U.S. Codex News — Friday, December 16, 2011
A summary of recent and upcoming events published biweekly; direct inquiries to USCodex@fsis.usda.gov
Recent Committee Meetings
The 43rd Session of the Committee on Food Hygiene (CCFH) completed work on two documents and recommended adoption by the Codex Commission:
- Draft Guidelines on the Application of General Principles of Food Hygiene to the Control of Viruses in Food; and
- Draft Annex on Melons to the Code of Hygienic Practice for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables.
The Guidelines document on viruses has two annexes, which provide practical control measures that growers, producers and consumers can use to keep safe food that is intended for human consumption. New work on the melons annex was just approved at last year's CCFH session. A working group, co-chaired by Canada and the United States, met in June and produced the document that was approved by the Committee at this year's session, demonstrating that Codex can work quickly and efficiently.
The Committee also adopted revisions to Risk Analysis Principles and Procedures Applied by the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene. The revision involved minor edits and a reorganization of the material that was adopted at the 42nd session.
The Committee has struggled with advancing the revision of the Principles for the Establishment and Application of Microbiological Criteria for Foods. To address the delegates' concerns over the usefulness of this document, the Committee decided to include a series of examples, which they believed would explain the principles. The Committee established drafting teams in which one country would take the lead in preparing the example, assisted by several developing countries. A work group will be held in the Spring of 2012 to finalize the examples for the committee's review at the 44th session. The United States will lead a team (including Argentina, Uruguay and Thailand) to provide an example of a microbiological criterion for lot acceptability and a team (including Brazil) to develop an example of a microbiological criterion for operationalizing a performance objective.
The Committee did not advance the Draft Guidelines on Specific Zoonotic Parasites in Meat, deciding to wait until the OIE (World Organization for Animal Health) completes work on Trichinella.
The Committee agreed to begin new work on two items:
- An annex on berries for the Code of Hygienic Practice for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
- Revision of the Code of Hygienic Practice for Spices and Dried Aromatic Plants.
The Session was attended by 261 delegates representing 90 member countries, one member organization and 9 international organizations. The U.S. Delegate's Report of the 43rd CCFH Session will be available soon on the Codex website at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/international-affairs/us-codex-alimentarius/recent-delegation-reports, and the Codex Secretariat will publish the official Report on the Session at the following link: http://www.codexalimentarius.org/meetings-reports/en/.
On Dec. 5, the U.S. Codex Office participated in a Food Safety and Trade Conference in Miami organized by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA). Presentations were made on the role and importance of Codex, current issues in Codex, and collaboration between the United States and Latin America in Codex. The meeting was attended by about 80 importers and exporters from South and Central America and the Caribbean.
JEFCA: The FAO has extended until February 15, 2012 the call for experts on food additives and contaminants to join the roster of FAO/JECFA experts for 2012-2016. Individuals interested in apply should contact the FAO at JECFA-CALL@fao.org. Further details are available in our September 23, 2011, Update.
The next issue of this News Update will be published on January 13, 2012. Meanwhile, the U.S. Codex office extends its best wishes to you for a happy holiday season followed by a healthy and prosperous New Year.