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Codex News - February 21, 2014

Recent Committee Meetings

Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs (CCSCH) concluded its first session on February 14, 2014, in Kochi (Cochin), Kerala, India. The Session was attended by 101 delegates from 40 Member countries and one Member organization, Observers from six international organizations.   Some of the highlights from the inaugural session include:

  • to submit to the 37th Session of the Commission proposals for the following new work:
    • Standard for Black, White and Green Pepper
    • Standard for Cumin
    • Standard for Oregano
    • Standard for Thyme
  • to find a balance between the work on spices and culinary herbs, depending on proposals submitted
  • to convene an in-session working group at each session to review the proposals for new work
  • to consider, at its next session tentatively planned for September 2015, a proposal for the grouping of spices and culinary herbs.

Committee on Fish and Fishery Products (CCFFP) concluded a productive 33rd Session on February 21, 2014, in Bergen, Norway.  The session was attended by 161 delegates representing 58 Member countries, one Member organization, and five international organizations.  Some of the key outcomes from the recent meeting include:

  • The U.S. Delegation was pleased, along with delegations from Latin America and Asia, with a compromise that allows biological assays and functional methods to remain in the Performance Criteria for Reference and Confirmatory Methods for Marine Biotoxins in the Standard for Live and Raw Bivalve Molluscs.   CCFFP recommended this for adoption by the Commission at Step 8.
  • The Committee also recommended for adoption by the Commission at Step 8 the Draft Standard for Smoked Fish, Smoked Flavored Fish, and Smoke-Dried Fish and the Draft Standard for Raw, Fresh and Quick-Frozen Scallop Products. 
  • The Committee made substantial progress on the development of a Code of Practice for scallop products to complement the Draft standard.
  • The Committee advanced to Step 5 a Draft Code of Practice for Fish Sauce to complement the Standard for Fish Sauce that was adopted in 2011.
  • The Committee plans to conduct electronic Working Groups to continue work on additives, histamine, and the Draft Codes of Practice for Scallops and for Caviar in preparation for the next CCFFP session.  

Upcoming Public Meetings

Committee on Contaminants in Food (CCCF):  USDA and FDA will convene a public meeting on February 27, 2014, from 10:00 AM-12:00 PM, to review draft U.S. positions on agenda items that will be considered at the 8th CCCF session, scheduled for March 31-April 4, 2014, in The Hague, The Netherlands.  The public meeting will take place in Room 1A-003 of the Harvey Wiley Federal Building, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 5100 Paint Branch Parkway, College Park, Maryland 20740.  Individuals may also participate via teleconference by registering for the public meeting with the U.S. delegate.  Some of the agenda items that will come up at this year’s session include: 

Industrial and Environmental Contaminants

  • Proposed draft revision of the maximum levels for lead in selected commodities in the General Standard for Contaminants and Toxins in Food and Feed (CODEX STAN 193-1995) (at Step 4)
  • Proposed draft maximum levels for arsenic in rice (raw and polished rice) (at Step 4)

Toxins

  • Draft maximum levels for deoxynivalenol (DON) in cereals and cereal-based products and associated sampling plans (at Step 7)
  • Proposed draft maximum levels for acetylated derivatives (DON) in cereals and cereal-based products (at Step 4)
  • Proposed draft maximum levels for fumonisins in maize and maize products and associated sampling plans (at Step 4)

Subject Matter

  • Proposed draft annex for the prevention and reduction of aflatoxins and ochratoxin A contamination in sorghum (Code of practice for the prevention and reduction of mycotoxin contamination in cereals (CAC/RCP 51-2003)) (at Step 4)
  • Proposed draft Code of practice for weed control to prevent and reduce pyrrolizidine alkaloid contamination in food and feed (at Step 4)
  • General Standard for Contaminants and Toxins in Food and Feed

Discussion Papers

  • Discussion paper on the development of a Code of practice for the prevention and reduction of arsenic contamination in rice
  • Discussion paper on the possible revision of the Code of Practice for Prevention and Reduction of Mycotoxin Contamination in Cereals (CAC/RCP 51-2003)
  • Discussion paper on aflatoxins in cereals
  • Discussion paper on the review of the guideline levels for methylmercury in fish and predatory fish
  • Discussion paper on the establishment of a maximum level for total aflatoxins in ready-to-eat peanuts and associated sampling plan
  • Discussion paper on halogenated solvents

Request for Comments

Committee on Pesticide Residues (CCPR) requests comments to Circular Letter (CL 2014/02-PR) on the recommendations of the 2012 Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR).  If you are interested in having your comments considered in the U.S. response to this circular letter, please send your comments to Ms Lois Rossi, U.S. Delegate to CCPR, by email at: Rossi.Lois@epa.gov, by March 14, 2014.  Other comments should be sent by April 7, 2014, directly to Ms Lifang DUAN, Residue Division, Institute for Control of the Agrochemicals, Ministry of Agriculture (ICAMA) by email at: ccpr@agri.gov.cn.  A copy should also be sent to the Codex Secretariat by email at: codex@fao.org.   This circular letter is available electronically at:  http://www.codexalimentarius.org/circular-letters/circularletters20131/en/.

New Electronic Working Groups (eWG) 

Codex Committee on Fats and Oils (CCFO) invites Codex members and observers to join an eWG, chaired by Switzerland, working in English only, to participate in redrafting the Proposed Draft Standard for Fish Oils.  The Committee agreed that items already agreed at the previous Session should not be re-opened for debate; however, further comments may be discussed at the next CCFO session. In preparation for the eWG, the Codex Secretariat sent out a Circular Letter, requesting information on volume and patterns of trade for different fish oils and information on quality and composition, including fatty acid profile for named fish oils.  The eWG should also identify specific questions to be referred to the CCFFP and the CCNFSDU. The report of the eWG and the comments submitted to the working document will be considered at a physical Working Group immediately prior to the next session.

Individuals in the United States interested in participating should provide their name, official title, and email address to the U.S. Codex Office (USCodex@fsis.usda.gov) by March 10, 2014.  Individuals in other Member countries and organizations interested in participating should forward their information directly to Mrs Christina Blumer at christina.blumer@blv.admin.ch with a copy to codex@blv.admin.ch by March 14, 2014.

Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU) invites Codex members and observers to join an eWG, chaired by Switzerland, working in English only, with the following terms of reference:

  • The use of additives in foods for infants and young children should satisfy a technological need and their addition should be limited to the lowest level possible to achieve the required technological effect, in line with the principles contained in the GSFA Preamble CODEX STAN 192-1995.
  • It is necessary to address in depth the comments received on the document CX/NFSDU 13/35/8 regarding the Proposed Draft Revision of the List of Food Additives in CODEX STAN 72-1981.
  • It is important that the eWG evaluate the technological need of the food additives in foods for infants and young children (including the use of approved additives at different levels or in different products). This evaluation should take into account additives that have been authorized for use by competent authorities; the process by which JECFA evaluates additives in these products; and technical information from industry and other relevant stakeholders.
  • Following this evaluation, the eWG will provide recommendations for the Committee on the actions and next steps and a revised list.

Individuals in the United States interested in participating should provide their name, official title, and email address to the U.S. Codex Office (USCodex@fsis.usda.gov) by March 10, 2014.  Individuals in other Member countries and organizations interested in participating should forward their information directly to Elisabeth Nellen at elisabeth.nellen@blv.admin.ch with a copy to codex@blv.admin.ch by March 14, 2014.

Other News 

Committee on Food Hygiene (CCFH) invites Codex members and observers to participate in a scientific colloquium, sponsored by Finland, conducted in English only, in Kirkkonummi, Finland, from June 4-6, 2014.  This colloquium is in response to Finland’s remarks at the last session of the CCFH, held in Hanoi, Vietnam, last November.  Specifically, Finland asked the CCFH to consider an update of the General Principles of Food Hygiene (CAC/RCP 1-1969), and especially of its Annex on HACCP, as new work. To clarify which parts were most in need of an update, and what might be missing from the Codex texts, Finland proposed to host a scientific colloquium for a limited set of experts with the following likely outcome: 

  • an outline for a Discussion paper on the need to update the General Principles of Food Hygiene and/or HACCP texts
  • a draft Project document for new work by CCFH

There is no registration fee for invited participants, but expenses incurred from travel and accommodation shall be borne by the participants themselves.  Please note that in order to keep the seminar effective, the number of participants is limited. Parties in the United States interested in contributing to the U.S. participation should contact the U.S. Codex Office (USCodex@fsis.usda.gov) as soon as possible.  Other individuals who wish to participate in the colloquium should register by March 7, 2014 at the following website: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1iwAsMnzYU5dJFhRWvnvPGvicPeqKbR759CAuhaWO908/viewform

Previous Issues of Codex News

Last Modified Mar 10, 2014