Date: Aug 01, 2017
This article oringally appeared in World Food Regulation Review and is reprinted with permission.
The 40th session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC40) was held in Geneva from 17 to 22 July 2017. CAC40 adopted many new and revised international food standards, some with last minute editorial and substantive amendments. Furthermore, CAC40 discussed the possible use of a new Committee as a pilot experience pushed by the CAC Secretary. But they faced reluctance from many delegations. CAC40 elected a new Bureau, with a new Chairperson from Brazil (previously vice chairperson) and three new vice-chair persons from Lebanon, Indonesia and notably from the United Kingdom. CAC also discussed more strategic objectives, including relationships with other International Organizations and private-public partnership for sustaining scientific advice (risk assessment) programs to CAC’s food safety risk management work. CAC40 also discussed intensively the discontinuation of work on a Codex standard for processed cheese and approved two fundamental new work projects on antimicrobial resistance.
The Codex Alimentarius Commission annual meeting is the ultimate and exclusive moment where food standards and related texts (i.e. ‘norms’) are adopted and other strategic discussions are held once a year
As announced in the last issue of World Food Regulation Review, the 40th session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission gathered for six days in Geneva, to adopt many new food standards as the outcome of the several years of thorough technical work from about 20 specialized Codex Alimentarius committees (food additives, contaminants, veterinary drugs, methods of analysis, hygiene, vertical food products committees). CAC40 was also very appealing because debates raged on some issues. Like the Codex secretary’s self-initiative to create a new Committee on Standard Advancement, proposed to be working under very special procedures, yet not clearly defined, and to address controversial issues not resolved by specialized committees or committees working by correspondence. CAC40 also took some strong positions on scientific advice, such as the need to active the already created Joint FAO/WHO Expert Meeting on Nutrition, and like the unique point of scientific advice on nutrition and baby foods, shadowing the attempt of the World Health Organization (WHO) to keep its Nutrition Guidance Expert Advisory Group (NUGAG) as the primary source of nutritional advice. CAC40 also praised the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for the fact that it has passed a resolution permanently to establish a World Food Safety Day This has yet to be approved by the World Health Assembly to become effective. CAC40 also approved Chile’s request that relevant Codex specialized bodies would consider discussing issues related to “biopesticides”, “biostimulants” and “biofertilizers”.
Adoption of new and revised standards, guidelines and recommended codes of practices and other recommendations by CAC40 developed since July 2016 by the Codex Alimentarius specialized bodies (i.e. the Codex Alimentarius committees and ad hoc intergovernmental task forces)
The adoption by CAC40 of new international standards, which were put forward by the various specialized bodies of the CAC, went smoothly. However, several texts expected for approval were subject to last minute editorial or more substantive amendments, demonstrating the importance and unpredictability of such CAC annual meetings on final standards texts. Some standards and other decisions were also adopted by a leading strong departing chairperson, despite some extensive discussions – not necessarily plainly reflected in the CAC40 report, and about which this article provides some on-the-spot highlights – and some countries’ reservations.
Adoption of new Codex Alimentarius international standards (i.e. norms) with no discussion, possible future endorsement of some parts, and minor amendments
The list of new or revised international Codex Alimentarius standards (i.e. norms) which have been adopted by CAC40, with no comments or reservations raised during the session, may be found in Frame 1 at the end of this article.
Adoption of new Codex Alimentarius international standards (i.e. norms) with some discussions, amendments or reservations
The list of new and revised international Codex Alimentarius standards (i.e. norms) adopted by CAC40, with some interesting changes or discussions, may be found in Frame 2 at the end of this article.
Adoption of some standards mid-way from final adoption with some CAC recommendations
CAC40 advanced to the next steps for further discussions for (i) a risk-management recommendation (i.e. RMR) for gentian violet noting reservations of Ecuador, Honduras, Peru, the Philippines, and the USA; (ii) Africa regional standards for (a) fermented cooked cassava based products and (b) Gnetum Spp Leaves, while assigning the task to the Secretariat to amend the sections on Food Hygiene and Contaminants in accordance to CAC procedural manual format on Codex commodity standards and also align the overall format with other Codex commodity standards on processed fruits and vegetables; (iii) quinoa, while asking CCCF to consider including the ML for lead in the Codex General Standard on Toxins and Contaminants in Food (GSTCF – CODEX STAND 193-1995) and creating an electronic working group co-chaired by Bolivia and the USA to complete the standard; (iv) addition of palm oil with high oleic acid (OXG) to the Standard on Named Vegetable Oils (CODEX STAN 210-1999); (v) MLs for lead processed tomato concentrates and canned brassica vegetable; (vi) revision of the classification of food and feed on seeds for beverages and sweets; and (vii) Near East regional standard for mixed zaatar. As expected – and previously announced in the World Food Regulation Review June edition – the MRL for the recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST) is still held at step 8 to allow further time to facilitate consensus while recognizing the validity of JECFA’s risk assessments as the sound scientific basis for its deliberations on rBST hormones in animal production.
Revocation and discontinuation of some existing norms or norms under development upon recommendations from specialized Codex bodies (e.g. processed cheese)
CAC40 discontinued or revoked on-going or existing Codex standards as consequences of adopted standards and related text at CAC40.
Other discussions on standards developed by correspondence or with a specific Committee adjourned sine die (processed cheese, mozzarella, and non-centrifuged dehydrated sugar cane juice)
Processed Cheese. The discontinuation of the work on the Codex Standard on Processed Cheese was one of the most active items discussed during this CAC40. While the EU (28 countries), USA and New Zealand indicated (i) the amount of work placed on this standard development since 1994, (ii) the dead-end in finding workable solutions and consensus, and (iii) their support to discontinue the work (especially because also the CCMMP was to be adjourned sine die by CAC40 as well), it is worth noting that a significant number of delegations (including Algeria, Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Honduras, Jamaica, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Sudan, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay) expressed strong reservations arguing that i) such products were widely traded and consumed, particularly in developing countries, and the absence of a standard could lead to a health risk to consumers, including vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly; ii) members would have to establish their own national standards; and iii) an innovative approach could be sought, such as requesting FAO and WHO to gather information and collaborate with further partners, to find a solution (suggestion from Argentina). It was a perfect example of a very delicate situation to be managed by the Chairperson of CAC40 and where the notion of “consensus-based decisions” of the CAC may be further qualified and be qualified to the present case as a “flexible” concept, given the number of reservations expressed.
Sugar Cane Juice. CAC40 did not follow the recommendation from CCEXEC73 to discontinue work on a Codex Standard for Non-Centrifuged Dehydrated Sugar Cane Juice which was simply based on the fact that the Codex specialized body working by correspondence (i.e. CCS) was not able to complete the work within the assigned timeframe which was already extended from 2013 to 2017, because of lack of consensus on definition, scope and quality criteria for this commodity. However, due to the strong opposition of producing countries of this commodity (e.g. Sudan, Chile, Ecuador, Trinidad and Tobago) and only one support expressed for the discontinuation (i.e. Japan), CAC40 agreed to give the host country of CCS, i.e. Colombia, one more (and last) year to resolve all the outstanding issues.
Mozzarella. Although technological justification for the use of preservatives and anticaking agent for surface treatment of mozzarella with high moisture content should normally lay in the primary responsibility of the Codex specialized body on milk and milk products (approach favored in session by USA, EU (28 countries), Uruguay and Argentina). CAC40 agreed to follow a pragmatic approach and defer that work to the specialized body on food additives, i.e. CCFA. This approach was generally supported by Egypt, noting that experts on milk and milk products shall be consulted in preparation of CCFA future discussion (March 2018). New Zealand pleaded for such a pragmatic approach (and therefore an exception to the ‘rules’), consistent with CAC40 decisions to discontinue the work on processed cheese and adjourn sine die the CCMMP (no work left on its program). CAC40 chairperson and the Codex secretariat also noted CAC40 failed attempt to create a pilot “super committee” which could have been tested as a pilot with that task (and other tasks such as processed cheese or non-centrifuged dehydrated sugar cane juice).
Failed attempt of the Codex Secretary to convince the Codex Alimentarius Commission to create a new type of “pilot” Committee, despite support from the Codex Executive Committee
CAC40 considered new ways of working in establishing a new type of Codex body which would have been tasked to handle all the issues not resolved by existing Codex Committees working by correspondence or non-active Committee (i.e. adjourned sine die).
This initiative was carefully prepared by the Secretary of the Codex Alimentarius Commission and gained support by the CCEXEC session. However, unexpectedly, the proposal faced an unusual no-go by the CAC40 who did not, at this stage, agree to embark in such an experiment to develop a kind of omnibus committee or “super committee”, named accidentally “Codex Committee on Standard Development”. The Codex Secretary proposal’s starting point was original in the sense that such a Committee would work “electronically” (i.e. by correspondence); would not be hosted by any chairing country, would meet physically only when needed and would focus on all the issues which could not have been resolved by other committees; primarily those working by correspondence already (e.g. on sugars; cereals, pulses and legumes; milk and milk products; mineral and bottled waters; cocoa and chocolate products) or issues in an apparent dead-end. The Codex Secretary tried to reassure delegations that the output of the “pilot committee” would be subject to CCEXEC and CAC oversight and the idea was primarily to test a new mechanism, getting out from known paths of working through traditional Codex meetings hosted in person on a yearly basis.
It was a perfect example that there is no done deal in any Codex meetings, including CAC session. Panama, India, Brazil, the African Union, Argentina, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Chile and moreover Cameroon ranges from polite support to the proposal while raising pragmatic questions on the mobilization of proper experts in the various matters to be placed on that pilot committee agenda, availability and announcement of the agenda of the sessions of such a committee, limited resources to use electronic means only to proceed with such a work and despite reassurance about new IT communications means mistrust in terms of transparency and inclusiveness, or preliminary consultation of the CCGP to develop clear criteria and procedure under which such a new Codex unidentified flying object (UFO) would operate. The idea was however supported by New Zealand, the EU (28 countries), the Philippines and Norway, and mildly by the USA, i.e. countries which may have some interests due to announced or present inactivity of the committees. Those countries used to chair or budgetary constraints to hold or attend such committees in the future. Cameroon made a memorable intervention in tackling the proposal and stating that the CAC would not judge the Codex secretary on his capacity to self-suggest such innovations.
After a long list of interventions, CAC40 finally agreed to:
· Task the Codex Secretariat to prepare a more detailed proposal, highlighting the Terms of reference, the modalities of working and possible associated costs implications for countries and the Codex budget of such a Codex UFO committee for distribution for comments and consideration by CCEXEC75 (June/July 2018) and discussion and decision (on the pilot) at CAC41 (July 2018)
· Task the Codex Secretariat to prepare a refined document to analyze the advantages (pros) and disadvantages (cons) of the various options of new ways of working as presented and discussed by the CCEXEC73, including CCEXEC73 own recommendations, for consideration at CCEXEC75 and CAC41 with the understanding that such a document could be revised and based on the CAC41 future discussions and then be sent to the CCGP for further in-depth review in 2019.
New work on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Codex standards and related texts
As previously described in WFFR June issue, CAC40 endorsed with new work on (i) the revision of the existing Codex Alimentarius Code of Practice to Minimize and Contain Antimicrobial Resistance adopted in 2005 and (ii) the development of a new Codex Guidance on “Integrated Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance”, based on the recommendations from the physical working group chaired by the United Kingdom and co-chaired by Australia, the Netherlands and the United States of America, as endorsed by CCEXEC73. This task will be the primary responsibility of the ad hoc international Codex Task Force on AMR, chaired by the Republic of Korea to be held 27 Nov. – 1 Dec. 2017 in Korea. To expedite the work within a very tight time frame (i.e. by mid-November 2017), CAC40 further agreed to established two dedicated electronic working groups, respectively chaired by the United States of America and co-chaired by China, Kenya and the United Kingdom on above proposal (i) and chaired by the Netherlands and co-chaired by Chile, China and New Zealand. Both eWGs would work in English and Spanish.
CAC40 also approved many new works put forward by its Codex specialized bodies and consistent with the recommendations of the CCEXEC73. More detailed information will be found in CAC40 report (see infra).
Relation of Codex Alimentarius with other international organizations such as (i) UN and UN-alike OIE, IPPC, IAEA, WTO, UNECE, OECD, (ii) intergovernmental OIV, IOC and (iii) semi-private ISO1.
The various organizations described their activities with relevance to the Codex Alimentarius food standard-setting program. Notably, the WTO representative indicates that the TBT Committee was interested in reviewing the exponential and unharmonized development of national front of pack nutrition labelling regulations (although based on a health argument related to “healthy eating”) as they may constitute - by definition - non-tariff barriers to trade. Also, the ISO representative announced the revision of the food safety and quality private standard ISO 22000 in parallel with the CCFH revision of the Codex General Principles on Food Hygiene (CAC/RCP 1). The other organizations defended their own fields of dedicated expertise and their own development of dedicated standards, recommendations and guidelines, which may complement adequately to Codex standards.
FAO/WHO supports to Codex Alimentarius on (i) scientific risk assessments, (ii) capacity building and trust fund for participation to Codex Alimentarius meetings for countries with limited resources
CAC40 noted that that the resources allocated by FAO and WHO to the joint expert committees providing independent scientific risk assessment advice to Codex standard setting bodies was secured, except for JEMNU, as indicated clearly by FAO. The USA expressed strong concerns and a willingness to support JEMNU work. WHO representative called upon country delegations to liaise with their country representatives in WHO meetings, especially the World Health Assembly in order to convince WHO to allocate more resources to the regular budget of the Codex Alimentarius Commission as well as to scientific advice committees, such as JEMNU. Another WHO representative pointed out also that in return the Codex Alimentarius Commission shall strive in taking account international commitment taken by WHO member countries in event like ICN2 or the World Health Assembly resolutions in relation to nutrition policies and promotion of healthier food choices through appropriate information to the consumer.
CAC40 elected and appointed new bureau, Kazakhstan as the new regional coordinating county for CCEURO, and Australia and the United States as new country members elected on a regional basis: all members of the strategic CCEXEC committee
CAC40 elected its new bureau, i.e. Mr Guilherme Antonio da Costa Jr. from Brazil as the new Chair of the CAC (he was previously vice-chair of the CAC) and Mr Purwiyatno Hariyadi from Indonesia, Ms Mariam Eid from Lebanon and Mr Steve Wearne from the United Kingdom as its two three new vice-chairs.
Finally, as announced in WFFR June edition, Kazakhstan was confirmed as appointed chair country of the FAO/WHO (Codex) regional coordinating committee for “Europe”. The other five regional coordinating countries were reappointed as Kenya, India, Chile, Iran, and Vanuatu.
Also, the USAwas elected on a regional basis for the “North America” Codex region, alike Australia for the “South West Pacific” Codex region and Egypt for the “Near East region”. The other five Codex member countries elected on a geographical basis were re-elected as Nigeria, Malaysia, Norway, Mexico and Lebanon. All these countries will attend CCEXEC sessions as members, along with the countries chairing the above six Codex (FAO/FAO) coordinating committees, and their advisors. CCEXEC sessions are chaired by the CAC Chair and its three vice-chairs.
Other matters related to budget, work program, strategic objectives and other issues
Finally, CAC40 noted Chile’s proposal to discuss within the Codex system of concepts and definition described as “biofertilizers”, “biostimulants” and “biopesticides” and (i) acknowledged the importance of the issue and the support for the proposal from Chile; and (ii) recommended that Chile submit a discussion paper for consideration by CCFL, CCPR and CCCF. In the absence of any support document put forward by Chile to CAC40, it is not totally clear what types of products or agriculture practices are at stake and what kind of impact it may have on the food chain and possible presence of residues in foods Chile wants Codex to regulate any further than now. Future will tell, once Chile’s discussion paper is made available for review in advance to next CCFL, CCPR and CCCF sessions.
CAC40 endorsed most the recommendations as put forward by CCEXEC73 and more details about the discussions, reports and meetings for the forthcoming year will be found in the CAC40 official report to be available at www.fao.org/fao-who-codexalimentarius/meetings-reports/en/ at the time this article is published.
Codex (food/commodity/vertical) standards adopted
Annex on Canned Pineapples (for inclusion in the Standard for Certain Canned Fruits (CODEX STAN 319-2015))
Annexes for Certain Quick Frozen Vegetables (for inclusion in the Standard for Quick Frozen Vegetables (CODEX STAN 320-2015)) Adopted (subject to endorsement of labelling provisions by CCFL)
Amendment to the Scope of the Standard for Certain Canned Fruits (CODEX STAN 319-2015)
Amendments to the Food Additive Provisions in Codex Standards for Processed Fruits and Vegetables, i.e., Standards for Canned Chestnuts and Canned Chestnut Puree (CODEX STAN 145-1985), Pickled Fruits and Vegetables (CODEX STAN 260-2007), Jams, Jellies and Marmalades (CODEX STAN 296-2009), Canned Applesauce (CODEX STAN 17-1981), Canned Fruit Cocktail (CODEX STAN 78-1981), Canned Tropical Fruit Salad (CODEX STAN 99-1981), Pickled Cucumbers (CODEX STAN 115-1981), Kimchi (CODEX STAN 223-2001), Canned Stone Fruits (CODEX STAN 242-2003).
Asia Regional Standard for Laver Products (subject to endorsement of labelling provisions by CCFL)
Amendments to Asia Regional Standards, i.e. Standards for Tempe (CODEX STAN 313R-2013), Chilli Sauce (CODEX STAN 306R-2011) and Non-Fermented Soybean Products (CODEX STAN 322R-2015)
Latin American Regional Standard for Yacon (subject to endorsement of labelling provisions by CCFL)
Amendments to the sections on flavorings of various CCNFSDU Standards (i.e. Standards for Canned Baby Foods (CODEX STAN 73-1981), Processed Cereal-Based Foods for Infants and Young Children (CODEX STAN 74-1981), Follow-up Formula (CODEX STAN 156-1987), and Guidelines on Formulated Complementary Foods for Older Infants and Young Children (CAC/GL 8-1991)) and various CCFO standards (i.e. Standards for Edible Fats and Oils not Covered by Individual Standards (CODEX STAN 19-1981) (Section 3.3), Named Vegetable Oils (CODEX STAN 210-1999) (Section 4.1), and Fat Spreads and Blended Spreads (CODEX STAN 256-2007) (Section 4.6).
Amendment to Section 2 in the Appendix of the Standard for Named Vegetable Oils (CODEX STAN 210-1999) with fatty acid range of crude rice bran oil.
Revision to the Codex Standard for Olive Oils and Olive Pomace Oils (CODEX STAN 33- 1981) with revised limits of Campesterol
Revision to the Standard for Named Vegetable Oils (CODEX STAN 210-1999) with revised quality parameters for peanut oil
All Food Additive Provisions of the Codex General Standard for Food Additives (GSFA) (CODEX STAN 192-1995) developed by CCFA were adopted with only one non-controversial amendment referencing to revised note NN10 “For use in products conforming to the Standard for Fermented Milks (CODEX STAN 243-2003) at 10,000 mg/kg” to be associated with the provision of Diacetyltartaric and fatty acid esters of glycerol (INS 472e), as per the recommendation made by the Codex Executive Committee, held prior to CAC40 (i.e. CCEXEC73).
Revised Food Additives Provisions of the GSFA related to the Alignment of the Standards for Frozen Fish Products and of the Standards for Certain Canned Citrus Fruits (CODEX STAN 254- 2007), Preserved Tomatoes (CODEX STAN 13-1981), Processed Tomato Concentrates (CODEX STAN 57-1981 ) and Table Olives(CODEX STAN 66-1981) and the EDTA Provisions of the Standard for Canned Shrimps or Prawns (CODEX STAN 37-1981) and related revised Food Additives Sections of the Standards for Preserved Tomatoes (CODEX STAN 13-1981), Processed Tomato Concentrates (CODEX STAN 57-1981), Quick Frozen Fin-Fish, Uneviscerated and Eviscerated (CODEX STAN 36-1981), Quick Frozen Shrimps or Prawns(CODEX STAN 92- 1981), Quick Frozen Lobsters (CODEX STAN 95- 1981), Quick Frozen Blocks of Fish Fillets (CODEX STAN 165-1989), Quick Frozen Fish Fillet (CODEX STAN 190-1995), Quick Frozen Fish Sticks (Fish Fingers), Fish Portions and Fish Fillets – Breaded and in Batter (CODEX STAN 166-1989), and Fresh and Quick Frozen Raw Scallop Products (CODEX STAN 315-2014).
Codex Near East Regional Standard for Doogh (subject to endorsement of labelling and additive provisions by CCFL and CCFA respectively).
Methods of Analysis for Provisions in relevant Codex Commodity Standards (previously endorsed by CCMAS)
Amendment to Section 2 and revised Appendix to the Standard for Named Vegetable Oils (CODEX STAN 210-1999) with addition of a Fatty Acid Range for Crude Rice Bran Oil.
Recommended Codes of (Hygienic or Good) Practice adopted:
Asia Regional Code of Hygienic Practice for Street-Vended Foods in Asia
Annex on Ergot and Ergot Alkaloids in cereal grains to be added as new annex to the Code of Practice for the Prevention and Reduction of Mycotoxin Contamination in Cereals (CAC/RCP 51-2003))
Code of Practice for the Prevention and Reduction of Arsenic Contamination in Rice
Guidelines and related texts adopted:
Amendment to the List of Codex Specifications for Food Additives (CAC/MISC 6) including the updated list of Codex Alimentarius approved JECFA specifications for the Identity and Purity of Food Additives and an important amendment to the Introduction of the List of Codex Specifications for Food Additives (CAC/MISC 6) on food additives used in the processing of food additives or for their ‘standardization’ or stability.
Revision of the Classification of Food and Feed for several Vegetable Commodity Groups
Revision of the Classification of Food and Feed for Grasses
Table 2 on examples of representative commodities for vegetable commodity groups (for inclusion in the Principles and Guidance on the Selection of Representative Commodities for the Extrapolation of MRLs for Pesticides to Commodity Groups) (CAC/GL 84-2012)
Table 3 on examples of representative commodities for grasses (for inclusion in the Principles and Guidance on the Selection of Representative Commodities for the Extrapolation of MRLs for Pesticides to Commodity Groups) (CAC/GL 84-2012)
Guidelines on Performance Criteria for Methods of Analysis for the Determination of Pesticide Residues in food and feed
MRLs (residues pesticides/veterinary drugs), ML (contaminants) or MPL (food additives) adopted:
MRLs for Ivermectin (in Cattle Fat, Kidney, Liver, Muscle) (based on 81st JECFA recommendations) and for Teflubenzuron (in Salmon Fillet, Muscle) (based on 81st JECFA recommendations)
Amendment to the MLs for Lead and Arsenic in Edible Fats and Oils (Fish Oils) (CODEX STAN 193-1995)
Other CAC recommendations or statements or amendments to the CAC Procedural Manual adopted:
Amendment to the Nutritional risk analysis principles and guidelines for application to the work of the Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses, noting the broad support for the recognition of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Meeting on nutrition (JEMNU) as a primary source of scientific advice to CCNFSDU together with FAO and WHO and further acknowledging the offer of financial support from the United States of America to the work of JEMNU. It should be noted that WHO still advocates NUGAG work as a primary source
Amendments to the Principles for the establishment of Codex methods of analysis in the CAC procedural manual while noting the comments expressed regarding to the need for consultation on the conversion of Type II and Type III methods to methods criteria and on the application of Type IV methods and their possible upgrading related to matters for discussion in CCMAS and further noting that all methods of analysis and methods criteria are always circulated for comments and endorsement by the pertinent Codex specialized body (i.e. CCMAS).
Codex (food/commodity/vertical) standards adopted with discussion
Codex Standard for Dairy Permeate Powders adopted. However, quite substantive and last minute amendments were proposed by New Zealand during CAC40, as the host country of CCMMP and as the Chair country of that standard development by correspondence. Since the standard explicitly excluded acid whey as a raw material, New Zealand argued there was no technical justification for the use of anticaking agents in these products. Therefore they recommended to amend (i) Section 4.1 of the standard on Processing aids in keeping only the second paragraph making a general reference to the Codex Guidelines on Substances used as Processing Aids (CAC/GL 75-2010). They also recommended deleting the first paragraph (referring to anticaking agents used as processing aids) as well as the related footnote which was providing examples. New Zealand also suggested amending Section 7.1 about the Name of the food, to reflect the name used by different countries with the following text inserted before the current labelling provision to state “Where appropriate in the country of sale, the name may be supplemented by the designation “lactose-rich deproteinized powder”, the blank being filled with the term dairy, whey or milk, as appropriate to the nature of the product.” India welcomed the amendment to the name of the products, which addressed its concerns, but reiterated its view (and official reservations) that the use of anticaking agents should be permitted in dairy permeate powders. It is important to note that the provisions on labelling, food additives and methods of analysis of this standard are still to be endorsed by next sessions of the CCFL, CCFA and CCMAS respectively and should those committees be of a different opinion than CAC40 and New Zealand proposed amendments, the standard may then be revisited next year by CAC41.
Additional or revised nutrient reference values for labelling purposes in the Codex Guidelines on Nutrition Labelling (CAC/GL 2-1985) – A] Vitamin E (NRV-R and conversion factor for the dietary equivalents), noting that the NRV-R could be reviewed and revised once new evidence become available. No reservations placed but strong comments from Malaysia, China, Indonesia and two observer organizations who did not support in the first place – before compromising with - the adoption of 1 mg alpha-tocopherol as the dietary equivalent for vitamin E and the NRV-R of 9 mg as it was based on alpha-tocopherol only, and proposed that this be returned to CCNFSDU for further consideration to consider new scientific evidence on other isomers of tocopherol. CAC40 also refused Malaysia’s proposal to add a clarification footnote indicating that the NRV for vitamin E and conversion factor for the dietary equivalents would be reviewed after two years to take into account all available data and new evidence on the contributions of all forms of vitamin E, consistent with the German CCNFSDU Chair and the WHO representative dismissal to the proposal. B] Vitamin D (NRV-R) of 5–15 µg with views expressed by two observer organizations that the value for vitamin D was too low for human needs based on scientific evidence indicating that much higher levels were required (i.e. 20–25 µg was the suggested range).
Codex Africa Regional Standard for Unrefined Shea Butter adopted. However, consistent with CCEXEC73 recommendations, (i) the Codex secretariat will align the format of the adopted standard with those wordings required and set for any Codex commodity standard by the CAC procedural manual on relevant food hygiene. The contaminants sections and the format of the standard itself will be revisited at the next CCAFRICA session, based on a revised format to be prepared by the Codex Secretariat in advance to CCAFRICA23 in order to align the adopted standard to other adopted Codex commodity standards for fats and oils. It is quite interesting also to note this move of CAC – and probably setting a recent past precedent – in adopting such a Codex (regional) commodity standard for an intermediate and unrefined food ingredient.
Codex Standards for Cumin, Thyme, and Black, White and Green Pepper adopted. However, these standards have been subject to thorough exchanges during CAC40 session. It was supposed to be a done deal based on recommendations for adoption by CCEXEC73. However, many concerns were expressed. On the three standards, the USA raised issues with defect levels related to the quality factors set in section 3.2 of each standard, and requested those sections be returned to the Codex specialized body on spices and culinary herbs (CCSCH) for further consideration. Many delegations objected firmly to this approach, noting existing corresponding ISO standard (for cumin only). Other numerous delegations in favor of USA point of view noted the lack of applicability of quality parameters such as visible mold contamination. They challenged the methods for the determination of mammalian excreta from rodents/mammalians in whole and powdered cumin which may lead to high levels of such rodent/mammalian contamination. As a compromise, and noting the comment by the India Chair of CCSCH that a group standard is under development as a chapeau to these individual commodity standards, CAC40 agreed that the editorial discussed amendments would be subject to a proposal from the Codex Secretariat for consideration at the next session of the CCSCH for the three standards based on US comments. The standard on black, white and green pepper was subject to the reservations of the EU (28 countries), Switzerland and Turkey, as the EU, supported by Switzerland and Turkey also reiterated its reservations expressed at the last CCSCH on the use of Sulphur Dioxide in black, green and white pepper since there was no technological justification for its use as a food additive in green pepper.
Codex Standard on Fish Oils adopted with reservation of Chile, despite unanimous support at last CCFO meeting. Chile indeed continued to express strong reservations on the applicability of the fatty acids profile defined in the standard to guarantee the authenticity and traceability of fish oils in international trade, which would result from the adoption of such a standard. The standard was developed by correspondence under the chairmanship responsibility of Switzerland, which intervened during the CAC40 to support final adoption, while noting that CCFO also decided to monitor the application of the standard in terms of the conformity of named fish oils with its requirements, especially the fatty acid profile, and its effects on trade. This was with a view to addressing some of the technical difficulties and convey concerns expressed by Chile and noted by CCFO to CCFICS regarding the authenticity of fish oils when it comes to export certifications and import inspections.
Recommended Codes of (Hygienic or Good) Practice adopted with discussion
Revision of the Code of Hygienic Practice for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables (CAC/RCP 53-2003) with amendment to the paragraph 19 of the text reading as follows: “The Code of Practice concerning source-directed measures to reduce contamination of food with chemicals (CAC/RCP 49-2001) should be taken into consideration in determining which fruits and vegetables to grow, since different crops absorb heavy metals at varying rates.” Some delegations expressed the view that the paragraph shall be reviewed by the specialized Codex body on contaminants instead (i.e. CCCF), but the text was adopted and amended with no further reservation.
Code of practice for the prevention and reduction of mycotoxin contamination in spices adopted with amendment in section 2.3.2, to add a reference to the General Standard for Irradiated Foods (CODEX STAN 106-1983) to improve the clarity of the provision.
Principles and Guidelines for monitoring the performance of National Food Control Systems adopted with support of a large number of delegations, including EU (28 countries), USA, Peru, Tanzania, African Union, Papua New Guinea, Japan, Fiji, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia. Brazil, supported by Morocco, objected strongly and intervened many times to seek the deletion of Appendix B of these Guidelines arguing that the list of explanatory examples would not fit in an international standard and shall rather be posted on the Codex Alimentarius webpage on explanatory texts. As a compromise and given the strong positioning of Brazil of that issue, CAC40 agreed to defer this issue to the Codex specialized body on internal Codex rules (i.e. CCGP on general principles), while adopting the text as international standard.
MRLs (residues), ML (contaminants) or MPL (food additives) adopted with discussion
MRL for Lasalocid sodium (in Chicken, Turkey, Quail and Pheasant Kidney, Liver, Muscle, Skin & Fat) (based on 78th JECFA recommendations) with the strong reservations of the EU (28 countries), Norway, Russian Federation, Switzerland and Turkey, which agreed with the EU views that “a risk to consumers could not be ruled out since there was neither a methodology for deriving a microbiological acute reference dose nor a health-based guidance value with which satisfactorily to compare the acute exposure”. However, CAC40 Chairperson moved to the adoption. Given that both JECFA secretariat and CCRVDF had addressed these concerns and determined that there was no additional risk to consumers, a position backed up by other countries in favor of the adoption of the MRLs, while noting that Lasalocid sodium is registered in many countries as an effective anticoccidial, and, when used in accordance with good veterinary practice, was non-toxic, with no adverse effect and did not result in contradictive MRL.
Maximum residue limits for different combinations of pesticide commodity(ies) with the strong reservations of the EU (28 countries), Norway and Switzerland and the concerns of NHF observer on a number of them (i.e. too high and objection on combined pesticides uses).
MLs for Lead in Selected Processed Fruits and Vegetables (Pulses, Jams, Jellies and Marmalades, Preserved Tomatoes, Canned Chestnuts and Canned Chestnuts Puree) (CODEX STAN 193-1995) adopted as suggested by CCCF. However, Uganda expressed its reservation of that CAC40 decision, indicating that Uganda was gathering occurrence data on lead contamination in fruits and vegetables that could allow the revision of the MLin future. Cuba also expressed its reservation of CAC40 decision on the ML for jams, jellies and marmalades, indicating that available data did not support lowering the ML from 1.0 mg/kg to 0.4 mg/kg or provide any evidence that the current ML would raise any public health concern.