The creation of the Pan American Commission for Food Safety (COPAIA, for its acronym in Spanish) was suggested by ministers of Health and Agriculture of the Americas, during the12th Inter-American Meeting, at Ministerial Level, on Health and Agriculture (RIMSA 12) in 2001, and formalized through the resolution CD43.R5 (c) of the 43th Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

The creation of the Commission was driven by the increase in outbreaks of foodborne diseases, the expansion of world trade in food and the advances in food production and processing technology. COPAIA is a collective and hemispheric effort by PAHO Member States which aims to achieve a clear understanding of the situation and search for approaches to reduce health risks through foods.

COPAIA’s main purpose is to help improve food safety throughout the entire food chain by sustaining the political will of the countries of the Region for adopting food safety programs and promoting coordination and integration with producers and consumers.
To this end, this high-level commission, integrated by Ministers of Health and Agriculture and producers’ and consumers’ representatives from the countries of the Americas, works along the following lines of action:

promotion of intersectoral coordination;

strengthening of food safety systems;

development of policies aimed at the modernization of food inspection;

promotion of integrated systems for of surveillance of foodborne diseases;

development of strategic alliances in education and social communication in food safety; 

promotion of the participation from Region’s countries in the Codex Alimentarius work.

The Veterinary Public Health Unit / Pan American Center for Foot and Mouth Disease (PANAFTOSA) of the Pan American Health Organization / World Health Organization is in charge of organizing the COPAIA 6 on July 24, jointly with the 12th meeting of the Hemispheric Committee for the Eradication of FMD (COHEFA 12) on July 24 and the Inter-Agency Forum "towards an integrated epidemiological surveillance" on July 25, in the context of RIMSA 12, 26 and 27 July of 2012. All meetings will be held in the Hotel Crowne Plaza Convention Center, in Santiago, Chile, thanks to the gracious offer of the Government of Chile, through their ministries of Health and Agriculture.