Report of the U.S. Delegate to the 22nd Session of the Codex Committee on Fats and Oils
The Codex Committee on Fats and Oils (CCFO) held its 22nd Session from February 21-25, 2011, in Penang, Malaysia. The Session was attended by 100 participants from 30 Member countries, one Member Organization (EU), two Intergovernmental Observer Organizations and seven non-governmental Observer Organizations. The United States delegation was led by the U.S. Delegate, Mr. Martin Stutsman of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and included U.S. Alternate Delegate, Dr. Robert Moreau of the USDA Agricultural Research Service, three U.S. governmental and three non-governmental representatives.
The United States fully participated on all agenda items and was successful in achieving several of its objectives at the Session. Additionally, the United States co-chaired an intra-session working group on draft lists of acceptable previous cargoes. The United States also participated in a second intra-session working group dealing with levels of linolenic acid in olive oil. Below is a summary of the discussion at this meeting. The full report of the 22nd session of the CCFO can be found in ALINORM REP 11/FO, posted on the Codex Website at www.codexalimentarius.net.
Statement on Voluntary Application in the Appendices of Codex Standards
The Committee agreed to retain the current appendices in the standards for fats and oils and to amend the statement on voluntary application in the appendices to note that criteria in the appendices were supplemental quality factors rather than essential composition factors. The Committee will issue a Circular letter inviting comments on whether certain tables in the appendices should be incorporated into the standards as essential composition factors and on two proposed alternative statements to replace the current statement on voluntary application.
Halogenated Solvents in Olive Oil
The Committee agreed to retain the provisions for halogenated solvents in the Standard. The Committee also agreed to ask the Committee on Contaminants in Foods whether halogenated solvents should be considered as contaminants for inclusion in the General Standard for Contaminants and Toxins in Food and Feed.
Palm Kernel Olein and Palm Kernel Stearin
The Committee agreed to changes proposed by the United States and Indonesia for revised ranges of fatty acids. The Committee advanced the draft amendment to the Standard for Named Vegetable Oils for these items for adoption at Step 8 by the 2011 session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC).
Draft criteria for Assessing the Acceptability of Substances for Inclusion in a List of Acceptable Previous Cargoes
After discussion of several proposed amendments to the draft criteria, the Committee advanced the draft criteria as originally considered for adoption at Step 8 by the 2011 session of the CAC.
Two Draft Lists of Acceptable Previous Cargoes
After years of not reaching consensus, the Committee created an intra-session working group, co-chaired by the United States and Switzerland, to discuss the draft lists. However, the working group was unable to reach consensus on advancing the lists. The report of the working group was published as a Conference Room Document (CRD) but did not appear as an appendix to the official CCFO report. Despite the report of the working group and continuing opposition from the United States, Japan and other delegations, the Committee advanced thee two lists for adoption at Step 8 and Step 5/8, respectively, to the CAC in July 2011.
Linolenic acid in Olive Oils
The Committee created an intra-session working group, chaired by Canada, to discuss the appropriate level of linolenic acid in olive oil. The working group, however, was unable to reach consensus on an appropriate linolenic acid level. The report of the working group was published as a CRD but was not included as an appendix to the official CCFO report. Following the report of the working group, the Committee was unable to reach agreement on an appropriate level for linolenic acid in olive oil. As there was no consensus in the plenary, the Committee decided to not list a value for linolenic acid in the standard and, as suggested by the CAC, recommended that work on this issue be discontinued. This outcome was satisfactory to the United States since the possibility remains for reopening the issue in the future when additional data on linolenic acid has been obtained.
Proposal for new work on a Standard for Fish Oils
The committee advanced the proposal for approval by the CAC after modifying the scope to eliminate algal oils and to specify that the oils would be from fish origin, including shellfish. The Committee created an electronic working group, chaired by Switzerland, to develop a proposed draft standard at Step 3 to be presented to the next Session of CCFO.
Proposal for new work to amend the Standard for Named Vegetable Oils: Sunflower Seed Oils
The documents for this proposal by Argentina were received late, leaving insufficient time to consider them before the meeting. However, the Committee did agree to an electronic working group, chaired by the Argentina to further develop the project document to meet the criteria for new work to be presented to the 23rd Session.
Proposal for new work to amend Campesterol Levels in Olive Oil
This proposal by Australia sought to amend the campesterol levels listed in the Codex Standard for Olive Oil to reflect the true international variation in this constituent. The proposal was supported by the United States and a number of other similarly affected, non-Mediterranean producers of olive oil, but was opposed by European Union member countries and the International Olive Council (IOC). The Committee concluded that there was "insufficient support" to advance the proposal but agreed that Australia, along with Argentina, the United States, and other interested countries should revise the discussion paper for consideration at the 23rd Session, taking into account additional data that would become available in the meantime. The United States is currently developing such data.
Proposal for new work on High Oleic Acid Soybean Oil
This new work, proposed by the United States, received support from many countries from various regions of the world, but was also criticized for not demonstrating significant international trade in the commodity, thereby not meeting all of the Codex criteria for new work. Consequently, the Committee did not approve this new work. However, it did agree to an electronic working group, chaired by the United States, to further develop the project document to meet the criteria for new work to be presented to the 23rd Session.
Proposal for new work on High Oleic Acid Palm Oil
This was a CRD proposal by Colombia for new work to add High Oleic Acid Palm Oil to the Standard for Named Vegetable Oils. This document was received late, leaving insufficient time to review before the meeting. Additionally, there was insufficient trade data in the proposal, thereby not meeting all of the Codex criteria for new work. Consequently, the Committee did not agree to this proposal. However, it did agree to an electronic working group, chaired by Colombia, to further develop the project document to meet the criteria for new work to be presented to the 23rd Session.
Proposal for new work on Cold-Pressed Oils (Walnut Oil, Pistachio Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, and Hazelnut Oil)
This was a CRD proposal by Iran for new work to add certain cold-pressed oils (walnut oil, pistachio oil, hemp seed oil, and hazelnut oil) to the standard for Named Vegetable oils. The document was received late, leaving insufficient time to review it properly. Additionally, the proposal lacked the information required by the criteria for new work. Consequently, the Committee did not agree to this proposal. However, it did agree to an electronic working group, chaired by Iran, to further develop the project document to meet the criteria for new work to be presented to the 23rd Session.
Time and Date of Next Meeting
The next session is scheduled to be tentatively held in Malaysia from February 25-March 1,2013.