Challenges to developing countries after joining WTO: risk assessment of chemicals in food.Toxicology. 2004 May 20; 198(1-3):3-7.T
FAO/WHO encourages member countries to develop national food control measures based on risk assessment in order to assure proper protection level to consumers and facilitate fair trade. This is particularly important for developing countries as WTO members because it is clearly stated in the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) Agreement that: (a) SPS measures should be based on risk assessment techniques developed by relevant international organizations; and (b) Codex standards which is based on risk assessment are regarded as the international norm in trade dispute settlement. When conducting risk assessment on food chemicals (including additives and contaminants) in developing countries, in most cases it is not necessary to conduct their own hazard characterization because the ADIs or PTWIs of food chemicals developed by international expert groups (e.g. JECFA) are universally applicable and also developing countries do not have the resources to repeat those expensive toxicological studies. On the other hand, it is necessary to conduct exposure assessment in developing countries because exposure to food chemicals varies from country to country. This is not only crucial in setting national standards, but also very important for developing countries to participate in the process of developing Codex standards. In addition to food standard development, risk assessment is also useful in setting up priorities in imported food inspection and evaluating the success of various food safety control measures.