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Report of the U.S. Delegate to the 34th Session of the Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling

March 4-8 2013 
Budapest, Hungary

The Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling (CCMAS) held its 34th Session from March 4-8, 2013, in Budapest, Hungary. The United States was represented by the Delegate, Dr. Gregory Noonan, U.S. Food and Drug Administration; Dr. Timothy Norden, Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture; and Ms. Marie Maratos, U.S. Codex Office, Food Safety and Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The United States fully participated on all agenda items and was successful in achieving its objectives during this Session. The Committee, recognizing that substantial progress had been made on the Proposed Draft Principles for Sampling and Testing in International Food Trade, agreed to forward the Draft Principles, as amended during the session, to the 36th Session of the Commission for adoption at Step 5/8. The explanatory notes associated with the Principles document, which had been developed during an intersession working group, were only briefly reviewed during the CCMAS meeting and therefore the explanatory notes were retained at Step 2/3 for further work by the Committee.

The committee established four intersessional electronic working groups (eWGs). An eWG on the explanatory notes to the Proposed Draft Principles will be conducted in English and will again be chaired by Germany, with technical assistance from New Zealand. A second eWG, chaired by the United States with the assistance of Nordic Committee on Food Analysis (NMKL) and the Netherlands, will develop a discussion paper on procedures for establishing criteria for multi-analyte methods and Type I methods. Brazil will chair the third eWG, charged with the further development of a discussion paper on establishing procedures for the regular updating of methods. The Inter-Agency-Meeting (IAM) will chair a fourth eWG to develop a discussion paper on sampling issues. Terms of reference and information on the scope for each of the eWGs and discussion papers can be found in the CCMAS final report (REP 13/MAS).

More detailed summaries on several Agenda items from the CCMAS final report are provided below.

MATTERS REFERRED TO THE COMMITTEE BY THE CODEX ALIMENTARIUS COMMISSION AND OTHER COMMITTEES
(Agenda Item 2) 


The Committee noted that some matters were for information and that several matters would be considered by the working group on method endorsement.

Committee on Contaminants in Foods (CCCF)

Proposed Draft Maximum Levels for Arsenic in Rice 
The Committee discussed that there are several ongoing international collaborative studies for inorganic arsenic in rice and that collaboratively validated methods have been performed. The Committee agreed to request the CCCF to select appropriate methods of analysis for arsenic in rice, taking into account the results of these studies, and to forward them to CCMAS for endorsement.

Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU)

Methods of Analysis for trans fatty acids (TFA) 
The Committee discussed that a number of organizations, including the International Dairy Federation (IDF) and the International Standards Organization (ISO), were developing methods for fatty acids, including TFA, for milk products, infant formula and adult nutritionals. The method is expected to be published in 2014 and will also be published by the Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC). The observer from the American Oil Chemists' Society (AOCS) noted that method AOCS Ce 1J-07 for trans fatty acids had been developed, that collaborative studies in a number of matrices had been completed, and that additional validation studies in complex matrices were ongoing. It was also noted that the definition of trans fatty acid was being reviewed by the World Health Organization's Nutrition Guidance Expert Advisory Group (NUGAG). Based on the information and rapid changes in the field, the Committee agreed not to endorse any new method for trans fatty acids at this session.

Draft Principles for the Sampling and Testing in International Food Trade

The “ Proposed Draft Principles for the Sampling and Testing in International Food Trade” (CX/MAS 13/34/4), which had been adopted at Step 5 and further developed during an inter-session eWG, chaired by New Zealand with the assistance of the Netherlands and United States, were further revised during the plenary session of CCMAS. Based on comments from a number of delegates, the term “consumer risk and producer risk” were replaced throughout the document with the phrase: “probabilities of wrongly accepting or wrongly rejecting a lot or consignment.” Additionally, a number of Principles were combined, reducing the number of principles from 10 to 7. These edits also initiated some rearrangement in the order. The final document still addresses the same concepts as the previous draft, but in a more concise manner. The final draft was reviewed, paragraph by paragraph during the plenary session and the committee agreed to forward the final Draft Principles to the 36th Session of the Commission for adoption at Step 5/8.

With respect to the explanatory notes and examples, which are intended to elaborate and demonstrate the Principles, the Committee decided to return the commentary to Step 2/3 and agreed that an inter-session eWG should be established to further develop the explanatory notes and commentary. Germany, with the assistance of New Zealand, agreed to chair the eWG.

Endorsement of Methods of Analysis for Provisions in Codex Standards

The ad hoc Working Group on endorsement of methods met during the first day of the plenary session and was chaired by CCMAS Chair, Professor Arpad Ambrus, with the assistance of Dr. Roger Wood of the International Commission for Uniform Methods of Sugars and Dr. Gregory Noonan of the United States. The Committee endorsed several methods of analysis and sampling plans in Codex Standards.

Committee on Fish and Fishery Products (CCFFP)

Proposed draft Performance Criteria for Reference and Confirmatory Methods for Marine Biotoxins in the Standard for Live and Raw Bivalve Molluscs 
There were significant discussions regarding the proposed numerical criteria values for biotoxins in bivalve molluscs proposed by the CCFFP. It was clear that the CCFFP had spent considerable time in developing numerical values that met the requirements stated in the Procedural Manual. However it was noted that the criteria in the Procedural Manual were developed only for single analyte methods and may not be applicable to multi-analyte methods, especially when toxicity factors are involved. It was also noted that there were discrepancies between the table, which contained 16 saxitoxin congeners and the currently endorsed TYPE II method (AOAC 2005.06) which contains only 12 congeners. Additionally, a number of the congeners in the table did not list toxicity equivalent factors.

After lengthy discussion, the Committee did not endorse the proposed criteria approach, but agreed that the development of criteria in case of total toxicity should be considered from a general point of view at the next session. Based on this agreement, the eWG chaired by the United States, discussed above, was established.

Next Session

The next Session of CCMAS is scheduled for March 2014 in Hungary.

Last Modified Sep 04, 2013