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U.S. Codex News—Friday, February 10, 2012

A summary of recent and upcoming events published biweekly; direct inquiries to USCodex@fsis.usda.gov

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Recent Committee Meetings

Executive Committee of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CCEXEC) concluded its 66th Session on Feb. 9 in Geneva, Switzerland, making progress on the 2013-2019 Strategic Plan and agreeing to develop a discussion paper for the Codex Commission on the need for enhanced funding for the expert committees that provide scientific advice to Codex.

For the Strategic Plan, the Committee completed the draft vision statement and strategic goals including:

  • Establish international food standards that address current and emerging issues.
  • Ensure the application of risk analysis principles in the development of Codex standards.
  • Ensure the effective participation of all Codex members.
  • Implement effective and efficient work management systems and processes.

Strategic objectives and activities will be added to the Plan, and it will be circulated to the Codex membership for discussion at the 2012 Codex Commission meeting. Final approval is expected at the 2013 Commission meeting.

The representative from Europe proposed that the Commission consider at its next meeting the critical situation for funding the expert groups (JECFA, JMPR, JMRA) that provide scientific advice needed to set Codex standards. A discussion paper will be prepared by the Europe representative (France) with assistance from the United States.

CCExec also reviewed five applications for Codex observer status from international non-government organizations and recommended that FAO and WHO approve four of them including the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention.

Discussions of proposals for an observance of the 50th Anniversary of Codex in 2013 and for development of a Codex logo were postponed until the next CCExec meeting in June.

The United States is the elected representative to CCExec from North America on and is leading the drafting of the Strategic Plan.

Recent Outreach

Coordinating Committee on Asia (CCASIA): The U.S. Codex Office conducted its first colloquium with CCAsia member countries in Bangkok, Thailand, January 31-February 2. The colloquium provided an opportunity for an exchange of views between the U.S. Delegates and 30 Delegates from the region in preparation for the upcoming meetings of the committees on Contaminants in Foods (CCCF), General Principles (CCGP), and Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods (CCRVDF). The colloquium was attended by delegates from the following countries: Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Thailand.

Upcoming Public Meetings

Codex Committee on Food Additives (CCFA): The public meeting for the 44th Session will be held Feb. 13, 2012, from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. at the Harvey Wiley Building, FDA/CFSAN, 5100 Paint Branch Parkway, Room Number 1A-002 & 1A-002, College Park, MD 20740. Individuals interested in participating via teleconference should register by contacting Jannavi R. Srinivasan by telephone: 1-240-402-1199 or by email: jannavi.srinivasan@fda.hhs.gov.

Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues (CCPR): The public meeting for the 44th Session will be held Feb. 14, 2012, from 1:00-3:00 p.m. at the Potomac Yards South Building, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Room S-7100, One Potomac Yard South, 2777 South Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA 22202. Individuals may also participate by teleconference by calling: 1-866-299-3188/Participant Code: 7033056463 (United States) and 1-706-758-1822/Participant Code: 703-305-6463 (International).

Codex Committee on Contaminants in Foods (CCCF): The public meeting for the 6th Session will be held Feb. 23, 2012, from 1:00-3:00 p.m. at the Harvey Wiley Building, FDA/CFSAN, 5100 Paint Branch Parkway, Room Number 3B-047, College Park, MD 20740. Individuals may also participate by teleconference by calling: 1-888-858-2144/Participant Code: 6208658.

Electronic Working Groups (eWG)

Coordinating Committee for North America and the SouthWest Pacific (CCNASWP): Tonga and Papua New Guinea will co-chair an eWG, working in English, to revise the Kava discussion paper as well as the Nonu (noni) discussion paper. Circulation of the first draft of both the Kava and Nonu discussion documents will go out Feb. 16, with a deadline for the submission of comments on the first draft by March 10. The goal is to submit the final eWG report, after two rounds of comments, to the Codex Secretariat by May 31. The report will then be distributed to regional members for consideration at the next CCNASWP meeting, to be held in Papua New Guinea from Sept. 17-20, 2012. Individuals in the United States interested in contributing to the eWG should send their name, official title, and email address to the U.S. Codex Office (USCodex@fsis.usda.gov). Other Codex Members in the region and/or Observers interested in participating in this eWG to provide the name(s), official title and e-mail address of their representatives to the Codex Contact Points of Tonga (codexoffice.tonga@mafff.gov.to) and Papua New Guinea ( eliastaia@yahoo.com) by Feb. 15, 2012.

Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems (CCFICS): Costa Rica will lead an eWG, working in English and Spanish, to develop a harmonized questionnaire/generic document with the most relevant information needed for the evaluation of the Control Systems for Food Exporting establishments. The goal of the eWG is to develop a discussion paper that would clearly describe the problems, including examples faced by exporting countries due to multiple questionnaires, and to identify possible solutions. Individuals in the United States interested in contributing to the eWG should send their name, official title, and email address to the U.S. Codex Office (USCodex@fsis.usda.gov). Codex Members and Observers interested in participating in this eWG to provide the name(s), official title and e-mail address of their representatives to the Costa Rican Codex Contact Point ( infocodex@meic.go.cr) by Feb. 17, 2012.

Codex Committee on Food Hygiene (CCFH): Brazil will lead an eWG to develop the Proposed Draft Annex on Berries to the Code of Hygienic Practice for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables (CAC/RCP 53-2003). The proposed draft annex will provide additional recommendations to the safety provisions along the berry production chain. These recommendations will be based on current primary production, processing and trade practices, and new developments in science and technology. Individuals in the United States interested in contributing to the eWG should send their name, official title, and email address to the U.S. Codex Office (USCodex@fsis.usda.gov). Codex Members and Observers interested in participating in this eWG to provide the name(s), official title and e-mail address of their representatives to Andre Oliveira (andre.oliveira@agricultura.gov.br) and to Andrea Silva ( inspecao.alimentos@anvisa.gov.br) by March 1, 2012.

Physical Working Groups (pWG)

Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems (CCFICS): Australia and the European Union will co-chair a pWG to consider Section 4 of the Proposed Draft Principles and Guidelines for National Food Control Systems. The pWG will take place in Grange, Ireland, from July 9-12, 2012. Individuals in the United States interested in attending the pWG should send their name, official title, and email address to the U.S. Codex Office (USCodex@fsis.usda.gov). Codex members and observers wishing to participate in the pWG should request a registration form from the Codex Contact Point in Australia (codex.contact@daff.gov.au) and/or the EU (Codex@ec.europa.eu) and submit the completed registration form by May 22, 2012.

Comments Submitted

Codex Committee on Milk and Milk Products (CCMMP): The United States has responded to a request for information related to a Codex standard for processed cheese. The Codex Commission considered a proposal in 2010 to discontinue work on the standard and to revoke the existing standards. A number of countries opposed the move in both 2010 and 2011, so the Commission requested information on trade problems associated with the lack of a standard. In its comments, the United States responded that it was not aware of any trade impact caused by the lack of a standard, and reiterated its previous opposition to continuing work on the standard, noting that the issue was deliberated for over 10 years with no agreement on an international standard.

Codex Committee on Fish and Fishery Products (CCFFP): The United States has responded to a request for comments in Circular Letter (CL) 2011-10 FFP on standards at step 3 with comments on the Proposed Draft Performance Criteria for Reference and Confirmatory Methods for Marine Biotoxins in the Standard for Live and Raw Bivalve Molluscs. In its comments, the United States was in general agreement with the inclusion in the Standard of reference method criteria in lieu of specific reference methods. However, the United States expressed concern that the proposed criteria appear to exclude functionally based methods, including the globally recognized official reference method for saxitoxin (viz.: the mouse bioassay).

Other News

The final draft report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Meeting on Dietary Exposure Assessment Methodologies for Residues of Veterinary Drugs, which took place in Rome, Italy, from November 8-11, 2011, is now available on the web via the following links:

Comments on the report should be sent to both Philippe Verger (vergerp@who.int) and Masami Takeuchi (Masami.Takeuchi@fao.org) by March 15, 2012.

Previous Codex News

Last Modified Sep 10, 2013