U.S. Codex News — Friday, January 14, 2011
A summary of recent and upcoming events published biweekly; direct inquiries to USCodex@fsis.usda.gov
New Codex Members
The Codex Alimentarius Commission welcomes the Republic of Azerbaijan (Region: Europe) and the Republic of Nauru (Region: Southwest Pacific) as its two newest members. This brings the membership of the Commission to 185 members (184 member countries and one member organization).
The Codex Secretariat advised this week that the 6th Session FAO/WHO Coordinating Committee for the Near East (CCNEA) scheduled to meet in Hammamet, Tunisia, January 24-28, has been postponed until March 28-April 1, due to recent political turmoil. A member of the U.S. Codex office will attend the meeting as an observer. The Codex Alimentarius Commission has asked CCNEA, similar to the other regional committees, to discuss the impact of private standards, the necessity for a processed cheese standard, and whether further guidance on traceability/product tracing is needed. The Committee will consider proposed draft regional standards for harissa (hot pepper paste), halwa tehenia, and the draft code of practice for street vended food. It will review new project documents on doogh (yogurt based drink), camel milk, and date paste/date molasses. The Committee will also review a project document on the classification of foods based on risks-a system already in place in the United Arab Emirates.
The 19th Session of the Coordinating Committee for Africa (CCAFRICA) will take place in Accra, Ghana, February 1-4. A member of the U.S. Codex office will attend the meeting as an observer. The Codex Alimentarius Commission has asked CCAFRICA, similar to the other regional committees, to discuss the impact of private standards, the necessity for a processed cheese standard, and whether further guidance on traceability/product tracing is needed. The Committee will also consider the strategic plan for Africa.
The Pan-African Meeting of National Codex Contact Officers , sponsored by the African Union - Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), will take place in Accra, Ghana, January 27-29. The contact point officers will discuss a permanent mechanism for coordination of the African Position on Food Safety Standards. They will also explore ways Codex Contact Points and National Codex Committees can further expand national Codex activities and encourage increased participation within the various Codex committees. A member of the U.S. Codex Office has been invited to participate in the meeting.
The United States submitted comments on the Codex Proposed Draft Revised Guidelines on Measurement Uncertainty (CAC/GL 54-2004) circulated at Step 6 in CL 2010/49-MAS for consideration at the 32nd Session of the Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling (CCMAS), scheduled to meet in Budapest, Hungary, from 7-11 March 2011. This document will provide valuable explanatory information related to the Codex Guidelines on Measurement Uncertainty (CAC/GL 54-2004). The United States comments offered editorial changes intended to provide additional clarity to the document without altering the substance or the meaning of its content.
The United States submitted comments on food date-marking requirements in response to a questionnaire circulated to members of the FAO/WHO Coordinating Committee for North America and South West Pacific (CCNASWP). At the CCNASWP meeting held in Tonga in September 2010, the Committee members identified a wide diversity and a lack of consistency in food label date-marking requirements or their enforcement within the region. The questionnaire seeks to collect information in order to promote a more harmonized approach to date marking across the region.
At the 4th session (2010) of the Codex Committee on Contaminants in Food (CCCF), it was decided to establish an electronic working group, led by the United States, to prepare a discussion paper on Furan in Foods. The report, prepared by the working group, focuses primarily on the formation and mitigation of furan in foods. The working group concluded, however, that to date, research has not been successful in identifying practical and consistently effective solutions for decreasing furan in food, and thus, at this time, it was premature to develop a Code of Practice on controlling furan in food. The 5th session of CCCF, to be held in The Netherlands, March 21-25, 2011, will consider the working group's report.
A representative of the U.S. Codex Office was invited to make a presentation at the Annual Meeting of GOED (Global Organization of EPA and DHA - omega-3 fatty acids), on January 13-14, in Salt Lake City, Utah. GOED members are particularly interested in Codex since a proposal for new work on a standard for marine oils will be discussed at the upcoming session of the Codex Committee on Fats and Oils (CCFO) in February 2011. The U.S. Codex Office presentation focused on Codex structure and procedures, as well as on the opportunities for public participation in the development of draft U.S. positions. GOED members include fish oil suppliers, as well as nutritional supplement formulators and distributors.