U.S. Codex News — Friday, February 25, 2011
A summary of recent and upcoming events published biweekly; direct inquiries to USCodex@fsis.usda.gov
Codex Committee on Fats & Oils (CCFO)
The Committee concluded its 22nd Session, February 25, producing mixed results on a number of issues the Committee has debated in recent years.
- Previous Cargoes - Criteria: The Committee agreed to advance the four proposed criteria for the Draft Amendment to the Code of Practice for the Storage and Transport of Edible Fats and Oils in Bulk: Criteria to Assess the Acceptability of Substances for inclusion in a list of Acceptable Previous Cargoes.
- Previous Cargoes - Lists: The Committee agreed to advance to Step 5/8 the Proposed Draft List of Acceptable Previous Cargoes, and to advance to Step 8 the Draft List of Acceptable Previous Cargoes, despite objections by the U.S. Delegate. The United States filed a reservation in the report.
- Linolenic Acid: Committee failed to reach consensus on the linolenic acid level and recommended discontinuing work on the Proposed Draft Amendment to the Standard for Olive Oils.
- Fish Oil and Rice Bran Oil: The Committee agreed to advance two proposals for new work: an Amendment to the Standard for Named Vegetable Oils: Rice Bran Oil and a new Standard for Fish Oils.
- High Oleic Soyabean Oil: The Committee agreed to establish an electronic working group to amend the project document, submitted by the United States, to amend the Standard for Named Vegetable Oils. New work on this commodity had broad support.
The U.S. Delegate's report on this session of CCFO will be available in the coming weeks on the FSIS Codex website.
Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling (CCMAS) will conduct its 32nd Session in Budapest, Hungary, March 7-11. The Committee will consider revising the Guidelines on Measurement Uncertainty and Guidance on procedures for conformity assessment and resolution of disputes. The Committee will also discuss endorsement of methods of analysis provisions in Codex standards and the use of proprietary methods. The U.S. Delegation will be led by Dr. Gregory Diachenko of FDA's Center for Food Safety & Applied Nutrition.
Codex Committee on Food Additives (CCFA) will conduct its 43rd Session in Xiamen, China, March 14-18. The Committee will consider endorsement and/or revision of maximum levels for food additives and processing aids in Codex standards, including a discussion paper on the Standard for infant formulas and formula for special medical purposes and the alignment of food additive provisions in standards for meat products with the relevant provisions of the General Standard for Food Additives (GSFA). Considerable attention will also be given to draft and proposed food additive provisions in the GSFA, revision of the food category system, and a discussion paper on the use of note 161 (which indicates exceptions to standards due to national legislation). Dr. Dennis Keefe of FDA/CFSAN will lead the U.S. Delegation, with Dr. Susan Carberry, also of CFSAN, as the alternate delegate.
Recent Outreach Events
African Codex Delegates Colloquium was held in Accra, Ghana, February 14-16, featuring presentations on the relationship between Codex and the World Trade Organization agreements; the identification of "other legitimate factors" and the role of science in Codex; and description of factors (such as the holding of draft standards at Step 8, the use of Note 161) which present obstacles to consensus. Roundtable discussions among U.S. and Codex delegates were conducted on four upcoming committee sessions on food additives (CCFA), contaminants (CCCF), pesticide residues (CCPR) and labeling (CCFL). Forty-four African delegates from 22 countries participated in this event.
Upcoming Outreach Events
The U.S. Codex Office and U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service will host the Western Hemisphere Codex Delegates Colloquium in Cancun, Mexico, March 1-3. As with the Colloquium with African delegates, the purpose of this event is for U.S. Delegates to upcoming Codex meetings to exchange views with their fellow delegates from Latin America and the Caribbean in support of devising strategies for advancing common interests in Codex and establish technical relationships for collaboration over the long term. The Western Hemisphere Colloquium will feature a special presentation by Gretchen Stanton, of the WTO Secretariat, on the relationship between the WTO and Codex. There will also be roundtable discussions on the upcoming sessions the committees on food additives (CCFA), fresh fruits and vegetables (CCFFV), and pesticide residues (CCPR), as well as the Codex Commission Session (Geneva, July 4-9).
Recent Public Meetings
Committee on Food Additives (CCFA)
The public meeting for the upcoming CCFA Session took place, February 22. U.S. Delegate Dennis Keefe and Alternate Delegate Susan Carberry, both of FDA/CFSAN, presented the proposed U.S. positions and had an exchange of views with participants in the public meeting. Dr. Keefe also addressed the impact of note 161, which was introduced into the General Standard for Food Additives (GSFA) and is perceived as an "opt-out" mechanism for countries to exempt from Codex standards because of national legislation. The United States is of the view that this note was problematical from the beginning, has been subsequently overused, and should be deleted from the GFSA.
Committee on Contaminants in Foods (CCCF)
The public meeting for the upcoming CCCF session took place on February 22. U.S. Delegate Nega Beru of FDA/CFSAN presented the draft U.S. positions that support adoption of the proposed draft Code of Practice for the Reduction of Ethyl Carbamate in Stone Fruit Distillates and the Proposed Draft Maximum Levels for Melamine in Food (liquid infant formula), the latter being based on the recently adopted maximum level for powdered infant formula. The U.S. also recommends that the Proposed Maximum Levels for Total Aflatoxins in Dried Figs be held pending revision of the document to including data from areas other than the Aegean region of Turkey. On the discussion papers for mycotoxins in sorghum and for furans, the U.S. supports delaying development of codes of practices until electronic working groups can be established to revise and update these papers when adequate new data are available. Finally, the U.S. proposes to recommend that the Committee develop a set of consensus recommendations on the endorsement of provisions for health-related limits for certain substances in the standard for natural mineral waters. The Committee will meet March 24-28, in The Netherlands.
Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues (CCPR)
The public meeting for the upcoming CCPR session took place on February 24. The United States is involved in a number of projects with the CCPR to streamline the process for establishing maximum residue levels (MRLs) for recently registered pesticides and to facilitate the movement of commodities grown in the United States and other parts of the world in international channels of trade. The Committee will meet in Beijing, China, April 18-23.
Upcoming Public Meetings
March 16, 1:00 - 4:00 pm: Codex Committee on Fish and Fishery Products (CCFFP); Location: FDA Harvey Wiley Building, Auditorium (1A003), 5100 Paint Branch Parkway, College Park, MD. Call-in Number 866-692-3158, participant code: 5986642.
Codex Chairperson Election
The U.S. Codex Office was informed on February 17 by the Chairperson of the National Codex Contact Point of India that the Government of India will nominate Sanjay Dave for election as Codex Chair at the 34th Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. Mr. Dave is the Director of the Agricultural and Processed Foods Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), and he has served as a Vice-Chair of the Codex Alimentarius Commission since 2008.
The election will be held during the CAC meeting July 4-9 in Geneva. A new chair and three new vice-chairs will be chosen.