Report of the U.S. Delegate, 6th Session, Codex Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Task Force on Animal Feeding
Feb 20-24, 2012
The United States participated in the 6th Session of the Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Codex Task Force on Animal Feeding (AFTF), which worked on two documents, the Proposed Draft Guidelines on the Application of Risk Assessment for Feed and the Proposed Draft Prioritized List of Hazards in Feed. The Task Force agreed to the following:
- Revised Proposed Draft Guidelines on the Application of Risk Assessment for Feed, recommending adoption by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) at Step 5.
- Revised and modified the title of the second document, the Proposed Draft Prioritized List of Hazards in Feed, and returned it to Step 2 for revision by the electronic working group led by Switzerland.
- The 6th Session of AFTF was attended by 139 participants representing 43 Member countries, one Member organization (the European Union - EU), and 11 international intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations. The United States was represented by the Delegate, Dr. Daniel McChesney, FDA Center for Veterinary Drugs; Alternate Delegate Dr. Patty Bennett, USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.
- A summary of the results of the 6th Session of AFTF is given below. The full report of the Session can be found on the Codex Website: www.codexalimentarius.org/meetings-reports/en/.
Proposed Draft Guidelines on the Application of Risk Assessment for Feed
- The Task Force primarily focused on revising the structure of the guidelines. They clarified the scope to make explicit that the guidelines are intended for use by governments and addresses food safety and human health considerations. They also clarified that the guidelines covers all hazards in feed that impacted human health, including biological hazards and radionuclides applicable to feed. The Codex Secretariat made clear that animal health concerns were not part of the scope of this document.
- The Task Force agreed with the risk assessment sections of the guidelines and made some further refinements to the text to make it more accurate and understandable. For example, they added text to indicate that biological hazards and radionuclides were considered as hazards and clarified that feed additives, veterinary drugs and pesticides, previously assessed for safety and used according to their intended use, should not necessarily be considered as risks.
- The Task Force agreed to use published Codex definitions as much as possible for the definitions sections in the guidelines and to finalize the definitions section by the next session.
- An informal working group revised the exposure assessment section of these guidelines to make it more readable and to include additional refinements — including text to advise the use of semi-quantitative or qualitative risk assessment approach when quantitative data were not available and text to include the step of determining concentration of hazard in feed for the animal exposure assessment.
- A Physical Working Group open to all delegates interested in participating was established to review all changes incorporated by Switzerland based on member comments. The Working Group will meet the day prior to the 2013 Session for the purpose of reviewing the document for recommendation to step 8.
Proposed Draft Prioritized List of Hazards in Feed of Hazards in Feed
- The Task Force discussed at length the scope and intent of a proposed Prioritized List of Hazards in Feed. They discussed at the outset whether developing a list of common hazards in feed was appropriate for this Task Force. Some members raised concerns with developing a list, asserting that a time limited Task Force would not be able to maintain and update such a list. Other members raised that it would not be possible to establish a prioritized list relevant to all countries, as prioritization of hazards depends on local and regional conditions specific to each country. The United States supported the alternative approach to establish criteria for prioritizing hazards.
- The Task Force agreed not to develop a prioritized list and instead focus on criteria for governments to prioritize hazards, and provide examples of hazards of international relevance and guidance on applying the criteria. The Task Force accepted the proposal by the United States to change the title of the document to Guidance for Use by Governments on Prioritizing their National Feed Hazards.
- The Task Force also agreed on the criteria for prioritizing hazards as currently drafted in the document and revised the structure of the sections on each criterion for further clarity. Some members argued that international trade should not be an applicable criterion in the national context; however, many Task Force members, including the United States, felt that the impact on trade was an important factor for risk management. In conclusion, the Task Force agreed to keep international trade as a factor for the criteria for prioritization.
- An electronic working group was established, to be led by Switzerland, to revise the remainder of the document, which remains at Step 2 in the approval process.
- The Task Force was authorized for two sessions, with an option for a third. Its second meeting is scheduled for Feb. 4-8, 2013.