategy and guiding principles and adopted a comprehensive approach to food security, including food availability, access, stability and use. The Codex Alimentarius is a collection of international food standards adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (the Codex). The code is headquartered in Rome and is jointly funded by FAO and WHO. The GATT agreement allows WTO members to apply exemptions to the free movement of goods to protect human, animal or plant life or health, provided they do not use these exemptions as disguised protectionism. The agreement on the application of health and plant health measures (SPS agreement) covers the application of food security rules and health and plant health rules. Food standards and trade go hand in hand to ensure safe, nutritious and sufficient food for a growing world population. This publication examines how the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the WTO are creating a framework to facilitate trade on the basis of internationally agreed food standards. “Food Trade” stresses the importance of governments participating in the definition of international food standards (through the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission) and in resolving food trade issues by the relevant WTO committees: the Committee on Health and Plant Health Measures and the Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade. The publication also highlights the importance of helping developing countries meet international food standards so that they can participate more effectively in food trade. The WTO is cooperating with eight other international organizations on an Agricultural Market Information System (MUAS). The system is used to detect abnormal market conditions that would affect food security and to develop well-informed and coordinated strategies to manage them.
Health and plant health measures, i.e. food security and animal health Since 2013, WTO members have agreed to negotiate and resolve the issue of public storage programmes for food security purposes on a sustainable basis. Under these programmes, developing countries buy and store food and distribute it to people in need. However, some of these programmes involve the support of farmers and are therefore seen as a trade distortion. In April 2008, following rising food prices, the WTO joined a high-level task force on the global food security crisis. The task force, chaired by the UN Secretary-General, is made up of leaders or other representatives of 22 international organizations, including the WTO and relevant parts of the UN secretariat. People are considered “food safe” when they have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to lead healthy and active lives. Work on food security in the WTO takes place in the Committee on Agriculture.