Codex News - March 21, 2014
Recent Committee Meetings
Committee on Food Additives (CCFA) held its 46th Session in Hong Kong, China, March 17-21, 2014. The Committee recommended the adoption of 550 food additive provisions by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, and the Committee also proposed to the Commission the revocation of five food additive provisions. The Committee agreed to discontinue work on 159 food additive provisions. The physical working group (pWG) on the General Standard for Food Additives (GSFA) was led by the United States, and the pWG chairperson noted that CCFA had reached a milestone at this session because, for the first time, the GSFA contains more adopted food additive provisions than there are proposed food additive provisions in the step process.
The Committee also considered the issue of Note 161 and, in the opinion of the Committee Chairperson, the Committee took small steps toward resolving the problems that Note 161 has caused the Committee for the past several years. The Committee reached consensus on the need to replace the Note, and also that sweeteners are justified in energy reduced foods, but the Committee could not reach agreement on an option to replace the Note. Therefore, an electronic working group (eWG), chaired by the UK and assisted by the United States, will consider the effects of using Option 3 which reads, "For use only in energy-reduced food or food with no added sugars as defined in CAC/GL 23 - 1997." The Chair encouraged delegates to submit information to the eWG, and the Chair said that, if Option 3 showed "huge consequences," the Committee would explore alternative options for notes.
The Committee completed the alignment of the food additive provisions in the meat standards with the GSFA. An eWG, to be chaired by Australia, will next consider the alignment of the food additive provisions of the Standard for Bouillons and Consommés (Codex Stan 117 - 1981) and the standards for chocolate and cocoa products with the food additive provisions in the GSFA.
In addition to chairing the eWG and pWG on the GSFA and assisting the UK on the eWG for Note 161, the United States also agreed to prepare a discussion paper on inconsistencies of terminologies related to flavorings between various standards on labelling and the Guidelines for the Use of Flavourings (CAC/GL 66 - 2008).
Upcoming Committee Meetings
Committee on Contaminants in Foods (CCCF) will hold its 8th Session in The Hague, Netherlands, March 31-April 3 to consider, inter alia, proposed draft maximum levels for lead in the General Standard for Contaminants and Toxins in Food and Feed (GSCTFF), for arsenic in rice, for deoxynivalenol (DON) and acetylated derivatives (DON) in cereals and cereal-based products, for fumonisins in maize and maize-products, and aflatoxins and ochratoxin A in sorghum.
Committee on General Principles (CCGP) will hold its 28th Session in Paris, France, April 7-11. The Committee will continue a review of risk analysis texts, focusing this session on the Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods (CCRVDF), consider issues associated with economic impacts of proposed Codex standards, and discuss options for making available to committees the information documents prepared outside of the step-process by a committee.
Contaminants in Foods (CCCF), Committees on General Principles (CCGP), and Pesticide Residues (CCPR): Delegates from the United States and from member countries of the Committee on Africa (CCAfrica) met in Johannesburg, South Africa, March 18-20, for in-depth discussion of items on the agendas for these upcoming sessions.
Upcoming Public Meetings
The U.S. Delegate to the Committee on General Principles (CCGP) will conduct a public meeting on Thursday, March 27, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., at the USDA South Building, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC, room 0161. The purpose of this public meeting is to present draft U.S. positions on the topics to be discussed at the upcoming meeting of CCGP. Persons interested in participating in the public meeting by teleconference should dial 888-844-9904, and use participant code 512-6092. CCGP will hold its 28th session in Paris, April 7-11; the proposed agenda for this session is available at http://www.codexalimentarius.org/meetings-reports/en/.
Electronic Working Groups
Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods (CCRVDF): The United States and Costa Rica will lead an electronic working group (eWG) to (1) identify data availability and gaps for the veterinary drugs identified, taking the information contained in the database into account; and (2) explore alternative ways to fill data gaps, and prioritize veterinary drugs for evaluation by JECFA. Organizations and individuals interested in contributing to U.S. participation in this working group should send their name, title, and contact information to the U.S. Codex Office (email@example.com) by March 28. Member countries and observer organizations should send the representative's name, official title, member country or organization, email address and language of preference (English or Spanish) to firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and CCRVDF-USSEC@fsis.usda.gov by April 4.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has published the report of the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues, which meet in Geneva, Switzerland, September 17-26, 2013, Geneva. The Report is available at http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/templates/agphome/documents/Pests_Pesticides/JMPR/Evaluation13/2013_JMPR_Monograph_final.pdf