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U.S. Codex News—Friday, March 8, 2013

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

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Recent Meetings

Committee on Fat & Oils (CCFO) concluded its 23rd Session on March 1, 2013, in Langkawi, Malaysia. The Session was attended by 101 delegates from 35 Member countries, 4 international organizations and 1 Member organization. The Session opened with the host country unveiling a commemorative booklet, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of Codex, outlining the achievements of the CCFO over the years.

Key outcomes include:

Rice Bran Oil:

  • At the last Session, the CCFO agreed to start new work to amend the level of desmethylsterols and the fatty acid composition of rice bran oil in the Codex Standard for Named Vegetable Oils. At this session, the Committee agreed on these new levels and recommended adoption by the Commission at Step 5/8.

Code of Practice for the Storage and Transport of Edible Fats and Oils in Bulk: Draft and Proposed Draft Lists of Acceptable Previous Cargoes:

  • The Committee agreed to have this as a standing agenda item at every session of CCFO to consider review of the lists;
  • The Committee established an electronic Working Group, operating between sessions, to review data on substances, among other tasks, and provide recommendations for consideration at subsequent Committee sessions;
  • The Committee also agreed to convene a physical Working Group immediately prior to the next session to review the eWG recommendations and prepare a report for the Committee.

Draft Standard for Fish Oils:

  • The Committee agreed to revise the scope, but could not finalize the document because extensive changes to the description, definitions, and all other remaining sections that require further consideration.
  • The Committee re-established an electronic Working Group to continue work on the draft standard for consideration at the next session of CCFO.

New Work Proposals:

  • Numerous countries, including the United States, Argentina, Australia, Colombia and Iran, proposed new work that obtained wide support, but the Committee did not agree to recommend any of these proposals to the Commission.
  • Electronic working groups were established for these new work proposals with the exception of the Australian proposal to revise the campesterol level in olive oil to accurately reflect levels found in all olive oil producing regions.

The next Session of CCFO will take place in Malaysia in February 2015.

Committee on Methods of Analysis (CCMAS) concluded its 34th Session on March 8, 2013, in Budapest, Hungary. The Session was attended by 132 delegates from 52 Member countries, 11 international organizations and 1 Member organization.

Key outcomes from the Session include:

Endorsement Working Group:

  • The Committee considered methods of analysis from CCFFP, CCPFV, CCFO, CCNFSDU, CCS, CCASIA and CCNEA;
  • The Committee considered methods of sampling from CCCF, CCFFP and CCPFV

Draft Principles for the Use of Sampling and Testing in International Food Trade:

  • Section on Principles: the Principles were finalized and will go to the Commission for adoption at Step 8.
  • Other Sections: the Committee agreed to establish an electronic Working Group to redraft this section of the document. The revised version will be circulated for comments at Step 3 in anticipation of consideration at the CCMAS next session.

New Discussion Papers

  • The Inter-Agency Meeting (IAM) provided a discussion paper on the evolution of sampling in Codex, indicating that some Codex Commodity Committees referred to the General Guidelines on Sampling instead of selecting specific sampling plans. Because guidance would be helpful, the IAM will develop a paper on sampling and present it at the next CCMAS session.
  • Brazil presented a discussion paper on the need to update references to methods of analysis. The Committee agreed to establish an electronic Working Group to set out procedures for regular updating of such methods.

Committee proceedings included a special segment celebrating the 50th anniversary of the founding of Codex. The segment began with presentations highlighting accomplishments over the last fifty years in CCMAS (Committee Chair Arpad Ambrus) and the overall accomplishments of Codex (Codex Alimentarius Commission Vice Chair Awilo Ochieng Pernet). Brazil, the Philippines and Kenya also spoke on the structure of their national Codex Contact Points and on the importance and role of Codex in their countries.

The next Session of CCMAS is scheduled for March 3-7, 2014, in Hungary.

Delegate Reports that provide more detail on the outcomes of these sessions will soon be available at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/international-affairs/us-codex-alimentarius/recent-delegation-reports

Upcoming Meetings

Committee on Food Additives (CCFA) will meet in Beijing, China, March 18-22, 2013. The Committee will consider endorsement or revision of maximum levels for food additives and processing aids in Codex standards; application of the decision-tree for aligning food additive provisions with commodity standards; and a discussion paper on the revision of the Guidelines for the Evaluation of Food Additive Intakes (CAC/GL 3-1989), along with continuing work on the General Standard for Food Additives(GSFA). The U.S. Delegation will be led by Nega Beru of FDA's Center for Food Safety & Applied Nutrition.

Upcoming Public Meetings

Committee on Contaminants in Foods (CCCF): USDA and FDA will convene a public meeting on March 12 from 10:00 AM -12:00 noon to review draft U.S. positions on agenda items that will be considered at the next CCCF session (April 8-12, 2013, in Moscow, Russian Federation). The public meeting will take place at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Harvey Wiley Building, 5100 Paint Branch Parkway, Room 1A-002, College Park, MD 20740. Individuals may also participate via teleconference by calling 1-888-858-2144; Participant Code: 6208658.

Working Groups

Committee on Food Hygiene (CCFH) invites member countries and observer organizations to join an electronic working group (eWG), led by the United States and India, to consider the proposed revisions for the Codex of Hygienic Practice for Spices and Dried Aromatic Plants, which had been discussed at the 44th Session of CCFH (November 2012), including requests for expert advice from the FAO and WHO. Member countries and observer organizations interested in participating in the eWG should ask their national Codex contact points to provide to their names, official titles and email addresses to Jenny Scott (jenny.scott@fda.hhs.gov) with a copy to Jane van Doren (jane.vandoren@fda.hhs.gov) and to Dr. P.S. Sreekantan Thampi (drpssthampi2000@gmail.com) as soon as possible. Individuals in the United States interested in contributing to the eWG should send the same information to the same addresses.

Committee on Processed Fruits and Vegetables (CCPFV) invites member countries and observer organizations to join an eWG, working in English only, to revise the annexes on quick frozen foods (reference: REP13/PFV, para 86), taking into account proposals by a physical working group on Annex VIII - Leeks and subsequent written comments. Interested member countries and observer organizations should provide the names, affiliations, email addresses and telephone numbers of their official designated representatives to dorian.lafond@ams.usda.gov with copies to jasmine.curtis@fsis.usda.gov and uscodex@fsis.usda.gov by March 31, 2013. Parties in the United States who are interested in contributing to U.S. participation in the eWG should send their contact information to the U.S. Codex Office ( uscodex@fsis.usda.gov).

Committee on Fresh Fruits and Vegetables (CCFFV) invites member countries and observer organizations to join an eWG to draft a proposed standard for okra. Interested member countries and observer organizations should provide the names, affiliations, email addresses and telephone numbers of their official designated representatives to Dr. S.C. Khurana ( khurana183@gmail.com) by March 31, 2013. Parties in the United States who are interested in contributing to U.S. participation in the eWG should send their contact information to the U.S. Codex Office ( uscodex@fsis.usda.gov).

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Last Modified Sep 10, 2013