Ensuring the health and well-being of American consumers, working to preserve market access for American agriculture producers, and protecting the integrity of our environment and natural resources are three of the office’s core missions. Our office works closely with a number of regulatory agencies to monitor food safety risks from imported products. We also support American farmers and the agricultural sector by dealing directly with trading partners and supporting negotiations to reduce or eliminate unfair barriers to trade related to food safety, animal health, and plant health.

Protecting Consumer Health and Preserving Market Access

Codex Alimentarius Commission

Part of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Codex Alimentarius is the international food standard setting body that seeks to protect consumers worldwide and ensure fair trade practices by developing food standards and guidelines based on scientific analysis. Codex standards are used as benchmarks for national food regulatory policy around the world, particularly in developing countries. As a member of the U.S. Codex Policy Committee, the State Department works with the U.S. Codex Office as well as other U.S. government agencies to facilitate global consensus building on standards to ensure safe food.

WTO Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures

Our office serves on the U.S. delegation to the WTO Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures, which meets three times per year in Geneva, Switzerland. There, the U.S. delegation advocates for improved market access for U.S. agricultural and food products, calls on other countries to abide by their WTO obligations, and defends U.S. agricultural and food safety policies. The delegation also meets individually with trading partners to discuss trade irritants in a less formal setting. The U.S. Trade Representative leads in WTO SPS Committee negotiations, and the Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, and Environmental Protection Agency also play an integral role.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future