U.S. Codex News—Friday, April 6, 2012
A summary of recent and upcoming events published biweekly; direct inquiries to USCodex@fsis.usda.gov
Recent Committee Meetings
Committee on Contaminants in Food (CCCF): The 6th Session met March 26-30 in Maastricht, The Netherlands, and approved revisions to the Risk Analysis Principles Applied by the Committee on Food Additives and by CCCF. These Principles recognize the Committee's responsibility for animal feed, and as does the Code of Practice for Source Directed Measures to Reduce Contamination of Food with Chemicals, which was likewise revised for application to feed. The Committee also approved a maximum level (MLs) of 10 mg/kg of total aflatoxin in dried figs, including a sampling plan, as well as an ML of 0.15 mg/kg for melamine in liquid infant formula. These documents will be forwarded to the Commission for adoption.
The Committee decided to undertake new work in three areas:
- MLs for lead in fruit juices, milks and secondary milk products, infant formula, canned fruits and vegetables, fruits and cereal grains (except buckwheat, hanihua, and quinoa) in the General Standard for Contaminants and Toxins in Food an Feed (GSCTFF);
- A Code of Practice for weed control to prevent and reduce pyrrolizidine contamination in food and feed; and
- An Annex to the Code of Practice for Prevention and Reduction of Mycotoxin Contamination for prevention and reduction of aflatoxins and ochratoxin A (OTA) in Sorghum.
The CCCF returned the proposed MLs for DON (Deoxynivalenol) in cereals to step 3 for further work, and suspended development of draft MLs for fumonisins until further discussions.
Finally, the committee approved a general information paper Guidance for Risk Management Options in Light of Different Risk Assessment Outcomes, and requested the CCGP consider ways to make this paper available on the Codex website, in expectation that this guidance will be helpful to national governments.
Committee on General Principles (CCGP): The 27th Session met April 2-6 in Paris, France, and agreed on the following actions:
- Standards Held at Step 8 - The Committee to hold a facilitated discussion on the reasons that standards are held at Step 8 rather than adopted. The session is scheduled to occur during the 2013 Codex Commission meeting and will be chaired by the United States and the European Union and facilitated by the three Codex Vice Chairs. A facilitated discussion was one of the recommendations made by an electronic work group that analyzed the reasons for holding standards at Step 8. This work will have no affect on the disposition of work currently ongoing in Codex.
- Economic Impacts - Australia and Malaysia will prepare a discussion paper for the next CCGP session on how Codex Committees should balance economic impacts with food safety and other issues in the standards-setting process. A working group report on establishing a mechanism for examining economic impacts provided suggested templates, but the Committee declined to move forward on any of them. On the related issue of a proposed revision of the Committee's terms of reference, Malaysia and other countries continued to insist on retaining a provision calling for development of a mechanism for examining any economic impact statements submitted by governments during the standards-setting process. The United States and others argued that such specifics were not appropriate for a committee's terms of reference, and that CCGP possessed broad authority on Codex procedures. Thus, it could undertake such a project without mention in the Terms of Reference. The proposed terms of reference revision will be considered again at the next CCGP meeting.
- Codex Website - The United States will lead a work group to develop criteria and a reference system for posting informational materials on the Codex website.
- OIE - Canada will lead a work group to propose guidance to better take into account relevant work that has been undertaken or is in progress by Codex and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and to identify a means to reference each other's standards, as appropriate. The OIE Director General appeared at the CCGP meeting and proposed mutual recognition and cross referencing of standards, but the Committee stopped short of calling for mutual recognition.
Committee on Food Labeling (CCFL): The public meeting for the 40th Session will be held April 18, 1:00-3:00 p.m. in the James Whitten Building of USDA, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington DC, Room 107-A. Individuals may also participate via teleconference by calling 1-888-858-2144; Participant Code: 6208658.
The public meeting will discuss U.S. draft positions on two main issues: the revision of the Guidelines for the Use of Nutrition and Health Claims (CAC/GL 23-1997) and Guidelines for the Production, Processing, Labelling and Marketing of Organically Produced Foods. The Committee will meet in Ottawa, Canada, May 14-18, 2012.
Regional Committee on North America & South West Pacific (CCNASWP): The regional coordinator for CCNASWP has requested comments and information from member countries on national food control systems, consumer participation in food standards setting, and the use of Codex standards at the national level. Responses should be based on 11 questions included in the circular letter (CL 2012/6-NASWP) available on our companion page ( http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/international-affairs/us-codex-alimentarius/committees-and-task-forces/regional-coordinating-committees/north-america-and-the-south-west-pacific/CT_Index). These comments and information will then be used during the 12th Session of CCNASWP (scheduled for Madang, Papua New Guinea, September 19-22, 2012) to discuss implementation of the regional strategic plan (included as an annex to the circular letter). Member countries and interested observer organizations should send their comments to email@example.com, with a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org before June 30, 2012. Interested parties in the United States that wish to offer comments should send those comments by June 22 to USCodex@fsis.usda.gov for inclusion in the U.S. response to this circular letter.
Regional Committee on Europe (CCEURO): The Codex Secretariat circulated for comment a proposed regional standard for the fresh fungus "chanterelle." The draft standard will be considered at the 28th Session of CCEURO, scheduled to meet in Batumi, Georgia, Sept. 25-28, 2012. A copy of the proposed regional standard is available on our companion page: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/international-affairs/us-codex-alimentarius/committees-and-task-forces/regional-coordinating-committees/europe/CT_Index. Member countries and interested observer organizations should send their comments to email@example.com, with a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org, by July 20, 2012. The United States is not a member of this committee.
Committee on Nutrition & Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNSFDU): A report on the review of existing daily vitamin and mineral intake reference values, requested by the 33rd CCNFSDU session (Germany, November 2011), is now available in English on line at: ftp://ftp.fao.org/codex/Meetings/CCNFSDU/ccnfsdu33/NRVreport.xls .
The detailed monographs on the food additives and contaminants evaluated at the 74th meeting of JECFA are now available on the web under the following link: WHO Food Additives Series No. 65, 2012.