Codex News - July 14, 2015
A summary of recent and upcoming events published biweekly; direct inquiries to USCodex@fsis.usda.gov
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The Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) concluded its 38th Session in Geneva, Switzerland, on July 11, 2015. The Session was attended by delegates from 140 Member countries and one Member Organization, and 33 international governmental and non-governmental organizations.
The CAC adopted a number of standards at Step 8 (including many at Step 5/8). Some standards that raised debate included:
- Standard for Ginseng Products — Thailand raised concern on the wording of the optional labelling requirements since Codex standards are of a voluntary nature, but when applied by members and incorporated into national legislation, they become mandatory. It is therefore up to the competent authority to decide how to formulate and enforce.
- Amendments to the Standard for Pickled Fruits and Vegetables (CODEX STAN 260-2007) (provisions for packing media for pickled vegetables and provisions for food additives for pickled fruits and vegetables) — The European Union (EU) stated that a reference to the GSFA implied the approval of many food additive provisions that were not technologically justified for use in the products covered by the standard and therefore preferred maintaining a separate list of food additives in the standard. This view was shared by Norway. The standard was adopted with reservations from the EU and Norway.
- Regional Standard for Non-Fermented Soybean Products — The United States proposed referring the method of analysis for the determination of protein content to CCMAS for clarification on the appropriateness of a 5.71 conversion factor. The particular section had already been endorsed by CCMAS34, as proposed by CCASIA. CCASIA in response to a request from CCMAS to review the use of this factor in determining protein content in the Regional Standard for Tempe, had agreed to retain it, noting that scientific literature indicated that this factor was appropriate for soybean. The CAC agreed to adopt the draft regional Standard at Step 8, subject to CCFL endorsing the food labelling provisions and to CCMAS assessing the appropriateness of the use of the conversion factor of 5.71 to determine protein content in soybean products in general.
- MRLs for Derquantel (sheep tissues), Emamectin Benzoate (salmon and trout tissues) and Monepantel (sheep tissues) — The CAC adopted the proposed draft MRLs, however the EU and Norway reiterated the reservation made at CCRVDF22 on the adoption of the MRLs for monepantel. Switzerland expressed the same reservation.
- Risk Management Recommendations (RMRs) for Dimetridazole, Ipronidazole, Metronidazole and Ronidazole — The CAC adopted the proposed draft and noted the following reservations: Brazil stated that the language of the RMRs did not clearly distinguish between the role of Codex and that of the national authority. The United States shared this reservation, and in particular to the inclusion of the last sentence “This can be accomplished by not using [name of compound] in food producing animals” in the RMRs because in their view it poorly communicated risk management advice to competent authorities. The Philippines supported the above views.
- Standard for Non-centrifuged Dehydrated Sugar Cane Juice — The CAC agreed to return the standard to Step 6 for additional comments, since a number of key provisions needed to be addressed in order to make the standard inclusive and applicable worldwide. The goal is to reach consensus for adoption at Step 8 at CAC39. If no consensus could be reached, CCS may consider convening a physical meeting or discontinuing work.
- Draft MRLs for Bovine Somatotropins — After much debate, the CAC could not reach consensus to adopt the MRLs, however could agree onrecognizing the validity of JECFA’s risk assessments as the sound scientific basis for its deliberations on rbSTs. The CAC agreed to hold the draft MRLs for rbSTs at Step 8 to provide further time to facilitate a possible consensus. The draft MRLs would continue to be on the agenda of the CAC and open to discussion. Cuba expressed its reservation to this decision as it did not give a specific deadline by which a decision would be taken on the adoption of the draft MRLs for rbSTs.
- General Standard for Processed Cheese — The CAC recognized the progress made over the course of the year and at the pWG, and therefore adopted the proposed draft standard at Step 5, noting the reservations of Egypt and the EU. It also requested New Zealand to convene a pWG and to consider hosting a physical meeting of CCMMP to look at the outstanding issues as outlined in the Circular Letter, CL2015/15-MMP, issued in May 2015.
OTHER KEY DEVELOPMENTS
- Quinoa — The CAC approved new work on an international standard for quinoa and agreed to reactivate CCCPL to work by correspondence via an eWG, chaired by Bolivia and co-chaired by the United States, working in English and Spanish, to proceed with the development of the initial draft.
- Codex Work Management-- The CAC agreed that the process to define the scope of the paper (Phase 1) should be transparent and inclusive with strong engagement of the Codex members. The Codex Strategic Plan (2014-19) will also form the basis for designing the work management evaluation.
- Scientific Advice Funding Options — The CAC supported Option 1 (increase extra-budgetary funding in FAO and WHO) as the most feasible, long-term solution and encouraged Codex members to make every effort to take action immediately, which would lead to a favorable decision by the FAO and WHO governing bodies.
- Codex Trust Fund Successor (CTF2) — The CAC expressed full support for CTF2 and agreed with the design of the project proposal including the concepts of the multi-year funding and tailor-made support, noting that the eligibility criteria for CTF2 were yet to be finalized.
- Members of the Executive Committee Elected on a geographic basis:
- Africa: Nigeria
- Asia: Malaysia
- Europe: Norway
- Latin America and the Caribbean: Mexico
- Near East: Lebanon
- North America: Canada (re-elected)
- South-West Pacific: New Zealand (re-elected)
- Regional Coordinators appointed to the relevant Coordinating Committees:
- Africa: Kenya
- Asia: India
- Europe: The Netherlands (re-appointed)
- Latin America and the Caribbean: Chile
- Near East: Iran
- North America and South-West Pacific: Vanuatu
Electronic Working Groups (eWGs)
Committee on Contaminants in Foods (CCCF)
Mycotoxins in Spices (MLs): CCCF invites Members and Observers to join an eWG, led by India and co-chaired by Indonesia and the European Union, working in English only, to prepare a revised discussion paper on mycotoxin contamination in spices and a project document for establishment of MLs for mycotoxins in spices. The discussion paper should also include proposals for possible MLs to help the Committee make a decision on new work at the next session. Individuals in the United States interested in participating should provide their name, official title, and e-mail address to the U.S. Codex Office (USCodex@fsis.usda.gov) by July 28. Individuals in other Member countries and organizations interested in participating should forward their information through their Codex Contact Points directly to: Dr. Dinesh Singh Bisht (firstname.lastname@example.org), Mr. Joni Munarso (email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com) and Mr Frans (firstname.lastname@example.org), with a copy to email@example.com by July 31, 2015.
Mycotoxins in Spices (Prevention & Reduction): CCCF invites Members and Observers to join an eWG, led by Spain and co-chaired by India and The Netherlands, working in English only, to prepare a Code of Practice for the Prevention and Reduction of Mycotoxin Contamination in Spices and a discussion paper to outline the development of possible annexes for mycotoxin/individual spices or groups of spices combinations. Individuals in the United States interested in participating should provide their name, official title, and e-mail address to the U.S. Codex Office (USCodex@fsis.usda.gov) by July 28. Individuals in other Member countries and organizations interested in participating should forward their information through their Codex Contact Points directly to: firstname.lastname@example.org no later than July 31, 2015.
Committee on Pesticide Residues (CCPR)
Performance Criteria for Methods of Analysis: CCPR invites Members and Observers to join a re-established eWG, led by the United States and co-chaired by China and India, working in English only, to further revise the “Proposed Draft Guidance on Performance Criteria for Methods of Analysis for the Determination of Pesticide Residues,” taking into consideration relevant CCRVDF and CCMAS documents. Individuals in the United States and in other Member countries and organizations interested in participating should forward their information through their Codex Contact Points directly to: Dr. Pat Basu (Pat.Basu@fsis.usda.gov), Dr. Canping Pan (email@example.com) and Dr. Krishan Kumar Sharma (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a copy to the US Codex Office (email@example.com) by July 31, 2015.
Priorities: CCPR invites Members and Observers to join a re-established eWG, chaired by Australia, working in English only, on the Schedules and Priority Lists for consideration by the next session of CCPR. Individuals in the United States interested in participating should provide their name, official title, and e-mail address to the U.S. Codex Office (USCodex@fsis.usda.gov) by August 10. Individuals in other Member countries and organizations interested in participating should forward their information through their Codex Contact Points directly to the Australian Codex Contact Point (firstname.lastname@example.org) by August 15, 2015.
The summary and conclusions of the 80th meeting of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), which recently met in Rome, Italy, from June 16-25, 2015, are available on the FAO and WHO websites at:
- FAO: http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/agns/pdf/jecfa/Summary_report_of_the_80th_JECFA_meeting.pdf
- WHO: http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/JECFA_80_Summary_Version_Final_3_July_2015.pdf?ua=1.