U.S. Codex News—Friday, March 22, 2013
A summary of recent and upcoming events published biweekly; direct inquiries to USCodex@fsis.usda.gov
Executive Committee (CCEXEC) The Sub-Committee of the CCEXEC charged with preparing the new draft Codex Strategic Plan (2014-2019) met in Ottawa, Canada, March 10-12. Taking as its starting point the version of the Strategic Plan that was considered by the FAO/WHO Regional Coordinating Committees in their recent sessions, the group reviewed all new comments received and achieved consensus on a final draft Strategic Plan for consideration by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) in July. The CCEXEC Sub-Committee meeting was chaired by Codex Vice-Chair Samuel Godefroy. Participants included Codex Chair Sanjay Dave as well as regional representatives from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America and the South West Pacific. U.S. Codex Manager Mary Frances Lowe represented North America, assisted by advisors Anatole Papadopoulos of Health Canada and Michael Wehr of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The revised Strategic Plan will be posted on the Codex Alimentarius website along with other documents for the July CAC session.
Committee on Food Additives (CCFA) concluded a very productive 45th Session in Beijing, China, on March 22nd. Key outcomes include:
- The Committee recommended for adoption by the CAC over 500 provisions for food additives. This was accomplished using the new horizontal approach for acidity regulators, emulsifiers, stabilizers and thickeners. The Maximum Limits (MLs) for the 28 provisions for aluminum-containing food additives were reduced in accordance with JECFA recommendations. Where possible, further restrictions on the use of aluminum-containing food additives were recommended.
- The Committee agreed to use a decision tree approach for the alignment of the GSFA and the food additive provisions of commodity standards. CCFA will inform the commodity committees on the progress of the decision tree approach.
- The Committee forwarded proposals for the Priority List of Compounds for Reevaluation to JECFA.
- The Committee agreed to hold a physical Working Group prior to the start of the 46th Session to address new proposals for additions and changes to the GSFA.
- The Committee established multiple electronic Working Groups (eWG) with the following topics:
- to identify concerns with Note 161, in regards to its use in sweeteners in specific food categories. Information provided to the eWG will be used to explore the use of alternative notes or to demonstrate that Note 161 is no longer needed for specific provisions. The eWG will be chaired by the United Kingdom and the United States will serve as Assistant to the Chair.
- to address the alignment of food additive provisions of commodity standards with the GSFA, including meat standards, standards for bouillons and consommès, and chocolate and cocoa products standards. The eWG will be chaired by Australia.
- to prepare a discussion paper that will consider options for implementing the findings of the exercise to identify priorities for reevaluation by JECFA related to colors. The eWG will be chaired by Canada.
- to propose draft Guidelines for the Simple Evaluation of Food Additives Intake. The eWG will be chaired by Brazil.
- to prepare recommendations on acidity regulators and emulsifiers, stabilizers and thickeners in grape wines, and proposals for new provisions in this category. The eWG will be chaired by France.
Upcoming Public Meetings
Committee on Pesticide Residues (CCPR) The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service in conjunction with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is sponsoring a public meeting to provide information and receive public comments on agenda items and draft U.S. positions to be discussed at the upcoming 45th Session of the CCPR, which will be held in Beijing, China, May 6-13, 2013. The public meeting will be held on March. 28, 2013, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the EPA, Room S-7100, One Potomac Yard South, 2777 South Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA 22202. For individuals who would like to participate by telephone, please use the following Call-in Numbers: 1-866-299-3188 (within the United States) and 1-706-758-1822 (for International); Participant Code: 7033056463#. Documents and agenda items related to the 45th Session will be accessible at the Codex website at:
Upcoming Committee Meetings
Committee on Contaminants in Foods (CCCF) will meet in Moscow, Russia, April 8-12, 2013. The U.S. Delegation will be led by Nega Beru of FDA's Center for Food Safety & Applied Nutrition. The Committee will consider a number of items currently at Step 4, including:
Industrial and Environmental Contaminants
- proposed draft revision of the maximum levels for lead in selected commodities in the General Standard for Contaminants and Toxins in Food and Feed (CODEX STAN 193-1995).
- proposed draft revision of guideline levels for radionuclides in foods
- proposed draft MLs for deoxynivalenol (DON) in cereals and cereal-based products and associated sampling plans
- proposed draft annex for the prevention and reduction of aflatoxins and ochratoxin A contamination in sorghum (Code of practice for the prevention and reduction of mycotoxin contamination in cereals)
- proposed draft Code of practice for the prevention and reduction of ochratoxin A contamination in cocoa
- proposed draft MLs for hydrocyanic acid in cassava and cassava products
- proposed draft Code of practice to reduce the presence of hydrocyanic acid in cassava and cassava products
It will also consider a number of discussion papers, including:
- development of a Code of practice for the prevention and reduction of arsenic contamination in rice
- management practices to reduce exposure of food-producing animals (livestock and bees) to pyrrolizidine alkaloids; and to reduce presence of pyrrolizidine alkaloids in commodities (raw and processed)
- review of the guideline levels for methylmercury in fish and predatory fish
- control measures for fumonisins in maize and maize-products
- aflatoxins in cereals