U.S. Codex News — Friday, March 11, 2011
A summary of recent and upcoming events published biweekly; direct inquiries to USCodex@fsis.usda.gov
Recent Committee Meetings
The Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling (CCMAS) concluded its 32nd Session on March 11. The Committee finalized the Draft Revision Guidelines for Measurement Uncertainty and agreed to advance the document to Step 8 for adoption by the 34th Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission in July 2011. The Committee also revised a Discussion Paper on Guidance on Procedures for Conformity Assessment and Resolution of Disputes to focus on providing principles based on the scientific process. The new version of this discussion paper, renamed Principles for the Use of Sampling and Testing in International Food Trade, will be developed further in an electronic working group (EWG) upon Commission approval in July. New Zealand will chair, and the United States will participate in, this EWG to develop the discussion paper. Finally, the Committee agreed to initiate new work, via an EWG, to define the term "proprietary method" and to prepare a draft version of the proposed criteria for the Procedural Manual by the next Committee Session.
Upcoming Committee Meetings
The 43rd Session of the Committee on Food Additives (CCFA) will take place in Xiamen, PR China, March 14-18. The main agenda items are:
- 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;
- Alignment of food additive provisions in standards for meat products with the relevant provisions of the General Standard for Food Additives (GSFA);
- 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).
The 5th Session of the Committee on Contaminants in Foods (CCCF) will take place in The Netherlands, March 24-28. The main agenda items are:
- The proposed draft Code of Practice for the Reduction of Ethyl Carbamate in Stone Fruit Distillates;
- The Proposed Draft Maximum Levels for Melamine in Food (liquid infant formula),
- The Proposed Maximum Levels for Total Aflatoxins in Dried Figs;
- Discussion papers for mycotoxins in sorghum and for furans; and
- The endorsement of provisions for health-related limits for certain substances in the standard for natural mineral waters.
The U.S. Codex Office and the Foreign Agricultural Service sponsored a colloquium in Cancun, Mexico, to facilitate an exchange of views among 41 delegates from United States, Latin American, and Caribbean island states to the upcoming meetings of the Committees on Food Additives (CCFA), Pesticide Residues (CCPR), and Fresh Fruits and Vegetables (CCFFV). There also was a session to discuss issues anticipated on the agenda for the Codex Alimentarius Commission, as well as presentations on the role of science in Codex and cross-cutting issues. Gretchen Stanton from the World Trade Organization (WTO) made a special presentation on the relationship between Codex and the WTO. This is the 5th colloquium among delegates from the Western Hemisphere.
Upcoming Public Meetings
The U.S. Delegates to the 31st Session of the Codex Committee on Fish and Fishery Products (CCFFP) will hold a public meeting on March 16 to present the draft U.S. positions and to solicit comment. This meeting will be held the at FDA"s Wiley Building, 5100 Paint Branch Parkway in College Park, MD. Interested parties may also participate by calling 866-692-3158, participant code: 5986642.
Other News - New Delegates Named
The U.S. Delegation for the Ad Hoc Task Force on Animal Feed has been completed with the naming of Dr. Patty Bennett, Chief of the Chemical Residue Risk Branch in USDA"s Food Safety and Inspection Service, as the U.S. Alternate Delegate. Dr. Dan McChesney of FDA"s Center for Veterinary Medicine was previously confirmed by the Codex Technical Committee to be the U.S. Delegate. The Task Force is tentatively scheduled to hold its first meeting in February 2012. Switzerland is the host country.
The Technical Committee also approved the nomination of Dr. Pat Basu, Office of Public Health Science in FSIS, as the new U.S. Alternate Delegate to the Committee on Pesticide Residues. He replaces Dr. Bob Epstein of USDA"s Agricultural Marketing Service, who stepped down from his position.
The U.S. Delegation to the Committee on Fish and Fishery Products will be headed by Dr. Bill Jones, Acting Deputy Director of the Office of Foods in FDA"s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, and Mr. Tim Hansen, Director of the Seafood Inspection Program in the Commerce Department"s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Mr. Hansen currently serves as the Alternate U.S. Delegate. Don Kraemer, the current U.S. Delegate, has stepped down from his position.
The February 25 Codex News Update incorrectly reported the dates for the upcoming session of the Committee on Pesticide Residues (CCPR). The correct dates for this session are April 4-9, 2011.