Delegate's Report, 43rd Session, Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues
The Committee on Pesticide Residues (CCPR) successfully concluded its 43rd Session held in Beijing, China from April 4-9, 2011. Approximately 600 draft maximum residue limit (MRLs) for pesticides were advanced to the Codex Commission for adoption at its 34th Session in July 2011. The Committee also established two working groups in support of setting MRLs for high value specialty crops: (1) on the application of proportionality in MRL estimation; and (2) on the selection of representative crops for Codex commodity groupings.
CCPR was chaired by Professor Xiongwu Quio, Vice-Director of the Shanxi Academy of Agricultural Sciences and assisted by Dr. Weili Shan, Director of Residue Division of Institute for Control of Agrochemicals, Ministry of Agriculture (ICAMA). 189 delegates representing 58 Member Countries, 1 International Organization, and 7 Nongovernmental organizations attended the session. The U.S. Delegation was led by Ms. Lois Rossi of Environmental Protection Agency as Delegate and the Dr. Pat Basu of the U.S. Department of Agriculture as Alternate Delegate.
The official Report of the 42nd Session has been published on the Codex Alimentarius website at: http://www.codexalimentarius.net/web/archives.jsp?lang=en. The following summarizes issues of particular interest to the U.S. Delegation:
Nomination and Prioritization of Compounds to be considered by the Joint FAO/WHO Meetings on Pesticide Residues (JMPR)
All U.S. nominations, both for new compounds and additional uses of existing compounds, were scheduled for review by JMPR. The 2011 review schedule includes sulfoxaflor, an unregistered chemical being considered under a CCPR pilot project which was approved at the 2010 Session.
Twelve new compounds and thirteen compounds for periodic re-evaluation were listed for 2013. CCPR agreed to re-establish the Electronic Working Group on Priorities, led by Australia, to review the chemicals nominated for 2013 and to schedule these reviews. This total number of compounds clearly exceeds the capacity of the JMPR, and it is expected that slots for new chemicals already nominated will not be filled until 2015. Additionally, the Committee agreed that the electronic Working Group on Priorities should prioritize review of compounds on the basis of health risks.
JMPR Resource Issues in the Provision of Scientific Advice to CCPR
The United States prepared a discussion paper on possible options to address concerns regarding the lack of capacity at JMPR to handle requests for establishment of Codex MRLs, which seem to increase each year. The resource constraints limiting the number of reviews are especially problematic for new active ingredients, since JMPR is required to review MRLs using a 50:50 review ratio for new compounds and periodic review compounds. The Committee, including the United States, supports the need for additional resources to support the work JMPR and the need to highlight this issue at the next session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC.)
318 MRLs, based on the consideration of 25 pesticides, were advanced to Step 8 for adoption by the CAC. This was the sixth year that the accelerated procedure, along with the criteria for decision-making, was used with great success, as 283 of these 318 MRLs were advanced using the accelerated 5/8 procedure. An additional 33 MRLs were advanced using the accelerated 5/8 procedure for 17 pesticides for fruit and berry spices as well as 16 pesticides for root or rhizome spices.
An additional 22 pesticide/commodity MRLs for 3 pesticides were advanced to Step 5 only, either as a result of the identification of a potential dietary intake concern by the JMPR, the need for the submission of labels for the Pesticide Information Profile (PIP) chemicals, or a country's expressed concern based on the availability of additional information not previously considered by the JMPR.
Some 133 pesticide/commodity Codex Maximum Residue Limit for Pesticides (CXLs) for 14 pesticide chemicals were recommended for revocation. These are typically CXLs being replaced based on additional data, ones that are no longer supported, or CXLs deemed by JMPR to have potential dietary intake concerns with no alternative Good Agricultural Practices in the Use of Pesticides (GAP).
37 pesticide/commodity MRLs associated with two chemicals were retained at Step 7. These represent MRLs awaiting further review by the JMPR, either for retrospective analysis (alternative GAP) or periodic review. There were also two pesticide/commodity MRLs associated with two chemicals that were held at Step 4 due to dietary intake concerns or awaiting submission of data.
Revision of the Codex Classification of Foods and Animal Feeds (Classification)
The electronic working group, co-chaired by the Netherlands and the United States, successfully resolved the remaining issues for the Tree Nuts, Herbs, and Spices commodity groups and the Committee recommended these be held at Step 7. These three groups, along with eight other commodity groups for bulb vegetables, fruiting vegetables (other than cucurbits), berries and small fruits, edible fungi, citrus fruits, pome fruits, stone fruits, and oilseeds, will remain at Step 7 pending the finalization of the revision of the Classification.
During the 2011 Session, the U.S. Delegate highlighted the importance of the early completion of the revision of the Classification so that the revised commodity groups could be immediately implemented in international trade. The Committee agreed that it may be possible to advance all commodity groups within a particular commodity type as they are being completed. For example, all the fruit types (Berries and small fruits, Citrus fruit, Pome fruit, Stone fruit, and the Tropical fruits) could be completed and advanced together by the next Session at step 8.
The Committee also agreed to forward the proposed draft revision of the Classification for two commodity groups, Assorted Tropical and Sub-tropical Fruits-Edible Peel and Assorted Tropical and Sub-tropical Fruit-Inedible Peel for adoption at Step 5. The Committee further agreed to re-establish the Electronic Working Group, to be led by the Netherlands and the United States, to prepare new draft proposals for Leafy Vegetables, Brassica Vegetables, and Stalk and Stem Vegetables according to the schedule previously agreed to by the Committee.
Proposed Draft Principles and Guidelines for the Selection of Representative Commodities for the Extrapolation of MRLs for Commodity Groups
The United States presented a new draft paper concerning principles and guidance on the selection of representative commodities which incorporates proposed representative commodities for all fruit types. The Committee agreed to hold the Draft Principles and Guidelines (including Table 1 on fruit commodities) at Step 7, pending the finalization of the revision of the Classification of Foods and Animal Feeds per the fruit types. Establishing these representative commodities will facilitate the establishment of MRLs for many minor crops, since they will be based on the residue data from representative commodities.
Application of Proportionality in Selecting Data for MRL Estimation
The Delegation of Australia made a presentation on the application of proportionality where the residue data according to GAP were not sufficient for an MRL recommendation. This approach would allow greater flexibility for JMPR in the use of residue field trial data and MRL estimates to be made where the current ±25% range excluded such estimates. Application of proportionality will be especially useful for establishing MRLs for minor uses and specialty crops. The Committee determined that the concept of proportionality needs to be further tested to ensure reliable results prior to endorsement. The United States supports applying proportionality under certain conditions and re-nominated methoxyfenozide/cucumber for review (scheduled for 2012.)
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 United States and co-chaired by Australia and Kenya to establish Codex MRLs for minor uses and specialty crops. Since 2008, this electronic working group has been working on developing a definition of minor use and specialty crops; however, to date, due to differing approaches to minor use by Committee members, no agreement has been reached as to an appropriate definition for minor uses or specialty crops.
In the 2011 Session, the Committee did not endorse the recommendation of the working group for guidance on the number of residue data trials necessary to support the establishment of MRLs for minor crops/specialty crops, noting the FAO JMPR Secretariat's observation that there was not yet an agreed upon international definition of minor use nor any agreed upon data requirements for minor use. Therefore, the Committee agreed to re-establish the electronic working group, to be chaired by the United States and co-chaired by Kenya and Thailand, to develop criteria for determining the minimum number of field trials necessary for evaluation. At the request of the United States, the Committee agreed that the electronic working group will hold a meeting prior to the 44th Session of the CCPR in 2012 and that both the electronic and physical working groups will work in English only.
Revision of the Risk Analysis Principles
Regarding the revision of the risk analysis principles, a remaining concern is maintaining a process that ensures that chemicals are reviewed periodically so that Codex MRLs reflect updated information while avoiding deleting MRLs for which there are no risk issues. Developing countries, in particular, expressed concern that MRLs are being deleted for reason other than risk issues, such as lack of support by the manufacturer.
During the 2011 Session, the Committee agreed to focus on the alternative proposals for the revision of the periodic review. The Committee did not consider the remainder of the document since several delegations expressed interest in resolving the issue of the periodic review before reviewing the entire text for consistency with the Working Principles for Risk Analysis.
The Committee agreed to re-convene the electronic working group, to be chaired by Argentina and Brazil, to develop proposals for the revision of the periodic review and to review the entire text of the Risk Analysis Principles, if considered feasible. It was also agreed that a physical working group chaired by Argentina and Brazil and working in English could be held prior to the next Session, if necessary.
Estimation of Measurement Uncertainty
The Delegation of Australia, as Chair of the in-session Working Group on Methods of Analysis, introduced a revision of the Guidelines on the Estimation of Uncertainty of Results for the Determination of Pesticide Residues. The Committee agreed to forward the revised Proposed Draft Guidelines to the Commission for adoption in July 2011 at Step 5/8.
Methods of Analysis for Pesticide Residues
The Committee considered the status of the repository list of analytical methods maintained by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the implications of maintaining the list as either a resource list or as preferred/ obligatory methods. The Committee agreed with the recommendation of the working group to revoke Analysis of Pesticide Residues: Recommended Methods (CODEX STAN 229-1993) and that the IAEA would continue to support the maintenance of the web-based method database with a direct link from the Codex website.
Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPS)
At the 2009 meeting, the Committee agreed that Members would supply monitoring data, including methods of analysis, for POPs that fell under the Stockholm Convention and within the mandate of CCPR, not only for commodities for which Codex Extraneous Maximum Residue Limit (EMRLs) were established but also for other foods. After considering the report from the working group, the Committee agreed that no revision was necessary on existing EMRLs for POPs. The Committee also discussed the possible replacement of the existing lindane CXLs with EMRLs and agreed to consider the status of the Codex CXLs for lindane at the 2011 meeting.
At the 2010 Session, the Committee noted that several signatory countries of the Stockholm Convention had not yet ratified the revision of Annex A and that decisions taken at the Convention did not have an immediate effect on the work of the Committee, which should follow the Codex Procedural Manual; i.e., Risk Analysis Principles applied by CCPR, for the revocation of CXLs or the conversion of Codex MRLs into EMRLs. Several delegations informed the Committee that uses of lindane for agricultural purposes are prohibited in their countries. Some of these delegations noted that, because this compound is a persistent organic pollutant in the environment (e.g., soil), presence of lindane in foods may warrant monitoring.
The Committee noted these observations by Delegations and agreed that there should be monitoring for the presence of lindane in food commodities, and Members should provide data to JMPR within two years for JMPR to review in 2015 prior to a decision of conversion of MRLs to EMRLs.
Next CCPR Session
The 44rd Session was tentatively scheduled to be held in Shanghai, China, in April 2012. The final arrangements were not announced at the meeting.