U.S. Codex News in brief — Friday, October 21, 2011
A summary of recent and upcoming events published biweekly; direct inquiries to USCodex@fsis.usda.gov
Recent Committee Meetings
The Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems (CCFICS) held its 19th Session in Cairns, Australia. The main document for the meeting was "Proposed Draft Principles and Guidelines for National Control Systems," and the Committee agreed to forward Sections 1-3, including 13 draft principles, for adoption at Step 5. The Committee discussed the content of Section 4 relating to design and implementation of the national control system, and made decisions on concepts to be included under the general headings of Policy Setting, System Design, Implementation, and Monitoring and System Review. This section remains at Step 2, and will be the subject of a physical working group meeting tentatively scheduled for the second quarter of 2012 in Grange, Ireland.
In other action, the Committee:
- Declined to begin new work on export certificate attestations.
- Generally supported a proposal from Costa Rica for work on a harmonized questionnaire for gathering information from exporting countries, but requested more information before approving new work. Costa Rica will lead an electronic working group to prepare a discussion paper and project document for the next CCFICS meeting.
- Declined to approve at this time a new work proposal from the United States to develop performance metrics for countries to assess the capacity of national control systems. While generally supporting the concept, the Committee preferred to wait until the National Control Systems document was completed. The United States will develop a questionnaire for distribution to member countries to gather information on how countries currently assess systems, and will prepare a discussion paper and project document for the next CCFICS meeting. Agreed that the United States would prepare
- Agreed that the United States would prepare a discussion paper for consideration at the next CCFICS meeting on managing food safety emergency situations in relation to international trade. The paper is to take into account two existing CCFICS texts, FAO/WHO guidance and mechanisms, and proposals for incorporation of animal feed references in the documents.
The U.S. Delegate will provide a more detailed report on this Session, which we will publish shortly on our companion page for Recent Delegate Reports: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/international-affairs/us-codex-alimentarius/recent-delegation-reports
The Codex Secretariat will publish the formal report of this Session at: www.codexalimentarius.org.
The next CCFICS meeting is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 18-22, 2013.
New Electronic Working Groups (eWG)
Codex Committee on Fish and Fishery Products (CCFFP): Chile and France will chair a new eWG (working in English, French and Spanish) with the mandate of creating a simplified procedure to facilitate the inclusion of new species in standards for fish and fishery products. Individuals in the United States interested in contributing to the eWG should send their names, official titles, and email addresses to the U.S. Codex Office (email@example.com). Codex Members and Observers interested in participating in the eWG should provide the names, official positions, institutions and email addresses of their representatives to: Ms. Loreto Rodriguez Arizabalo (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Dr. Urwana Querrec (email@example.com) before November 1st, 2011. The goal is to submit the final eWG report to the Codex Secretariat By June 1, 2012.
India: V.N. Gaur, chief executive officer and now acting chairman of the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) met with the Codex Office on October 20 as part of a visit to the United States. Mr. Gaur described the recent establishment of FSSAI, which was created by the Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006. In addition to its regulatory authority, FSSAI is the new home agency for the Codex Contact Point of India. Mr. Gaur has attended Codex meetings, and expressed an interest in promoting closer cooperation between U.S. and Indian delegations, as well as between the contact points of both countries. Mr. Gaur was accompanied by Dr. G. Srinivasan, the head of the FSSAI regional office for the port of Chennai.
New Delegate - Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling (CCMAS): Dr. Gregory Noonan was recently appointed as the U.S. Delegate, replacing Dr. Gregory Diachenko, who successfully served as U.S. delegate to the CCMAS for over fifteen years. Dr. Noonan has been actively involved in the last five sessions of CCMAS, including leading the U.S. delegation at the Work Group on Endorsement of Methods. He has been with the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition since 2002, focusing on development of analytical methods for determining direct and indirect additives and contaminants in foods.
New Website: The Codex Alimentarius Commission has launched new website: www.codexalimentarius.org. Some of the new website's benefits include:
- New layout intended to be more user-friendly;
- Search function works across the entire site, including all reports and agendas;
- New feature allows direct access to all sessions held by a specific Codex Committee, including every text developed by it; and
- Link to the Codex Channel on YouTube.
In the next few months, the Codex Secretariat intends to make the interface of the site available in Arabic, Chinese and Russian. The old website ( www.codexalimentarius.net) will remain online at least until the end of the year.