An ISO technical committee that has developed nearly 780 International Standards for the food industry has been recognized through an award for superior performance, presented at the 34th ISO General Assembly, held in New Delhi, India, 21-23 September 2011.

For 2011, The Lawrence D. Eicher Leadership Award for excellence in creative and innovative standards development goes to ISO technical committee ISO/TC34, Food products.

From left: ISO/TC 34 Chair, Mr. François Falconnet; ISO President, Dr. Boris Aleshin, and ISO Vice-President (technical management), Mr. Jacob Holmblad.

The ISO President, Dr. Boris Aleshin, the ISO Vice-President (technical management), Mr. Jacob Holmblad, presented the award to Mr. François Falconnet, Chair of ISO/TC 34, and Secretary, Mme Sandrine Espeillac, and Twinned Secretary (see below) Ms. Carolina Figueiredo. Dr. Aleshin commented on the importance of one aspect of TC 34’s work – food safety, which is addressed by its ISO 22000 series of standards for food safety management.

From left: ISO/TC 34 Secretary, Mme Sandrine Espeillac; Twinned Secretary, Ms. Carolina Figueiredo; ISO President, Dr. Boris Aleshin, and ISO Vice-President (technical management), Mr. Jacob Holmblad.

“Every year,”he said, “unsafe food is responsible for deaths and illness around the world and so ensuring safe food supply chains is a priority. I am glad to say that since publication of ISO 22000 in 2005, use of the standard has increased rapidly both in numbers and across countries.

“However, the ISO 22000 series is one out of some 775 standards developed by this prolific committee whose work covers standardization in the field of human and animal foodstuffs, covering the food chain from primary production to consumption. These standards cover terminology, sampling, methods of test and analysis, product specifications, food and feed safety and quality management and requirements for packaging, storage and transportation.”

Fifty-one countries participate in TC 34 with another 57 as observers. The committee effectively coordinates its work through 15 subcommittees and four working groups. It displays a true desire to promote the involvement of developing countries, such as the twinned leadership of the committee by a developed country member, AFNOR, of France, and a developing country member, ABNT, of Brazil.

TC 34 makes significant efforts to make ISO more visible internationally through collaboration with international organizations such as the Codex Alimentarius Commission, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), with whom ISO signed a Memorandum of Understanding in July, and cooperation on joint standards with the International Dairy Federation, such as on detecting melamine in milk.

The ISO President concluded: “Not only is it clear that there is significant economic value in the standards developed by TC 34, they bring value to society by providing practical tools to support the objectives of the United Nations, such as those expressed during World Food Day.”

  • The Lawrence D. Eicher Leadership Award is named after the late Secretary-General of ISO from 1986 to 2002.