Codex News - March 7, 2014
A summary of recent and upcoming events published biweekly; direct inquiries to USCodex@fsis.usda.gov
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Recent Committee Meetings
Committee on Fresh Fruits and Vegetables (CCFFV) held its 18th Session in Phuket, Thailand, February 24-28, 2014, co-hosted by Mexico and Thailand. This was the first session of CCFFV to take place outside of Mexico.
The Committee expanded the scope of the draft standard for Golden Passion Fruit to include all commonly traded varieties of Passion Fruit and recommended that this draft standard be adopted, under the accelerated procedure, by the Codex Alimentarius Commission at the Commission’s next session (Geneva, July 2014). Committee also recommended the draft standards for Durian and for Okra be likewise adopted by the Commission in July under accelerated procedure.
The Committee approved new work on Ware Potatoes, Fresh Garlic, Kiwi Fruit and Aubergines; the Committee recommended to the Commission the establishment of electronic working groups to begin drafting of these proposed standards so that the Committee can commence work on these draft standards the next CCFFV session.
The Committee reviewed its Terms of Reference (TOR) and recommended removal the specific reference to the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in favor of general reference to international organizations, consistent with the TORs of the other Codex commodity committees. This proposed change will be forwarded to the Committee on General Principles for approval.
Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling (CCMAS) concluded a productive 35th Session on March 7, 2014, in Budapest, Hungary. The session was attended by delegates representing 50 Member countries, one Member organization, and 14 international organizations. Some of the key outcomes from the recent meeting include:
- With regard to Explanatory Notes in the proposed draft Principles for the Use of Sampling and Testing in International Food Trade, the Committee agreed that the notes would be best integrated within the main document, CAC/GL 83-2013, with the understanding that the Principles defined within were not for further consideration, but that the introduction and scope may require some consequential amendment to explain the inclusion of the explanatory notes. The Explanatory Notes were returned to Step 2/3 for further comment and consideration. An electronic Working Group will be tasked with this integration and with the attachment of practical examples for sampling plans as an annex. The updated document will be considered at the next CCMAS session.
- With regard to the discussion paper on considering procedures for establishing criteria, proposed by the United States, the Committee agreed to pursue the work further by establishing two electronic Working Groups:
- development of procedures / guidelines for determining equivalency with Type 1 methods to prepare a discussion paper which would consider different approaches for different classes of Type 1 methods; and
- development of a criteria approach for methods which use a “ sum of components.” The working group would prepare a discussion paper that evaluates and discusses current options, and considers general guidelines and evaluates criteria for use on a case by case basis.
- On the discussion paper on elaboration of procedures for regular updating methods, the Committee endorsed its previous decision that the date for the methods of analysis should be removed in Codex Standard 234. There was general agreement to develop a process for the update of methods of analysis, but that such a process should be used on trial basis before any new procedures were considered for inclusion in the Procedural Manual.
Upcoming Committee Meetings
Committee on Food Additives (CCFA) will hold its 46th Session in Hong Kong, China, March 17-21. The Committee will endorse or revise maximum levels for food additives and processing aids; align the food additives in commodity standards with the General Standard for Food Additives (GSFA); continue developing the GSFA and the International Numbering System (INS) for food additives; review specifications for the identity and purity of food additives; and propose priorities for food additives to be evaluated by the FAO/WHO Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA).
Contaminants in Foods (CCCF), Committees on General Principles (CCGP), and Pesticide Residues (CCPR): Thirty six delegates from the United States and 12 member countries of the Committee on Latin America and the Caribbean (CCLAC) met in San José, Costa Rica, March 4-6, for in-depth discussion of items on the agendas for these upcoming sessions. CCCF will meet March 31-April 3; CCGP will meet April 7-11; and CCPR will meet May 5-10.
Codex Elections: The Codex Alimentarius Commission will hold elections for a new Chairperson and three new Vice Chairpersons at its 38th Session, meeting in Geneva, July 7-11, 2014. The incumbent Chairperson and Vice Chairpersons have served three years and so are not eligible for re-election.
The Government of Canada has announced the candidacy of Samuel Godefroy for Chairperson. Dr. Godefroy is the Director General of Food Directorate in Health Canada, and he served a Vice Chairperson of the Commission since 2011.
The Government of Brazil has announced the candidacy of Guilherme Costa for Vice Chairperson. Mr. Costa has worked in food inspection for the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply since 1981. He has served as a delegate to Codex meetings since 1992; he was Brazil’s General-Coordinator for World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations from 2005-2008 and Director of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) negotiations 2008-2010. Since 2010, Mr. Costa has been the Agricultural Attaché for Brazil’s Permanent Mission to the WTO and other economic organizations in Geneva.