U.S. Codex News — Friday, May 6, 2011
A summary of recent and upcoming events published biweekly; direct inquiries to USCodex@fsis.usda.gov
Receive Email Notification of Updates to Codex News
Recent Committee Meetings:
The Committee on Fresh Fruits and Vegetables (CCFFV) concluded its 16th session on May 6 in Mexico City. The Committee forwarded two standards to the Codex Commission (CAC) for adoption: The Draft Standard for Tree Tomatoes at step 8 and the Draft Standard for Chili Peppers at step 5/8. The Committee also endorsed, and sent to the CAC for approval as new work, a project document for golden passion fruit prepared by Colombia. The Committee advanced the Draft Standard for Pomegranate to step 5, and it established an electronic working group, led by the United States, to work on the sizing provisions and uniformity rules contained within the draft pomegranate standard. The Draft Standard on Avocado was retained at step 7 pending finalization of the sizing provisions. The Committee also decided to retain the Standard for Chanterelle mushrooms as a regional standard within Europe due to limited trade outside of that region. The Committee was unable to conclude discussion of the standard layout and will take up discussion at its next session.
The Friends of the Codex Chair concluded their discussions on the proposed ractopamine maximum residue limits (MRLs) in Beijing, April 26-27, with a decision to forward two proposals to the CAC session in July. One proposal will be for adoption of the MRLs as recommended by the Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods (CCRVDF) for muscle, liver, kidney, and fat in pork and beef. The other proposal would defer to 2016 consideration of the MRLs by the CAC, with a series of activities proposed for the interim. Among these are a JECFA evaluation of data from China in order to recommend an MRL for lung tissue and a JECFA review of the components of the food basket that is used as a basis for its recommendations. Both of these activities are underway with support from the United States, but the United States and others do not consider it necessary to complete them before adopting the recommended MRLs now before the CAC.
Upcoming Committee Meetings:
The Committee on Food Labeling (CCFL) begins opens its 39th Session Quebec City, Canada, on May 9. The agenda features proposed revisions of the Guidelines on Nutrition Labeling, the Guidelines on Nutrition and Health Claims, standardized symbols, and mandatory nutrition labeling to implement the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health. Also on the agenda are proposed revisions to the Guidelines for the Production, Processing, Labeling and Marketing of Organically Produced Foods; the labeling of foods and food ingredients obtained through certain technique of genetic modification; and proposed draft definitions of Nutrient Reference Values.
CCAfrica: A group of 20 officials who work on Codex issues in 9 African countries (Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Zambia) and the African Union's Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) will visit Washington, May 16-25, for a mentoring program organized by the U.S. Codex Office, the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN), and the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service. The visiting officials are, typically, the chairperson of the national committee that sets a country's policy on Codex issues, and the manager of the office of the Codex contact point. The purpose of the program is to provide advice for enhancing African participation in Codex meetings. The program will feature meetings with U.S. Codex Office staff and discussions with U.S. Delegates, Alternate Delegates, and other government experts, as well as meetings with representatives from the Food Industry Codex Coalition (FICC) and the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). This mentorship program is a follow-up to a sequence of bilateral workshops that were held in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Senegal, and Zambia from 2008 to 2010.
CCNASWP: Members of the Coordinating Committee on North America and the Southwest Pacific will participate in a workshop to enhance the management capabilities of the National Codex Contact Points for the Pacific island countries. The workshop is being organized by the FAO in collaboration with Australia, New Zealand and the United States, and it will take place, May 10-12, in Apia, Samoa.
New Working Groups:
The Committee on Food Additives (CCFA) inaugurated two electronic working groups (eWG), whose recommendations will be considered at the next session of CCFA:
- Aluminum-containing food additives - The eWG is charged with making recommendations on the adoption, discontinuation or revocation of maximum use levels for sodium aluminum phosphates, aluminum ammonium sulfate, sodium aluminum silicate, calcium aluminum silicate, and aluminum silicate in the General Standard for Food Additives (GSFA). Brazil is leading this eWG and invites member countries and observer organizations that are interested in participating to contact firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com by May 13.
- Discussion Paper on Composite Foods Category - The eWG is charged with developing a detailed description of the products to be included in the food category and proposals for the revision of the name and descriptor of the food category to better reflect the nature of these products. The United States is leading this eWG and requests that member countries and observer organizations interested in joining the eWG contact firstname.lastname@example.org by June 17.
The Secretariats of the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Microbiological Risk Assessment (JEMRA) issued a call for data and experts on foodborne parasitic diseases. This call responds to the decision at the 42nd Session of the Committee on Food Hygiene (CCFH) to undertake new work to elaborate "Guidelines for Control of Specific Zoonotic Parasites in Meat: Trichinella spiralis and Cysticercus bovis," pending approval at the 34th Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission in July. Deadline for submissions is July 31, and the links to the FAO and WHO announcements are: