“This is a long game and CRN has been playing it for the past 11 years,” said James Griffiths, PhD, senior vice president if scientific and regulatory affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition.
For the past decade the Council for Responsible Nutrition – International has been presenting a scientific symposium for delegates attending the annual Codex Alimentarius (Codex) Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU). In 2020, the symposium was for the first time presented as a series of webinars because of the global pandemic, which prevented an in-person meeting.
Ponderous CODEX process
Griffiths said it takes a long time to influence any public policy body. And the CODEX meeting, being a United Nations of sorts when it comes to nutrition, is perhaps exceptional in that regard.
Delegates to these meetings often need to appear on the official minutes to justify trips taken at taxpayers’ expense. So Griffiths said part of the process is sitting through statements and speeches that function mostly as placeholders without losing sight of the ultimate goal, which is to nudge global public policy on nutrition toward changes that could result in a healthier world with a lower disease burden.
“The goal is to move the needle with regard to public policy,” Griffiths said. “We’re trying to encourage the delegates to do something in the public health area that can ultimately be of benefit to the population at large.”
Demographic bulge will need innovative solutions
The need to make changes in nutrition policy is becoming more pressing as the world enters an unprecedented era when populations in almost all countries are aging. Soon a ‘demographic bulge’ will present policy makers with hard choices in which there will be more elderly individuals with fewer younger people to care for them, and fewer wage earners to pay the taxes to support the whole enterprise.