Report of the U.S. Delegate, Codex Committee on Processed Fruits and Vegetables, 25th Session
The 25th Session of the Codex Committee on Processed Fruits and Vegetables (CCPFV) was held in Densapar, Indonesia, from October 25-29, 2010, and co-hosted by the Governments of Indonesia and the United States. The United States was represented by Delegate, Mr. Dorian LaFond of the Agricultural Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture; and Alternate Delegate, Dr. Paul South of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The Committee was chaired by Mr. Richard Boyd of the United States.
Matters Referred to the Committee by the Codex Alimentarius Commission and Codex Committees
Based on a request from the 32nd Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), the Committee changed its terms of reference to include fruit and vegetable juices and related products, given their relevance to the mandate of this Codex Committee and the dissolution of the Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Task Force on Fruit and Vegetable Juices in 2005. This change is subject to endorsement by the Commission.
Proposed Draft Codex Standard for Grated Desiccated Coconut
The Committee discussed the changes proposed by the working group chaired by Brazil on the Proposed Draft Codex Standard for Grated Desiccated Coconut. Among the changes endorsed included: (i) extending the scope to include desiccated coconut intended for further processing; (ii) using the more accurate reference for the product, "desiccated coconut," instead of "grated desiccated coconut"; and (iii) differentiating between "Desiccated Coconut" and "Reduced Oil Desiccated Coconut" by indicating that "Desiccated Coconut" is a product from which oil has not been extracted whereas "Reduced Oil Desiccated Coconut" is a product from which oil has been physically extracted. The committee also agreed that the content of reduced oil desiccated coconut oil ranges from 35 to 60 percent.
The Committee expressed divergent views regarding food additives, a common debate which was generally present throughout the discussion of all the standards on the agenda. Some Delegations, including the United States, supported making a general reference to the General Standard for Food Additives (GSFA) in the standard, since this would be consistent with the view of the 28th Session of the (CAC) that the GSFA should be the single authoritative reference point for food additives. Other Delegations, including the European Union, disagreed and recommended listing only those additives of the functional classes considered technological relevant to the product.
Committee agreed to include in the standard the general reference to GSFA for preservatives and antioxidants and consult with the Codex Committee on Food Additives on limiting the preservatives for use in desiccated coconut to sulfites. The Committee advanced the standard to Step 5/8 with omission of steps 6 and 7 for adoption by the Commission.
Proposed Draft Codex Standard for Table Olives
The European Union, which led the Working Group on Table Olives, highlighted the key issues which were discussed in the physical working group. During the plenary session, members expressed different views on every section of the standard. In the absence of a consensus, the Committee decided to the return the proposed Revised Draft Codex Standard for Table Olives to Step 2 for redrafting by the electronic working group, to be chaired by the European Union.
Proposed Draft Codex Standard for Mushrooms
The Delegation of France, which chaired the Working Group on Canned Vegetables, introduced the changes proposed by the working group that met before the Plenary Session. At the outset of the discussion, the Committee decided that it would revert to the current provisions in force where no consensus could be reached on proposed new or revised provisions.
The Committee clarified that the product covered by the standard is limited to mushrooms of the Agaricus species and agreed to identify their common names in a footnote. It was also agreed that mushrooms in sauce were included in the scope of the annex and to keep the scope as it is currently drafted to maintain its level of inclusiveness. Several delegations, including the European Union, Norway, Switzerland and Brazil, noted their reservation on the allowance of colors in canned mushrooms. The Committee advanced the standard to Step 5/8 with omission of Steps 6 and 7 for adoption by the Commission.
Proposed Draft Codex Standard for Canned Bamboo Shoots
The Delegation of France, which led the Working Group on Canned Vegetables, introduced the proposed changes of the Working Group. The Committee agreed to retain the Standard as a stand- alone document rather than as an Annex to the Standard for Certain Canned Vegetables. The Committee also agreed to include in the scope a non-exhaustive list of species to serve as guidance on the relevant safe species for use in the canning of bamboo shoots.
After much discussion and agreement on minor modifications, the Committee advanced the standard to Step 5/8 with omission of Steps 6 and 7 for adoption by the Commission.
Proposed Draft Codex Sampling Plans Including Metrological Provisions for Controlling Minimum Drained Weight of Canned Fruits and Vegetables in Packing Media
There were differing views on the draft sampling plan. Some delegations expressed support for the current existing language since it was easily understood and still widely accepted and therefore proposed to discontinue work on this item. Other Delegations supported continuing the work, believing that the document could be improved by further simplification and that the CCPFV should wait for the International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML) R87 revision to be completed. These delegations also supported the importance of a more reasonable, flexible approach based on an AQL of 2.5, which is recommended by OIML, as opposed to the current AQL level of 6.5. The Committee agreed to continue this work via an electronic working group, led by France, but on the condition that if no consensus is reached by CCPFV's next session, the development of a sampling plan and the control for minimum drained weight will cease.
Food Additive Provisions for Processed Fruits and Vegetables
In an effort to expedite the development of its standards and avoid prolonged plenary discussions on food additive provisions on every relevant standard on the agenda, the Committee established an electronic working group on food additives. The electronic working group, to be led jointly by the European Commission and the United States, was asked to consider making general references to the GSFA and include technological justifications for exceptions, where appropriate.
Proposals for Amendments to the Priority List for the Standardization of Processed Fruits and Vegetables
The Working Group chaired by the United States presented its findings on the relevance of the remaining unrevised standards for processed fruits and vegetables and provided options on how to proceed with their revisions. The Committee concurred with the recommendation of the Working Group to initiate new work using a horizontal approach to develop general standards for canned fruits and quick frozen vegetables. This approach would involve combining and revising existing unrevised standards for the said commodities. The standards will be developed through two electronic working groups—one on quick frozen vegetables to be chaired by United States and another on canned fruits to be chaired by Cuba.
The Committee agreed to simplify the provisions by identifying essential quality provisions and where possible, refer to those horizontal Codex texts developed by the relevant general subject committees. The Committee also agreed to the approach to revert to provisions to the standard in force where no agreement could be reached on the new or revised provisions. As a result, the Committee put on hold the previous priority list for the revision of standards and will use the procedures outlined in the Codex Procedural Manual for the submission of new work proposals.
The Delegation of Korea, supported by CCASIA members, requested the Committee to consider its proposal to convert the Regional Codex standard for Ginseng Products into a worldwide standard. The Committee requested the delegation to prepare a discussion paper and project document for the next Session.
The Delegation of Kenya, proposed new work on chemically flavored water-based drinks or water-based drinks, in light of the newly expanded mandate to cover fruit and vegetable juices and related products. Differing views were expressed on the relevance of this matter to the CCPFV. Kenya with assistance from Brazil and the United States will prepare a discussion paper on these products for consideration at the next Session.
The next session is tentatively scheduled to be held in 2012 in the United States (exact date and location to be determined).