Delegate's Report, 42nd Session, Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues
The Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues (CCPR) held held its 42nd Session in Xian, China, from April 19 - 24, 2010. Professor Xiongwu Quio, Vice-Director of the Shanxi Academy of Agricultural Sciences served as Chair, assisted by Dr. Weili Shan, the Director of the Residue Division of ICAMA. In attendance were 190 delegates, representing 51 member countries, 1 International Organization, and 7 non-governmental organizations. Ms. Lois Rossi of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) led the US Delegation, and Dr. Robert Epstein of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) served as alternate delegate.
The following summarizes issues of particular interest to the US Delegation. Complete details of the 42nd Session are found on the Codex Alimentarius website at:
Achieving Globally Harmonized Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) through Codex
At the 2010 CCPR session, the United States was successful in obtaining approval of the proposed process for the evaluation of new chemicals by JMPR before finalization of any national review/registration. Under this process, otherwise known as the "pilot project," the FAO/WHO Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR) would conduct an independent parallel review along with a global joint review team, to estimate the maximum residue levels (MRLs) before MRL tolerances are set at the national level. JMPR would set the reference standard, which member countries would then consider in setting their own national standards. This pilot project utilizing an upcoming multinational review compound, sulfoxaflor, was approved for review by the 2011 JMPR.
Nomination and Prioritization of Compounds to be Considered by JMPR
All U.S. nominations for both new compounds and additional uses of existing compounds were scheduled. The Committee discussed JMPR's capacity to handle requests for establishing Codex MRLs, which have increased greatly since the introduction of the accelerated process for establishing MRLs. The Committee was invited to comment on this issue and propose recommendations. The Committee noted that factors such as limited funding, the availability of expertise, and the timing/frequency of JMPR meetings affected JMPR's capacity. The Committee discussed several options, including resurrecting the,"Friends of the JMPR," process, identifying sources for increased funding, organizing two JMPR meetings per year, and increasing the number of experts at the JMPR meetings.
The FAO JMPR Secretariat informed the Committee that FAO and WHO launched the Global Initiative for Food-Related Scientific Advice (GIFSA) in 2007 to find a mechanism to facilitate the provision of extra-budgetary resources for scientific advice activities. Contributions will be accepted from governments, organizations and foundations, in accordance with FAO and WHO rules, and can be designated for a specific purpose, such as for the JMPR. More information about GIFSA is available at the following websites:
The Committee agreed that the U.S. Delegation, with assistance from Cameroon and Croplife International, would prepare a discussion paper on how to address JMPR resource issues for consideration by the next session of the Committee.
The Committee considered the MRL recommendations from the 2009 JMPR compound/commodity MRLs remaining at Steps 3 or 6/7 from the 41st Session, and MRLs previously recommended for withdrawal.
Approximately 217 pesticide/commodity MRLs, based on the consideration of 21 pesticides by the 2009 JMPR, were advanced to Step 8 for adoption by the CAC. This was the fifth year that the accelerated procedure, along with the criteria for decision making, was used with great success, as 211 of these 217 MRLs were advanced using the accelerated 5/8 procedure.
An additional 52 pesticide/commodity MRLs for 4 pesticides were advanced to Step 5, either as the result of the identification of a potential dietary intake concern by the JMPR or as the result of a country's expressed concern based on the availability of additional information not previously considered by the JMPR.
Some 95 pesticide/commodity MRLs for 17 pesticide chemicals were recommended for revocation. These are typically MRLs no longer supported or deemed by JMPR to have potential dietary intake concerns with no alternative GAP. Additionally, 33 pesticide/commodity MRLs associated with 9 chemicals at various steps in the Codex process were withdrawn for various reasons.
About 48 pesticide/commodity MRLs associated with 10 chemicals were returned to Step 6 or retained at Step 7. These represent MRLs with dietary intake concerns or other issues previously identified and awaiting further review by the JMPR for either retrospective analysis (alternative GAP) or periodic review
Matters Relating to the Global Minor Use Summit
USDA and EPA have continued their efforts to hold activities on minor use and specialty crops, following the Minor Use Summit held in 2007.
In the past year, the U.S. Codex office and the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service have conducted capacity-building activities in Africa and Latin America. At the 2010 CCPR meeting, USDA, EPA, and the Chinese Institute for the Control of Agrochemicals Ministry of Agriculture (ICAMA) sponsored a one-day Pre-CCPR Symposium: Update on Global Pesticide Harmonization Efforts and Minor Use/Specialty Crops Initiatives. Through these outreach efforts, more countries, particularly developing countries, have become actively engaged in promoting global MRL harmonization efforts at CCPR and have become involved in the CCPR Working Group on Minor Uses and Specialty Crops.
Revision of the Codex Classification of Foods and Animal Feeds
The electronic working group co-chaired by the Netherlands and the U.S. resolved many remaining issues with the eight commodity groups: bulb vegetables, fruiting vegetables other than cucurbits, berries and small fruits, edible fungi, citrus fruits, pome fruits, stone fruits, and oilseeds, and the Committee agreed to retain these eight commodity groups, as amended during the Session, at Step 7.
The U.S. encouraged the expeditious revision of the Commodity Group Classification, which is integral to promoting MRL harmonization and removing technical barriers to trade. The Committee had initially agreed that commodity groups could not be adopted until all the revisions to the Classification had been completed. However, after resolving many of the commodity coding issues at the last session, it now seems possible to advance several commodity groups to Step 8 for inclusion in the classification system. In particular, the crop groups for several fruit types, such as berries and small fruits, citrus fruit, pome fruit and stone fruit, which had been completed by the 2010 session, could be advanced to Step 8. The next crop group involving tropical fruits is also anticipated to be completed by the 2011 session. The Committee also agreed that all of the fruit types could be advanced to Step 8 for inclusion in the classification system if revisions were completed by 2012. This is a major step forward in this important effort.
The Committee also agreed to forward the proposed draft revision of the Classification for three commodity groups-Tree Nuts, Herbs, and Spices-to the Codex Commission for adoption at Step 5. The Committee re-established the Electronic Working Group, to be led by the Netherlands and the United States, to prepare new draft proposals for assorted tropical and sub-tropical fruits-edible peel, assorted tropical and sub-tropical fruits-inedible peel, leafy vegetables (including brassica leafy vegetables) and brassica (cole or cabbage) vegetables, cabbage, head and flowerhead cabbages, according to the schedule previously agreed to by the Committee.
A new draft paper concerning principles and guidance on the selection of representative commodities was returned for revision and will be discussed at the 2011 CCPR. Gaining support for these proposals is critical since using representative commodities would establish MRLs for many minor crops based on the residue data from the representative commodities. The U.S. noted that for efficiency purposes, the guidance on the selection of representative commodities of "Fruit Types" needs to be completed concurrently with the revision of their Classification.
The Committee agreed to forward the revised text on the draft principles and guidance on the selection of representative commodities to the Commission for adoption at Step 5. The Committee agreed to return Addendum I containing detailed justification on bulb vegetables and fruiting vegetables, other than cucurbits and Addendum II containing background information regarding representative commodities to Step 2 for revision.
Transparency in JMPR Derivation of MRLs
The U.S. delegation expressed its appreciation for the continued efforts of JMPR/FAO to make more transparent the derivations of the JMPR MRL recommendations as it assists national authorities in determining the most appropriate MRL for their needs and increases the understanding of CCPR risk managers of the basis of JMPR MRL recommendations.
Regarding the MRL calculator, the U.S. noted there still seems to be a lack of recognition of its usefulness for MRL harmonization. Advancing the MRL calculator into the Codex MRL-setting methodology would increase the science-based transparency in the establishment of MRLs. The MRL calculator would be used as a starting point and its result would be used, unless otherwise justified and explained in writing. The FAO JMPR secretary emphasized that the calculator tool is helpful, but that currently no appropriate international calculator had been available for use by JMPR. JMPR will continue to strive to improve the explanations of the MRL derivations.
OECD MRL Calculator
Under this topic, the MRL calculator being developed through the OECD was discussed. United States, as chair of the Codex Electronic Working Group, informed the Committee that the approach of the calculator group had substantially changed over the last year based on the input received and the ongoing OECD work. Details of the new approach were released in April, and the approach will be discussed at the OECD for the first time in May.
The FAO JMPR Secretariat noted that the JMPR was continually striving for the development and utilization of a statistical calculation method and that JMPR experts were involved in the development of OECD Guidelines related to the calculation method. The Committee agreed to circulate to Members any OECD requests for input on the calculator. Comments would be submitted to the United States with a copy to the Codex Secretariat. Further actions of the CCPR on the OECD calculator will be determined at a later stage when the final version of the OECD calculator becomes available.
Working Group to Facilitate the Establishment of Codex MRLs for Minor Use and Specialty Crops
At its 2008 Session, the Committee established an electronic working group chaired by the U.S. and co-chaired by Australia and Kenya to facilitate the establishment of Codex MRLs for minor uses and specialty crops, as a result of the Global Minor Use Summit.
At the 2010 Session, the Committee endorsed the recommendation to encourage Codex members and observers to identify global residue data and to "bundle" these data into a single submission package for MJPR reviews.
The Committee did not endorse the recommendation on the number of residue data trials necessary to perform the evaluation, noting the FAO JMPR Secretariat's observation that there has not yet been agreement on the international definition of minor uses and data requirements for minor uses.
The Committee endorsed the recommendation that CCPR should continue work on including new commodities in the Classification of Foods and Feeds and for the suitable implementation of the Principles and Guidance on the Selection of Representatives Commodities for the Extrapolation of MRLs to Commodity Groups in order to facilitate establishment of MRLs for minor uses.
The Committee agreed to re-establish the Electronic Working Group to continue identifying priority minor uses and specialty crops for MRL setting, facilitate data submissions to JMPR, and prepare proposals for definitions of minor use and specialty crops for use by CCPR and JMPR.
Revision of the Risk Analysis Principles
The Committee discussed how to ensure that chemicals are reviewed periodically so that Codex MRLs reflect updated information and MRLs are not deleted for reasons other than risk issues. This is a major concern of developing countries. The U.S. proposed to allow JMPR to use data and information supplied by national governments (such as current risk assessments, study reviews, and labels). CCPR will need to discuss the conditions under which JMPR can evaluate this alternative data and information.
Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPS)
At the 2009 meeting, the Committee requested Members to supply monitoring data, including methods of analysis for POPs, which fell under the Stockholm Convention and are within the mandate of CCPR. Data includes those not only for commodities for which Codex EMRLs were established, but also for other foods. An Electronic Working Group, led by India and co-chaired by Australia and New Zealand, compiled and summarized this information.
After considering the report from the working group, the Committee agreed that no revision was necessary on existing extraneous MRLs (EMRLs) for POPs. The Committee also agreed that there might be a need to set EMRLs for food items traded at the international level for which residue limits had not yet been established. In view of this, the Committee invited Codex members to submit proposals for new EMRLs to the chair of the EWG on priorities and when appropriate, submit the available monitoring data to JMPR.
Concerning lindane, the Committee noted that this compound had been re-evaluated by JMPR in 2002 (for toxicological) and 2003 (for residues) and that, in compliance with the 15-year rule for periodic review, it should be eligible for re-evaluation in 2017-18. Some Delegations indicated that they could provide monitoring data on lindane. The Committee discussed the possible replacement of the existing lindane Codex MRLs (CXLs) with EMRLs, and the Committee agreed to consider the status of these Codex CXLs for lindane at the next Session of the Committee.
Estimation of Measurement Uncertainty
In the area of estimation of measurement uncertainty, new work was recommended to provide practical recommendations, including examples of the estimation of measurement uncertainty and application of the concept for pesticide residue laboratories using pesticide multi-residue methods. The inclusion of these examples is important to developing countries and the U.S. supports this work.
The 43rd Session was tentatively scheduled for Beijing, China, from April 18 to April 23, 2011.