The Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues (CCPR) held the 41st Session
in Beijing, China, from April 20-25, 2009. Professor Zongmao Chen
served as Chair, assisted by Dr. Qiao Xiongwu, as Vice Chair. The
Session was attended by 246 delegates representing 71 member countries,
1 member organization, and 10 international organizations. The U.S.
Delegation was chaired by Ms. Lois Rossi of EPA, and the co-chair
was Dr. Robert Epstein of USDA.
The following summarizes issues of particular interest to the U.S.
Delegation. Complete details of the 41st Session may be found on
the Codex Alimentarius web site at: www.codexalimentarius.net/web/archives.jsp?year=09
Nomination and Prioritization of Compounds to be Considered
by the FAO/WHO Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR)
All U.S. nominations both for new compounds and additional uses
of existing compounds were scheduled with one exception. Fluopyram
was removed from the schedule for 2009 and moved to 2010 because
a decision was made not to proceed with a pilot project using fluopyram
in which JMPR would recommend MRLs before national or regional authorities.
The MRL recommendations from the 2008 JMPR, compound/commodity MRLs
remaining at Steps 3 or 6/7 from the 40th Session, and MRLs (CXLs)
previously recommended for withdrawal were considered during two
days of deliberations.
Approximately 293 pesticide/commodity MRLs, based on the consideration
of 22 pesticides by the 2008 JMPR, were advanced to Step 8 by the
current CCPR for adoption by the CAC. This was the fourth year that
the accelerated procedure along with the criteria for decision making,
were used with great success.
An additional 29 pesticide/commodity MRLs for 4 pesticides were
advanced to Step 5 only, either as the result of the identification
of a potential dietary intake concern by the JMPR or as the result
of a country's expressed concern based on the availability of additional
information not previously considered by the JMPR. The U.S. expressed
no concerns and supported the advancement of all MRLs except those
with JMPR-identified possible dietary intake concerns.
Some 115 pesticide/commodity CXLs for 25 pesticide chemicals were
recommended for revocation. These are typically CXLs no longer supported,
or CXLs deemed by JMPR to have potential dietary intake concerns
with no alternative GAP. Additionally, 33 pesticide/commodity MRLs
at various steps in the Codex process were withdrawn for various
About 57 pesticide/commodity MRLs were returned to steps 6 or 7
and 4. These represent 16 chemicals with dietary intake or other
issues previously identified and awaiting further review by the
JMPR, either retrospective analysis (alternative GAP) or periodic
Matters Arising from the Global Minor Use Summit
At the 2008 CCPR USDA and EPA sponsored a half day workshop on minor
use/specialty crops focusing on a discussion of the outcomes of
the Global Minor Use Summit in December 2007. The session was attended
by numerous delegates from developing countries and a few other
countries. There was unanimous support for CCPR to undertake a minor
use initiative. Thus, during last year's meeting, a CCPR Working
Group on Minor Uses and Specialty Crops was established which, among
other work, encouraged increased participation by developing countries
at the 2009 meeting.
As a follow-up activity to the global minor use summit, FAS sponsored
a work shop in Africa devoted to capacity building and promotion
of global MRL harmonization efforts. In this workshop CCPR/JMPR
methods and procedures were explained in detail along with the importance
of the initiatives from the global minor use summit including the
revision of the codex classification and, most importantly, the
related guidance on the selection of representative crops and the
pilot process for JMPR recommendation of MRLs before national or
regional authorities. At this workshop as well, delegates were encouraged
to speak up and actively participate in the CCPR meetings.
As the result of all of these efforts, there was a remarkable amount
of participation from developing countries at the 2009 CCPR meeting
and once again a huge number of countries, including a wide representation
of developing countries, volunteered to join the CCPR Working Group
on Minor Uses and Specialty Crops.
Revision of the Codex Classification of Foods and Animal
The electronic working group, co-chaired by the Netherlands and the
U.S., provided updated recommendations for the revision of eight
commodity groups. The Committee agreed to forward to the Commission
the Proposed Draft Revisions for these eight commodity groups (bulb
vegetables, fruiting vegetables (non-cucurbit), edible fungi, berries
and small fruits, citrus fruits, pome fruits, stone fruits, and
oilseed) for adoption at Step 5. In addition, the Committee agreed
to the proposed revision of the coding system—an issue that
had been a major stumbling block to advancement of the proposals.
As the result of resolving the coding issue, there was some support
expressed for approving large sections of the revision as they are
completed, rather than waiting until the entire revision is complete
before implementing it.
The Committee agreed to re-establish the electronic working group
to consider the few remaining unresolved issues in the commodity
groups for fruiting vegetables, other than cucurbits, pome fruits,
and oil seeds and to prepare new draft proposals for other commodity
groups according to the schedule earlier agreed to by the Committee.
A new draft of a paper concerning principles and guidance on the
selection of representative commodities, which was developed
by the working group and presented by the U.S. was again returned
for revision and further discussion at the 42nd CCPR. Gaining support
for these proposals is critical because using representative commodities
is what allows establishment of MRLs for many minor crops (based
on the residue data from the representative commodities).
Achieving Globally Harmonized MRLs through Codex
The Delegation of the U.S. presented a revised paper in which more
details were provided on the proposed process for the evaluation
of new chemicals by JMPR before finalization of any national review/registration.
Under this process, JMPR would estimate the MRLs before MRLs/tolerances
are set at the national level. JMPR would thus set the reference
standard which member countries would then consider in setting their
national standards. This approach encourages harmonization of MRLs.
A pilot project in 2009 utilizing an upcoming multinational (global)
review compound, fluopyram, had been proposed at the 2008 CCPR.
At this years meeting the representatives of WHO and FAO were very
supportive of doing the pilot and spoke enthusiastically in favor
of the pilot. The U.S. had secured, prior to the meeting, the support
of the quad countries, who were all participants in the electronic
working group which drafted the paper. In addition, over 14 representatives
from developing countries spoke in support of the pilot at the meeting.
However, somewhere in the lengthy discussion Australia and the
EU decided that they would not support doing the pilot this year
for fluopyram or would only support doing it for the toxicology
review and not the residue review and MRL setting. Australia, inexplicably,
stated that they did not believe there were any MRL harmonization
issues. The EU while talking as if they supported the idea said
they were not in favor of doing the pilot this year. Our general
conclusion was that there are at least two issues that led to this
result: the people who attend the Codex meeting are not the people
involved in the global joint reviews and they do not thoroughly
understand that process and individuals, during the course of the
meeting, decide to express their own individual opinions as the
opinions of their delegations.
Due to the limited resources of the JMPR, the secretariats expressed
their unwillingness to begin the pilot, without broad support, since
they were afraid the pilot would be challenged at the CAC and the
work of the JMPR would be wasted. As a result the decision was made
not to do a pilot with fluopyram.
The WHO secretariat and many developing countries expressed their
extreme disappointment with this outcome.
Transparency in JMPR Derivation of MRLs
The U.S. delegation expressed their appreciation for the efforts
of JMPR/FAO to make the basis for their recommendation of MRLs clearer
through the publication of the MRL Calculator summary table in the
JMPR report together with a short explanation of how the MRL was
determined. However, it was again pointed out that an explanation
of why the MRL Calculator was not used is not the same as an explanation
of the basis for the MRL that was actually recommended. The JMPR/FAO
Secretariat agreed to again consider this request at the 2009 JMPR
Under this topic the OECD calculator effort was also discussed.
The U.S. emphasized the importance of JMPR involvement in the development
of a "global" calculator so that it would be used by the JMPR. It
was noted that many of the remaining issues with the development
of the OECD calculator are risk management issues. It was agreed
that a circular letter would be sent to the CCPR asking for their
input on these issues. It was agreed that when the OECD calculator
is ready for use, JMPR will begin to use it on a trial basis. It
was noted that this should aid in harmonization of MRLs as well
as reduce the number of cases in which the derivation of the MRL
would need to be explained—which would make that request for
greater transparency easier to implement.
Working Group To Facilitate the Establishment of Codex
MRLs for Minor Use and Specialty Crops
At its last session the Committee established an electronic working
group chaired by the U.S. and co-chaired by Australia and Kenya
to prepare a discussion paper to provide guidance to facilitate
the establishment of Codex MRLs for minor uses and specialty crops.
This was one of the proposals coming from the Global Minor Use Summit.
The working group made several recommendations based on the responses
to a questionnaire circulated to members of the electronic working
group. These recommendations, among others, related to the inclusion
of new commodities in the Codex Classification; encouraging the
development of representative commodities; training in residue data
generation and submission to JMPR; fostering collaboration to develop
and promote submissions to JMPR for prioritized specialty crops
and minor uses; promoting the pilot project on JMPR recommending
MRLs before national authorities; supporting the development and
use of a global MRL calculator and proposing suitable definitions
for minor uses and specialty crops.
The Committee supported the work that had been done and agreed
to re-establish the Working Group to continue in these efforts.
Revision of the Risk Analysis Principles
Discussions continued on the revision of the risk analysis principles.
A key issue is finding a process that will ensure that pesticides
are reviewed periodically to ensure that the MRLs reflect up-to-date
information while at the same time avoiding deleting MRLs for which
there are no risk issues but which are being deleted for other reasons,
for example, due to a lack of support by the manufacturer. This
is a major issue with developing countries. The revision needs to
be finalized by 2010 as the CCGP will review the consistency of
risk analysis principles elaborated by relevant subsidiary bodies
of the Commission in 2011.
Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPS)
Some delegations were of the view that Codex EMRLs for POPs are
necessary for trade purposes and should be retained for some time
because, due to persistence, they are still present in the environment
and, as a consequence, in food, despite the fact that POPs are not
used for plant protection anymore. However, some delegations thought
there was possibly a need for revision of these EMRLs based on new
monitoring data because their data indicated that levels of POPs
in foods are decreasing. The Committee agreed to request monitoring
data, via circular letter, for POPs which fall under the Stockholm
Convention and that are within the CCPR terms of reference, not
only for commodities for which Codex EMRLs are already established
but also for other foods. The Committee established an electronic
working group to make a provisional evaluation of the monitoring
data in order to make a more informed decision at the next session
on whether to make changes for the EMRLs for POPs.
Processed Foods and Feeds
The Committee endorsed the paper prepared by the U.S. and the EU
providing guidelines/policy for the use of processing factors and
related issues. The paper supported current Codex (and U.S.) practice
of establishing processed commodity MRLs only where the residue
concentrates from the raw agricultural commodity to the processed
item. It was agreed that there was no need for further elaboration
of principles and practices related to the establishment of MRLs
for processed foods.
The 42nd Session was tentatively scheduled for Xian, China, from
April 19 to April 24, 2010.