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IDF Observers' Report on the Thirty-Sixth Session of the CODEX ALIMENTARIUS Commission

Rome (Italy), 1-8 July, 2013

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF OUTCOMES OF THE THIRTY– SIXTH SESSION OF THE CODEX ALIMENTARIUS COMMISSION

The IDF delegation to the 36th CAC consisted of Roger Hall (Chair of FSSG and delegation leader), Michael Hickey (Chair of SPCC) and Joerg Seifert (IDF Technical Director).

MATTERS OF INTEREST TO IDF MEMBERS:

Proposed Draft Standard for processed Cheese

The Commission agreed to establish an e-WG co-chaired by New Zealand and Uruguay to

  • Conduct a study on the possibility to develop standard(s) for processed cheese and, depending on the outcome of the study, prepare project document(s) for new work on processed cheese that would clearly define: (i) the scope of the standard and the product to be covered, (ii) the compositional aspects of these products, i.e. minimum cheese content; and (iii) acceptability of use of gelatine, starches and stabilisers in the manufacture of processed cheese, and
  • Also consider the possibility of developing a standard covering products analogous to processed cheese but where cheese and milk products have been substituted by non-dairy ingredients.

Draft Standard for Non-Fermented Soybean products

A number of countries raised concerns over the use of the term 'milk'. It was noted that CCFL had not endorsed the labelling provisions and asked CCASIA to reconsider these at its next meeting. The CAC adopted the standard at step 5 and Japan as Chair of CCASIA agreed to reconsider the provision of the draft standards in light of the advice from the CCFL and the concerns expressed in the comments at its next meeting in November 2014.

Proposal to review the Codex Standard for Follow-up Formula

The CAC approved new work on this standard on the basis that it may not provide adequate guidance to members in relation to the range of existing and potential follow-up formula products.

Regional Standard for Labneh

Lebanon will develop a draft standard for consideration at Step 3 at the 8th session of the CCNEA.

Methods of analysis in Codex Standards at different steps

Update and corrections to foods for special dietary uses as well as milk and milk products as proposed by IDF/ISO were adopted.

Additional or revised Nutrient Reference Values for labelling purposes in the Codex Guidelines on Nutritional Labelling.

The Commission adopted with amendments the NRVs. This includes and NRV for calcium of 1,000mg.

Amendments to the Guidelines for Use of Nutritional and Health Claims concerning Non-Addition of Sodium Salts

The CAC adopted the amendments as proposed. This covers conditions for claims concerning non-addition of sodium salts and includes a footnote on conditions for allowing the use of sodium salt additives.

Principles for the Use of Sampling and Testing in International Food Trade

CAC adopted the Principles with minor editorial amendments to the Spanish text

Principles and Guidelines for National Food Control Systems

Covers the principles for constructing and operating the food control systems within different countries. The CAC adopted these as proposed.

Guidelines on Application of risk Assessment for Feed

The task force developed science based guidelines for use by governments on how to apply existing Codex risk assessment methodologies to hazards in feed. The CAC adopted the guidelines.

Nutrient Reference values WHO

The CAC adopted the NRVs including the NRV for saturated fatty acid. There was opposition to this from Philippines and Malaysia and the Chair noted that CCNFSDU can review the NRV based on the results of the WTO work that is underway.

Other Matters

Details on other matters not outlined in this report are available in the official Codex ALINORM report available on the Codex website www.codexalimentarius.net

DATE AND PLACE OF THE NEXT SESSION
The next session of the CAC will be held in Geneva, Switzerland, 14-18 July 2014.

FULL REPORT OF THE THIRTY– SIXTH SESSION OF THE CODEX ALIMENTARIUS COMMISSION

General Matters

The 36th Session of the CAC was held at the FAO Headquarters, in Rome Italy from the 1st to 5th July 2013. It was attended by 620 delegates from 128 Member Countries, 1 Member Organisation (The EU), 1 Observer country and 41 IGOs and NGOs, including UN agencies.

IDF was represented by Joerg Seifert, Michael Hickey and Roger Hall. In addition experts involved in the IDF work in the area of food standards were represented in several government delegations. The plenary sessions covered 3 days with the adoption of the report on the Friday.

The meeting marked the 50th anniversary of the Codex Alimentarius. In his opening speech, the Chair of CAC, Mr. Sanjay Dave, also recognized IDF as a forerunner of the Codex Alimentarius programme having developed international standards for milk and milk products long before Codex had started.

Codex Vice-Chair, Mrs. Awilo Ochieng Pernet, who had taken the leadership with regard to the organization of the 50th anniversary celebrations of Codex. Several measures and gatherings explained the many elements that formed part of the celebrations.

This report focuses on items of direct interest to the dairy sector but also include brief references to items of general interest to IDF members.

AMENDMENTS TO THE PROCEDURES MANUAL

Amendments to the Guidelines for Establishing Numeric Values for Method Criteria and/or Assessing Methods of Compliance Thereof in the Procedural manual (LOD and LOQ) – REP13/MAS, para.9, Appendix IV.
The Commission adopted the text as proposed.

Principles and Guidance for the Application of the Proportionality Concept to Estimation of MRLs for Pesticides - Rep13/PR para98, Appendix VIII
The Commission adopted the text as proposed.

STANDARDS AND RELATED TEXTS ADOPTED AT STEP 8

Revised Guidelines on Formulated Supplementary Foods for Older Infants and Young Children – REP13/NFSDU para.41, Appendix II There was a protracted debate on whether defatted cotton seeds flour, genetically modified ingredients and ingredients treated with ionizing radiation should be permitted. The Chair of CCNFSDU, in response to a request for the Chair to comment on how the proposed text compares to existing text in regards to these issue and whether there is any disadvantage to countries compared to the old text, informed the Commission that there were no disadvantages and that provisions for the use of defatted oil seed flours were identical and that there were no specific requirements on prohibition of ingredients. It was clarified that nothing in the Guidelines impacts on national authorities’ ability to set their own safety and approval requirements including the exclusion of certain ingredients in imported and domestically produced foods.

The Commission adopted the provisions with amendments to section 4.1.3.1 to include “The decision to add oil seeds flour to a formulated complementary food should take into account local conditions and requirements”. The US expressed their reservation on the term “requirements” in the newly introduced text.

Nutrient Reference Values (NRVs) – REP 13/NFSDU, para.65, Appendix V

Philippines and Malaysia supported by some observers did not support the adoption of the NRV for saturated fatty acid because; the 35th Commission had asked CCNFSDU to consider the matter based on the outcome of the WHO work which was not yet available; studies in the literature showed there was not sufficient evidence to draw conclusions about the risk of SFA; that principles needed to be agreed before considering each nutrient; and several relevant nutrients should be considered altogether rather than as single nutrients.

Other delegations (EU, US, Canada, and Korea) supported adoption on the basis of the compelling science available. The Chair noted that CCNFSDU can review the NRV based on the results of the WHO work that is underway. The Commission adopted the NRVs including the NRV for SFA. The Philippines and Malaysia expressed their reservation on the NRV for SFA.

Guidelines on Application of Risk Assessment for Feed - REP13/A, para.27, Appendix II

Re-established in 2010 by CAC the Task Force was asked to develop science based guidelines, for use by governments on how to apply existing Codex risk assessment methodologies to the various types of hazards related to contaminants and residues in feed, including feed additives used in animal feed. The Commission adopted the Guideline as proposed.

Principles and Guidelines for National Food Control Systems (Section 1-3) - REP 13/FICS, papa. 38, Appendix II

The document summarises the principles for constructing and operating the food control systems within different countries. It can be used as a model or guideline for developing national food control systems and structuring the activities between competent authorities in different countries. The Commission adopted the Principles and Guidelines as proposed.

Principles for the Use of Sampling and Testing in International Food Trade – REP 13/MAS, para.73, Appendix III

Sampling and testing are, among others, procedures utilized to assess whether foods in trade are compliant with particular specifications. These procedures may affect the probabilities of wrongly accepting or wrongly rejecting a lot or consignment. The Commission adopted the Principles with minor editorial amendments to the Spanish Text.

Food additive provisions of the General Standard for Food Additives (GSFA) (CODEX STAN 192-1995) – REP13/FA, para.101, Appendix VI3

Concerns provisions in Tables 1 and 3 for food additives listed in Table 3 with “acidity regulator” function and horizontal approach to provisions in Tables 1 and 2 for food additives listed in Table 3 with “emulsifier, stabiliser and thickener” functions. The EU and Norway expressed general reservations to the provisions of aluminium-containing food additives and stressed the importance to further restrict the exposure to aluminium for food additive use. The Commission adopted the Provisions as proposed.

Maximum residues limits for pesticides – REP13/PR, para.17-90, Appendix II

Changes to MRLs for ML 0106 – Milks: Dichlorvos, Cycloxydim, Sulfoxaflor, Dinotefuran, Fluxapyroxad, Sedaxane, Fluopyram, Cyfluthrin/beta-cyfluthrin. The EU expressed reservations on the MRLs proposed for a number of pesticides – although not in relation to milk. Norway also expressed their reservations a number of MRLs and Egypt also made some reservations. The Commission adopted the MRLs as proposed noting the reservations.

Amendments to the Guidelines for Use of Nutrition and Health Claims (CAC/GL 23-1997) concerning Non-Addition of Sodium Salts – REP13/FL, para.41, Appendix II

Covers conditions for claims concerning non-addition of sodium salts and includes footnote on conditions for allowing the use of sodium salt additives. The Commission adopted the amendments as proposed.

STANDARDS AND RELATED TEXTS ADOPTED AT STEP 5/8 (WITH OMISSION OF STEPS 6 AND 7)

Principles and Guidelines for the Establishment and Application of Microbiological Criteria – REP13/FH, para.56, Appendix III

This work was initiated to reflect several important elements as developed in the Principles and Guidelines for the Conduct of

Microbiological Risk Management (CAC/GL 63-2007) and it Annex on Guidance on Microbiological Risk Management Metrics, including new risk metrics such as Food Safety Objective (FSO), Performance Objective (PO), and Performance Criteria (PC) as well as other quantitative microbiological limits (e.g. process control based criteria and testing for HACCP verification). The Commission adopted the Principles and Guidelines.

General Principles for Establishing Nutrient Reference Values (NRVs-NCD) for the general population; and consolidated version of the general Principles for Establishing Nutrient Reference Values – REP13/NFSDU, para.51, Appendix III, para.59, Appendix IV.

Malaysia expressed reservation over the principles on the basis the GRADE system had not been sufficiently considered at CCNFSDU. The Commission adopted the Principles and the consolidated text as proposed by CCNFDSU with amendments made by CCFL, including consequential amendments.

Additional or revised Nutrient Reference Values for labelling Purposes in the Codex Guidelines on Nutritional Labelling – REP13/NFSDU, papa.103, Appendix VII.

This included an NRV for calcium of 1,000mg. US supported adoption with an amendment to the footnote. Thailand, the EU and Costa Rica also supported adoption. Benin did not support adoption. NHF expressed concerns over the proposal to lower the Vitamin B level and IDF expressed its concerns over the unintended consequence on preventing claims for dairy products as ‘rich in calcium” and the need to take account of bioavailability of calcium in milk and milk products.

The Commission adopted with amendments – addition of the word ‘only’ and removal of the note at the bottom of the conversion table so as to end with ‘the application of NRVs at national level’. Benin expressed their reservation.

Guidance on Prioritizing Hazards in Feed – REP13/AF, para.62, Appendix III

There was broad support for the Guideline but Brazil supported by many other Latin American and Caribbean delegations did not support retention of the Annex 2 “Examples of Hazards in Feed with Potential Relevance for Human Health” on the basis that it was incomplete and would be difficult to maintain. Other delegates supported the inclusion noting the introduction to the Annex explains the non-comprehensive nature of the contents. As a compromise it was agreed to remove the Annex and place it in a dedicated FAO website so it was available and easily updated

The Commission adopted the Guidance.

Proposed Draft Principles for National Food Control Systems – REP13/FICS, para.38, Appendix II

This document describes the principles for constructing and operating the food control systems within different countries.

The Commission adopted the revised guidelines with minor editorial amendments to the Spanish version.

Food Additive Provisions of the General Standard for Food Additives (GSFA) (CODEX STAN 192-1995) – REP13/FA, para.101, Appendix VI

The EEU and Norway expressed general reservations regarding provisions for aluminium-containing food additives.
The Commission adopted the provisions.

Amendments to the International numbering System (INS) for Food Additives (CAC/GL 36-1989) – REP13/FA, para.116, Appendix IX

This covers new INS numbers, functional classes and technological purposes for advantame, ferric (III)-orthophosphate, ferric (III)-pyrophosphate and yeast mannoproteins; new functional classes and technological purposes associated with 18 food additives; and deleting functional class and technological purpose as gelling agent for potassium chloride (INS 508). The Commission adopted the amendments.

Specifications for the Identity and Purity of Feed Additives arising from the 76th JECFA meeting – REP13/para.125, Appendix X

This covers 8 food additives and 93 flavourings. The EU expressed a general reservation that food additive specifications should be related to the substance and not to the preparations.
The Commission adopted the specifications.

Proposed Draft Regional Standard for Tempe (CCASIA)

The Chair introduced the item by reporting that the Codex Executive Committee recalled that the CCASIA had proposed a conversion factor of 5.71 for the determination of protein content, taking into account FAO references in this respect. The CCMAS had endorsed the methods for protein content with a conversion factor of 5.71 and had asked the CCASIA to review the use of the factor of 5.71. The US did not oppose adoption at Step 5/8 while it raised the need for additional discussion on the protein conversion factor in CCASIA.
The Commission adopted the standard while it noted that the US will provide information for further discussion on the conversion factor for the calculation of protein content.

Note: The issue of conversion factor for the calculation of protein content for Tempe is equally relevant with regard to the Proposed Draft Standard for Non-Fermented Soybean Products (both are soybean products). The issue was already raised with regard to both standards at the most recent session of CCMAS 2013 (ref. para. 33 of REP13/MAS).

OTHER STANDARDS AND RELATED TEXTS SUBMITTED FOR ADOPTION

Amendment to the Guidelines for the Exchange of Information in Food Safety Emergency Situations (CAC/GL 10-1995) – REP 13/FICS, para.58, Appendix III

The Commission adopted the guidelines.

Methods of Analysis in Codex Standards at different steps- REP 13/MAS, paras 16-54, Appendix II

This covers updates and corrections to food for special dietary uses as well as milk and milk products as proposed by IDF/ISO.
The Commission adopted the updates and corrections.

Consequential Editorial Amendments to the Guidelines on Use of Nutrition and Health Claims (CAC/GL 23-1997) concerning clarifying section 6.3 on Comparative Claims – REP13/FL, para 45, Appendix III, Part B (Referral from CCNFDSU).

The Commission adopted the amendments.

Amendments to the Guidelines on Nutrition Labelling(CAC/GL 2-1985) concerning definitions and replacing existing annex with the new annex: General Principles for establishment of nutrient reference values for the general population – REP13/FL, para 59, Appendix III, part A

The Commission adopted the amendments.

STANDARDS AND RELATED TEXTS HELD AT STEP 8 BY THE COMMISSION

Draft MRLs for bovine somatotropin

The WHO JECFA is undertaking a re-evaluation and has issued a Call for Data and the assessment of BSTs was scheduled for November 2013 and the report will be considered by CCRVDF early 2015.The draft MRLs remain on hold at Step 8 until the 2015 session of CAC which will reconsider the issue in the light of the CCRVDF recommendations.

Note: IDF does not have a position on BST, nor is it recommended that it should develop a position; rather the SCRCC shall be asked to monitor and report on the developments to IDF members.

LIST OF DRAFT STANDARDS AND RELATED TEXTS ADOPTED AT STEP 5 BY THE 35TH SESSION OF THE CODEX ALIMENTARIUS COMMISSION

Proposed Draft Standard for Non-Fermented Soybean Products – REP13/CCASIA, para. 109, Appendix III

India and IDF expressed concerns about the use of the term “Soybean milk” was inconsistent with the general Codex texts, especially the GSUDT and GSFA and that terminology should be consistent in Codex standards. Other delegations (e.g. Lithuania for the EU, Switzerland, Lebanon) generally agreed with the recommendation of CCEXEC and requested CCASIA to ensure the use of agreed Codex terms and appropriate terminology in a consistent manner throughout Codex. Several other delegations (Canada, Australia, Egypt and Rep. of Korea) also expressed concerns over the use of the term milk and asked CCASIA to reconsider the use of the term. Other delegations (China, Malaysia) supported adoption of the standard at step 5.

It was noted that CCFL had not endorsed the labelling provisions and had asked CCASIA to reconsider these at its next session. It was also noted that CCEXEC in supporting adoption of the proposed draft standard at step 5 recommended that CCASIA review the standard taking into account the concerns expressed by CCFL. Japan as Chair of CCASIA agreed to reconsider the labelling sections at its next meeting in November 2014. The Commission endorsed the view of CCEXEC and adopted the standard at step 5.

Action: IDF to prepare submissions for CCASIA and participate in the CCASIA meeting in November 2014.

LIST OF DRAFT STANDARDS AND RELATED TEXTS REVOKED BY THE 36TH SESSION OF THE CODEX ALIMENTARIUS COMMISSION

Food Additive provisions of commodity standards- REP13/ FA, para.101, Appendix VII

For dairy this involves revocation of aluminium additives in the dairy commodity standards – CodexStan 207, 290, 251, 283, 221, and the cheese standards 262 to 271.

LIST OF DRAFT STANDARDS AND RELATED TEXTS APPROVED AS NEW WORK BY THE 35TH SESSION OF THE CODEX ALIMENTARIUS COMMISSION

Code of Hygienic Practice for low Moisture Foods – REP13/FH Appendix V

To apply to the control of microbiological hazards in foods having a water activity of 0.85 or below that are exposed to the processing environment following a microbial inactivation step, products that are not subjected to an inactivation step, or products in which low moisture ingredients, which may be contaminated with pathogens, are added after an inactivation step.
Action: SCMH to monitor development and provide input as required.

Proposal to review the Codex Standard for Follow-up Formula (CodexStan 156-1987) – REP13/NFSDU Appendix VIII

This work item arises from a concern that the Standard may not provide adequate guidance to members in relation to the range of existing and potential follow-up formula products, and that it does not incorporate the key directions taken in the recent review of the Codex Standard for Infant Formula and Formulas for Special Medical purposes Intended for Infants (CodexStan 72).
Action: SCNH to monitor and have input to the review of this standard.

Revision of the guidelines for the Simple Evaluation of Food Additive Intakes (CAC/GL 3-1989) - REP13/FA Appendix V

The revision is required in order to reflect current procedures used to assess food additive intakes and is intended to facilitate the work of governments, particularly of developing countries, on the assessment of dietary exposure to food additives.
Action: SCFA to monitor and have input as required.

Review of the General Standard for the Labelling of Prepackaged Foods to address the issue of date marking – REP13/FL Appendix VI

Globally there are a number of different systems for date marking of food and a range of different terminologies are used on pack. The current Codex guidelines do not provide adequate guidance on date marking.

Regional Standard for Labneh - REP13/CCNEA para 122, CX/CAC 13/36/9-Add.2 Annex 1

Lebanon will develop a draft standard, in collaboration with other interested countries in the region, for consideration at Step 3 at the 8th session of the CCNEA.
Action: SCSID to monitor development and have input as required.

MATTERS REFERRED TO THE COMMISSION BY CODEX COMMITTEES AND TASK FORCES

New work on Processed Cheese

The analysis of the information provided by members and observers on gaps in the safety and quality provisions and of the discussions in six co-ordinating committees on the need for such a standard, showed that there remained a number of countries, in particular Latin America and the Caribbean and Near East regions, still supported the need for a standard to ensure internationally traded processed cheese has certain compositional aspects to be used as a basis for national legislation. The analysis also showed that the countries/regions supporting new work and those who do not support new work had not changed substantially.

The analysis concluded that it might be appropriate to make a further effort to determine if the development is feasible by defining its scope and compositional aspects.

Two options were considered – establish an e-working group to consider the development of a project document for new work on processed cheese, and to discontinue consideration of the matter.

New Zealand as host of CCMMP and in the case of option 1 being adopted, offered to lead the e-WG and facilitate the process. Uruguay offered to co-chair the e-WG.

Many countries spoke to the topic and as noted above the split between those supporting and not supporting remained mostly unchanged as did the arguments for and against the need for further work. Lithuania, speaking on behalf of the EU member States favoured discontinuation but would support option 1 in a spirit of compromise.

The Commission agreed to establish an e-WG co-chaired by New Zealand and Uruguay to

  • Conduct a study on the possibility to develop standard(s) for processed cheese and, depending on the outcome of the study, prepare project document(s) for new work on processed cheese that would clearly define: (i) the scope of the standard and the product to be covered, (ii) the compositional aspects of these products, i.e. minimum cheese content; and (iii) acceptability of use of gelatine, starches and stabilisers in the manufacture of processed cheese, and
  • Also consider the possibility of developing a standard covering products analogous to processed cheese but where cheese and milk products have been substituted by non-dairy ingredients.

Action: – IDF SCSID to monitor and have input as required into the e-WG.

Codex and Other International Intergovernmental Organisations

OIE

OIE and Codex have continued to participate in relevant meets of each organisation during the last 12 months. Further strengthening of the cooperation is necessary to ensure food production standards are consistent and to avoid gaps, contradictions and duplication in coverage.

OIE welcomes the decision of the 27th Session of CCGP to establish an e-working group on Codex/OIE Cooperation. The work of CCFICS on Principles and Guidelines for National Food Control Systems was noted as directly relevant to the OIE standard and OIE global programme for strengthening SPS capacity of Member countries.

WTO

WTO reported that several specific trade concerns had been raised regarding labelling requirements on ‘unhealthy’ foods at the WTO Committee on TBT. Nine new food safety requirements were challenged at the SPS Committee during 2012.

ISO

Three strategic opportunities between ISO and Codex were highlighted; improving the situation with private standards; building confidence with conformity assessment; and communicating the message of complementarity.

Other matters Arising from FAO and WHO

Details on other matters not outlined in this report are available in the official Codex ALINORM report available on the Codex website www.codexalimentarius.net

Date and Place of the Next Session

The next session will be held in Geneva, Switzerland, 14-18 July 2014.