45th Session of the Codex Committee on Food Additives
March 18-22, 2013
Beijing, Peoples Republic of China
The 45th Codex Committee on Food Additives ( CCFA) met in Beijing, Peoples Republic of China, March 18-22, 2013. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Junshi Chen and attended by 66 member countries, one member organization (European Union), 33 observers from international organizations, and FAO and WHO.
The U.S. Government participation in the meeting included: Dr. Susan Carberry (Head of Delegation), Dr. Paul Honigfort (Alternate Delegate), Dr. Daniel Folmer (technical expert), Ms. Barbara McNiff (U.S. Codex Office), and Ms. Mari Kirrane (TTB).
The highlights of the decisions made by the Committee are outlined below.
Matters Referred by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) and Other Committees or Task Forces
The Committee discussed the request from the Codex Committee on Processed Fruits and Vegetables (CCPFV) as to whether water-based flavored drinks were covered by the General Standard for Food Additives (GSFA) food categories and whether the current food additive provisions or functional classes under these categories could be expanded. The Committee confirmed that water-based flavored drinks were covered under the broad category 14.1.4 (Water-based flavoured drinks, including "sport," "energy," or "electrolyte" drinks and particulated drinks), and noted that proposals for inclusion of new provisions or revision of existing provisions in the GSFA should follow the steps outlined in the Procedural Manual, with information submitted in reply to a Circular Letter (CL).
The Committee discussed the request from the Codex Committee on Fats and Oils (CCFO) to include rosemary extracts (INS 392) as an antioxidant in the standard for fish oil, which is currently under development. Rosemary extracts has not been evaluated by JECFA. Therefore, the CCFA agreed to inform the CCFO of the process for including substances in the Priority List for the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) and to invite interested countries to respond to the CL on the Priority List.
The Committee discussed how to address the 16 food additives that are in the GSFA that do not have specifications. The Committee agreed to: (i) issue a CL that requested information on the commercial use of these additives, with the understanding that if this information was not provided at the next Session, the additives would be removed from the GSFA; and (ii) include in the JECFA Priority list those additives in use for which there is a firm commitment to provide the relevant data to JECFA, with the understanding that if there was no commitment to provide the data by the 47th CCFA, the additives would be removed from the GSFA
76th Meeting of JECFA
With regard to magnesium dihydrogen diphosphate (INS 450(ix)), the Committee recommended that members and observers submit to JECFA: (i) actual use levels for magnesium-containing food additives, and for phosphate-containing food additives; and (ii) new information on toxicological effects of phosphates.
Endorsement and/or Revision of Maximum Levels for Food Additives and Processing Aids in Codex Standards
The Committee endorsed the provision for tartrates in the Standard for Fish Sauce (CODEX STAN 302-2011).
The Committee agreed to request the electronic Working Group (eWG) on the alignment of food additive provisions in commodity standards with the GSFA ("eWG on Alignment") to prepare recommendations for several food additives in the Draft Standard for Smoked Fish, Smoke-flavoured Fish and Smoke-dried fish that the Committee on Fish and Fish Products (CCFFP) identified as not technologically justified, and for two colors that did not have provisions in food category 09.2.5 (Smoked, dried, fermented, and/or salted fish and fish products, including molluscs, crustaceans, and echinoderms) of the GSFA. The Committee endorsed the food additive provisions, except those for dextrin, roasted starch (INS 1400) and polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monoooleate (INS 433), and requested CCFFP to consider whether these provisions could be replaced by a reference to the Guidelines for the Use of Flavourings (CAC/GL 66-2008).
The Committee did not endorse the food additive provisions in the Draft Standard for Raw, Fresh and Quick Frozen Scallop Products, pending further information on the use of phosphates, and reformatting the provisions.
The Committee endorsed the food additive provisions in the Proposed Draft Standard for Table Olives (revision of CODEX STAN 66-1981), the Standard for Certain Canned Citrus Fruits (CODEX STAN 254-2003), the Standard for Preserved Tomatoes (CODEX STAN 13-1981), and the Standard for Processed Tomato Concentrates (CODEX STAN 57-1981). The Committee also agreed to request the eWG on Alignment to prepare recommendations for several food additives in the standards for table olives, canned citrus fruits, and preserved tomatoes that the CCPFV identified as not technologically justified.
The Committee endorsed the food additive and processing aid provisions in the Proposed Draft Regional Standard for Tempe, as proposed by the Coordinating Committee for Asia (CCASIA), and recommended inclusion of a reference to the Guidelines on Substances Used as Processing Aids (CAC/GL 75-2010). The Committee also endorsed the food additive provisions proposed by CCASIA in the Regional Standard for Fermented Soybean Paste (CODEX STAN 298R-2009) and the Regional Standard for Chilli Sauce (CODEX STAN 306R-2011).
The Committee endorsed the processing aid provision for calcium hydroxide in the Proposed Draft Standard for Non-Centrifugated Dehydrated Sugar Cane Juice as proposed by the Codex Committee on Sugars (CCS), and recommended including a reference to the Guidelines on Substances Used as Processing Aids (CAC/GL 75-2010). The Committee also requested CCS to comment as to whether food additives were used in this product, and if so, to present this information to the 46th CCFA for endorsement.
Application of the Decision Tree on the Alignment of the Food Additive Provisions of Commodity Standards and Relevant Provisions of the GSFA
The Committee further revised the decision tree and agreed to use it for its future work on alignment. The Committee agreed to inform all commodity committees on the progress of the decision tree approach in view of the relevance of this work to that of the commodity committees. The Committee discussed the application of the decision tree to the five meat standards, and agreed to establish an eWG, led by Australia, to finish work on the alignment of the meat standards, and to continue working on the alignment of the standard for bouillons and consommés and the standards for cocoa and chocolate products.
Discussion Paper on the Revision of the Guidelines for the Simple Evaluation of Food Additive Intake (CAC/GL 3-1989)
The eWG led by Brazil prepared a Discussion Paper that contained a Project Document and the proposed revised Guidelines. The Committee focused its discussion on a revised version of the Project Document (CRD 20), and made several additional revisions. The Committee agreed to start new work on the revision of the Guidelines, and to forward the revised Project Document to the 36th Session of the CAC for approval as new work. The Committee further agreed to establish an eWG, led by Brazil, to prepare a revised draft Guidelines for circulation for comments at Step 3 and for consideration at the next Session, subject to the approval of new work by the CAC.
The Committee discussed:
- recommendations for provisions in Tables 1 and 2 for food additives listed in Table 3 with "acidity regulator" function and the horizontal approach for provisions in Tables 1 and 2 for food additives listed in Table 3 with "emulsifier, stabilizer, thickener" functions (CX/FA 13/45/7);
- recommendations for provisions for aluminium-containing food additives in Tables 1 and 2 (CX/FA 13/45/8);
- proposed draft food additive provisions for aspartame-acesulfame salt (INS 962) in food categories 18.104.22.168 (Fruit nectar) and 22.214.171.124 (Concentrates for fruit nectar) (CX/FA 13/45/9);
- new proposals for the use of nisin (INS 234) in food category 08.0 (Meat and meat products, including poultry and game) (CX/FA 13/45/10);
- proposals for new additive provisions in food category 16.0 (Prepared foods) (CX/FA 13/45/11);
- proposals for new additive provisions and/or revision of food additive provisions of the GSFA (CX/FA 13/45/12); and
- proposals for the application of Note 188 for acesulfame potassium (INS 950) and Note 191 to provisions for aspartame (INS 951) (CX/FA 13/45/13)
The Committee forwarded 528 food additive provisions for adoption at Step 8 or 5/8 by the 36th CAC, discontinued work on 160 draft and proposed draft provisions, and recommended that the CAC revoke food additive provisions for certain aluminium-containing additives in seven commodity standards.
The physical Working Group (pWG) on the GSFA developed Working Principles for the consideration of Table 3 additives with "acidity regulator" and "emulsifier, stabilizer, thickener" function (CRD 2, Appendix VI) to assure a uniform procedure and assist in the discussion at the present Session. These Working Principles were not applied to the provisions for the use of Table 3 additives with the function "acidity regulator" in food categories 01.1.1 (Milk and buttermilk (plain)) through 04.2.1.2 (Surface-treated fresh vegetables (including mushrooms and fungi, roots and tubers, pulses and legumes, and aloe vera), seaweeds, and nuts and seeds), as the Working Principles had not yet been formulated.
The Committee agreed to establish an eWG, led by France, to prepare recommendations on: (i) the horizontal approach to the use of food additives with the technological function of "acidity regulator" and "emulsifier, stabilizer, thickener" in food category 14.2.3 (Grape wines) and it sub-categories; and (ii) proposals for the new provisions listed in food category 14.2.3 and its subcategories in CX/FA 13/45/7 and CX/FA 13/45/12.
The Committee agreed to establish an eWG, led by New Zealand, to: (i) consider the effect of the descriptors of food categories 01.1.1 (Milk and buttermilk (plain)), 01.1.1.1 (Milk (plain)), 01.1.1.2 (Buttermilk (plain)), and 01.1.2 (Dairy-based drinks, flavoured and/or fermented (e.g., chocolate milk, cocoa, eggnog, drinking yoghurt, whey-based drinks)) on the technologically justified use of additives in such foods, where applicable; (ii) prepare recommendations to address descriptors that do not allow the use of additives in foods where the use of additives in such foods is technologically justified; and (iii) prepare recommendations on the horizontal approach for the use of emulsifiers, stabilizers, and thickeners in these categories.
The Committee had before it a document (CRD 2, Appendix VIII) that compiled all of the provisions for aspartame, acesulfame potassium, and the aspartame-acesulfame salt contained in CX/FA 13/45/9, CX/FA 13/45/12, and CX/FA 13/45/13, but did not have time to discuss it. Additionally, the Committee did not discuss the issues presented in CX/FA 13/45/10, CX/FA 13/45/11, and CX/FA 13/45/12 due to time constraints.
The Committee agreed to establish a GSFA eWG, led by the USA, to prepare: (i) recommendations for the entry of new food additive provisions in food category 16.0 (Prepared foods) into the GSFA; (ii) recommendations for the entry of new provisions and the revision of existing provisions contained in CX/FA 13/45/12, except those for food category 14.2.3 (Grape wines) and its sub-categories, and for aspartame and aspartame-acesulfame salt; (iii) proposals for the provisions in Tables 1 and 2 of Table 3 food additives with "acidity regulator" function, which were held at their current step, for use for technological functions other than as acidity regulators; and (iv) proposals for consideration of the provisions in Tables 1 and 2 of Table 3 food additives with functions other than "emulsifier, stabilizer, thickener," "color," and "sweetener."
The Committee also agreed to establish a pWG on the GSFA that would meet immediately prior to the 46th Session, and would be chaired by the USA to consider and prepare recommendations for the plenary on: (i) the remaining recommendations on the horizontal approach for food additives with a technological function of "emulsifier, stabilizer, thickener" in CX/FA 13/45/7, Appendix 3, for food categories 04.1.1.2, 04.2.1.2, and 06.1 - 14.1.5 and the related provisions; (ii) the reports of the eWGs on the GSFA, food category 14.2.3, and Note 161 (see below); and (iii) proposals for new additive provisions and/or revision of food additive provisions of the GSFA submitted in response to a CL.
Discussion Paper on Recommendations for Note 161 ("Subject to national legislation of the importing country aimed, in particular, at consistency with Section 3.2 of the Preamble") of the GSFA
The Delegation of Australia prepared a Discussion Paper that summarized the discussion of Note 161 at the last two Sessions, and that presented options to move forward with this issue. The Committee noted that opinions on the use of Note 161 were divided between those delegations in favor of reducing the use of the note and those in favor of removing the note and not using it in future provisions in the GSFA. The Committee recalled that Note 161 itself was the result of a compromise to advance food additive provisions in the Step procedure. The Delegation of the EU, while noting their strong opposition to the deletion of Note 161, expressed its willingness to consider the use of Note 161 on a case-by-case basis, and in that regard, proposed, as a starting point, the examination of the provisions associated with Note 161 in the document in Appendix VIII of CRD 2, which compiled new provisions, provisions in the Step process, and adopted provisions for acesulfame potassium (INS 950), aspartame (INS 951), and aspartame-acesulfame salt (INS 962). Depending on the outcome of this exercise, further consideration could be given to addressing the application of Note 161 to adopted provisions in the GSFA. Many delegations supported the option to replace, if possible, Note 161 by other note(s), and the consideration of the use of Note 161 on a case-by-case basis. Some delegations also noted that such an evaluation should be based on scientific grounds.
Based on this discussion, the Committee agreed to establish an eWG, led by the United Kingdom and with the assistance of the USA, to identify concerns regarding the provisions with Note 161, as contained in the compilation document for the three sweeteners (Appendix VII of CRD 2). Information should be provided to the eWG that will be used, together with the principles in Section 3.2 of the Preamble to the GSFA, to explore the use of alternative note(s) or other approaches that could address the concerns that have resulted in the use of Note 161, or to demonstrate that Note 161 is no longer needed for a particular provision. The eWG could also make recommendations in relation to the proposed new sweetener provisions, those in the Step process, and the adopted provisions associated with Note 161, as listed in Appendix VIII of CRD 2, subject to submission of relevant data as per Section 3.2 of the Preamble to the GSFA. The Committee encouraged members and observers to actively participate in the eWG with a view to facilitating progress on the consideration of Note 161.
Proposed Prioritized List of Colors for Re-Evaluation by JECFA
The Committee considered the revised prioritization form and the resultant ranking of the colors for recommending a prioritized list to JECFA for re-evaluation. However, the Committee could not come to a conclusion regarding the necessary steps to link the prioritization exercise with the inclusion of a substance in the JECFA priority list. Therefore, the Committee agreed to establish an eWG, led by Canada, to prepare a Discussion Paper that would consider different options for the use of the outcomes of the prioritization exercise and other feasible steps to identify substances for re-evaluation by JECFA, for consideration at the next Session.
Other Agenda Items
The Committee also considered amendments to the International Numbering System (INS) for food additives; specifications from the 76th JECFA; priority list of additives for JECFA review; and a database for processing aids.
The next Session of the CCFA is tentatively scheduled in approximately 1 year in the Peoples Republic of China. The exact dates and location are yet to be determined.