At its most recent meeting, the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex) approved 24 new work projects (Thirty-fourth Session, International Conference Centre, Geneva, Switzerland, 4 - 9 July 2011, Report: APPENDIX VI – List of Draft Standards and Related Texts Approved as New Work by the Thirty-fourth Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, p. 104). Under the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, Codex develops international food standards, which are recognized by the trade agreements of the World Trade Organization as providing benchmarks in settling international trade disputes. IFT has actively participated in various Codex committees and task forces as an international nongovernmental organization (NGO) with observer status since 1992 and is engaged in the work of several committees, providing meeting reports prepared by IFT’s representatives (IFT Codex Subject Experts). IFT also regularly posts online announcements of comment opportunities and invitations for members to provide input to IFT on specific work topics (see http://www.ift.org/public-policy-and-regulations/advocacy/international-advocacy.aspx). The new work projects are as follows:
Codex Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Food
1. Performance criteria for multi-residue analytical methods for veterinary drug residue analyses. Comment: The purpose of the work is to update the existing general guidance document, Guidelines for the Design and Implementation of National Regulatory Food Safety Assurance Programmes Associated with the Use of Veterinary Drugs in Food Producing Animals to reflect important advances in veterinary drug residue analyses, taking into account the recently published Guidelines on Analytical Terminology.
Lead countries: Canada and the United Kingdom
Reference: REP 11/RVDF, paragraph 65 and Appendix V
2. Priority list of veterinary drugs requiring evaluation or re-evaluation by JECFA. Comment: Drugs being considered include Monepantel, Monensin, Derquantel, Apramycin, Amoxicillin, Narasin, Triclabendazole, and Ivermectin.
Reference: REP 11/RVDF, paragraph 83 and Appendix VI
Codex Committee for Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses
3. Inclusion of a new part for underweight children in the Standard for Processed Cereal-Based Foods for Infants and Young Children. Comment: The purpose is to establish a new Part B for cereal-based foods for underweight infants and young children, which would include specific provisions for considering the minimum cereal content and energy density and prescribing minimum protein contents.
Lead country: India
Reference: REP11/NFSDU, paragraph 123 and Appendix V
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Codex Committee on Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
4. Standard for Durian. Comment: CCASIA proposed to elaborate a regional standard for durian, a tropical fruit of Asia. The Codex Executive Committee proposed, and the Commission agreed, to allocate this work to CCFFV to develop an international standard. However, if CCFFV determines that the development of a worldwide standard for durian is not possible, work could be continued as a regional standard in CCASIA.
Lead country: Thailand
Reference: REP 11/ASIA, paragraph 142 and Appendix V
5. Standard for Golden Passion Fruit. Comment: The scope of the standard is limited to golden passion fruit (Passiflora ligularis Juss), a bright yellow variety of passion fruit.
Lead country: Colombia
Reference: REP11/FF, paragraph 143
Codex Committee for Food Hygiene
6. Guidelines for Control of Specific Zoonotic Parasites in Meat: Trichinella spiralis and Cysticercus bovis. Comment: It was envisioned that initial work would be on control measures for Trichinella spiralis in pigs, together with parallel work on Cysticercus bovis in cattle. However, concerns were raised that the parasites proposed were not of the highest public health concern and that OIE was already considering Trichinella. The commission approved the new work and recommended that it be risk-based, that the prioritization list being prepared by FAO and WHO be reviewed, and that the work of OIE be monitored to ensure that there is no duplication of work.
Lead countries: European Union and New Zealand
Reference: REP 11/CCFH, paragraph 137 and Appendix VI
7. Annex on melons to the Code of Hygienic Practice for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables. Comment: The purpose is to provide guidance on control of microbial hazards associated with melons.
Lead countries: Canada and the United States
Reference: REP 11/CCFH, paragraph 142 and Appendix VII
Codex Committee on Fats and Oils
8. Standard for Fish Oils. Comment: The purpose of this new work is to establish a standard containing quality and compositional factors for different fish oils (including shellfish oils).
Lead country: Switzerland
Reference: REP 11/FO, paragraph 66 and Appendix VI
9. Amendment to parameters for rice bran oil in the Standard for Named Vegetable Oils. Comment: This is a proposal for the amendment of the standard for rice bran oil to amend the levels of fatty acid composition and desmethylsterols.
Reference: REP 11/FO, paragraph 81 and Appendix VII
Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling
10. Principles for the use of sampling and testing in international food trade. Comment: The purpose of this work is to set out principles, on a scientific basis, for the use of sampling and testing to determine whether foods in trade meet specifications and how to avoid potential disputes.
Lead country: New Zealand
Reference: REP11/MAS, paragraph 71 and Appendix IV
11. Provisions for proprietary methods. Comment: This work will develop provisions for proprietary methods to be included in the Codex Procedural Manual.
Lead countries: United Kingdom and Germany
Reference: REP11/MAS, paragraph 78
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Codex Committee on Contaminants in Food
12. Maximum Levels for Arsenic in Rice. Comment: This project aims to establish a maximum level (ML) for arsenic in rice. Concerns were raised that the work was premature because data were lacking on inorganic arsenic in rice. The Commission approved the new work but requested China, as the lead country, to develop a paper to explain whether the MLs would be for total arsenic or inorganic arsenic only.
Lead country: China
Reference: REP 11/CF, paragraph 64 and Appendix IV
Codex Committee on Sugars
13. Standard for Panela. Comment: Panela is unrefined whole cane sugar, typical of Latin America, which is basically a solid piece of sucrose and fructose obtained from the boiling and evaporating of sugarcane juice. Colombia agreed to host the CCS only for the time envisioned for completion of the standard. Work will be by correspondence only.
Lead country: Columbia
Reference: REP11/LAC, paragraph 135
Codex Committee on Fish and Fishery Products
14. Performance Criteria for Screening Methods for Biotoxins in the Standard for Live and Raw Bivalve Molluscs. Comment:The committee agreed to propose criteria/parameters for screening methods for biotoxins in the Standard for Live and Raw Bivalve Molluscs and to consider whether the criteria developed for both reference and confirmatory and screening methods should reside in the Code of Practice and, if so, be applied to other commodities covered by the CCFFP with biotoxin requirements. It was agreed that the focus of the new work should be on the development of the criteria without preempting which methods, for example the mouse bioassay, may or may not meet the criteria for either the reference or screening methods.
Lead country: Canada
Reference: REP 11/FFP, paragraphs 119–121
15. Proposed Draft Code of Practice for Fish and Fishery Products (section on Sturgeon Caviar). Comment: The new work is to develop a Code of Practice for Sturgeon Caviar for inclusion into the Code of Practice for Fish and Fishery Products.
Lead country: Iran
>Reference: REP 11/FFP, paragraph 178
Codex Committee for Food Labeling
16. Inclusion of new substances into the Guidelines for the Production, Processing, Labeling, and Marketing of Organically Produced Foods. Comment: The work would include spinosad, copper octanoate, potassium bicarbonate, and uses of ethylene for de-greening of citrus for fruit fly prevention as a flowering agent for pineapples and as a sprouting inhibitor for potatoes and onions.
Lead country: United States
Reference: REP11/FL, paragraph 101 and Appendix VI
Codex Committee on Processed Fruits and Vegetables
17. Standard for Certain Quick Frozen Vegetables. Comment: The committee agreed to initiate new work on horizontal standards for quick frozen vegetables. The revision will be limited to the existing individual standards, working toward simplification of provisions by identifying essential quality provisions and giving preference to relevant horizontal Codex texts.
Lead country: United States
Reference: REP 11/PFV, paragraphs 116–117
18. Standard for Certain Canned Fruits. Comment: The committee agreed to initiate new work on horizontal standards for canned fruits. The revision will be limited to the existing individual standards, working toward simplification of provisions by identifying essential quality provisions and giving preference to relevant horizontal Codex texts.
Lead country: Cuba
Reference: REP 11/PFV, paragraphs 116–117
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Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues
19. Establishment of Codex Priority Lists of Pesticides (Evaluation of New Pesticides and Pesticides under the Periodic Reevaluation). Comment: This is ongoing work on a large number of new evaluations, reevaluations, and follow-up evaluations for pesticides and residue levels in specified foods.
Reference: REP 11/PR, paragraph 140 and Appendix XI
FAO/WHO Coordinating Committee for Asia
20. Regional Standard for Tempe. Comment: This standard would cover tempe, a product prepared by the fermentation of soybeans by the mold of Rhizopus sp. without added salt. The existing Codex Standard for Fermented Soybean Paste covers soybean paste fermented by Aspergillus sp. with salt added to the soybean mash and thus does not cover tempe.
Lead country: Indonesia
Reference: REP 11/ASIA, paragraph 102 and Appendix IV
21. Regional Standard for Laver Products. Comment: Laver is an edible seaweed with high mineral salt content, particularly iodine and iron.
Lead country: Republic of Korea
References: REP 11/ASIA, paragraph 144; REP 11/FFP, paragraph 176
FAO/WHO Coordinating Committee for Europe
22. Regional Standard for Fresh Fungus “Chanterelle.” Comment: The standard will address quality and safety matters specific to species of edible mushrooms of the genera Cantharellus and Craterellus, wild or cultivated, to be supplied fresh to the consumer; chanterelles for industrial processing are excluded.
Lead countries: Belgium, European Union, France, and Poland
Reference: REP 11/EURO, paragraph 39 and Appendix II
23. Regional Standard for Ayran. Comment: The objective of the standard is to consider the characteristics of ayran, a cold yogurt-based beverage and traditional Turkish fermented milk drink.
Lead country: Turkey
Reference: REP 11/EURO, paragraph 100 and Appendix III
FAO/WHO Coordinating Committee for the Near East
24. Regional Standard for Doogh. Comment: Doogh is a yogurt-based beverage. Popular in Iran and also found in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and the Balkans, it is sometimes carbonated.
Lead country: Iran
Reference: REP11/NEA, paragraphs 80–82
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Codex has determined that working groups dedicated to a single issue are more efficient in drafting texts rather than creating drafts in the large plenary sessions of the committees. Some working groups involve drafting meetings (physical working groups (pWG)) while others are conducted by e-mail (electronic working groups (eWG)). The following list provides information on a number of ongoing projects in various committees that may be of interest to IFT members. Many Codex work projects evolve from discussion papers. Discussion papers are not part of the step process, yet they often play a critical role in determining the scope and content of official texts.
Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems (next meeting: Cairns, Australia, 17–21 Oct 2011)
- Proposed Draft Principles and Guidelines for National Food Control Systems. Comments are being accepted at Step 3; a pWG led by Australia met in Brazil in March. Reference: ALINORM 10/33/30, paragraph 68.
Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (next meeting: Bad Soden am Taunus, Germany, 14–18 Nov 2011)
- Additional or Revised Nutrient Reference Values for Labeling Purposes in the Codex Guidelines on Nutrition Labeling. Step 3 awaiting report from FAO/WHO. Reference: REP11/NFSDU, paragraph 50 and Appendix III.
- Revision of the Codex General Principles for the Addition of Essential Nutrients to Foods. Comments are being sought at Step 3 on a report from an eWG chaired by Canada (CX/NFSDU 11/33/7). Reference: REP11/NFSDU, paragraph 74 and Appendix VII.
- Revision of the Guidelines on Formulated Supplementary Foods for Older Infants and Young Children. Step 3. Reference: REP11/NFSDU, paragraph 90.
- Nutrient Reference Values (NRVs) for Nutrients Associated with Risk of Diet-Related Noncommunicable Diseases for General Population. Step 3. Reference: REP11/NFSDU, paragraph 111 and Appendix IV.
- Review of the Codex Standard for Follow-up Formula. Discussion paper prepared by New Zealand. Reference: CX/NFSDU 11/33/10.
Codex Committee on Food Hygiene (next meeting: Miami, Florida, 5–9 Dec 2011)
- Guidelines on the Application of General Principles of Food Hygiene to the Control of Viruses in Food. Comments are being accepted at Step 3 on a report from an eWG led by the Netherlands (CX/FH 11/43/4). Reference: REP11/FH, paragraph 86 and Appendix IV.
- Revision of the Principles for the Establishment and Application of Microbiological Criteria for Foods. Comments are being accepted on a report from a pWG led by Finland and New Zealand (CX/FH 11/43/5). Reference: REP11/FH, paragraph 127.
Task Force on Animal Feeding (next meeting: Berne, Switzerland, 20–24 Feb 2012)
- Guidelines on application of risk assessment for feed. Comments are being accepted at Step 3 (CX/AF 12/6/4). Lead country: Switzerland. Reference: ALINORM 10/33/REP, Appendix VIII.
- Prioritized list of hazards in feed. Comments are being accepted at Step 3. Lead country: Switzerland. Reference: CX/AF 12/6/5.
Codex Committee on Food Additives (next meeting: Beijing, China, 12–16 Mar 2012)
- Revision of the Standard for Food Grade Salt. Comments are being accepted at Step 6 (CL 2011/17-FA). Reference: REP11/FA, paragraph 136 and Appendix XI.
- Draft and proposed draft food additives provisions of the General Standard for Food Additives (GSFA). Steps 3 and 6. Reference: REP11/FA, paragraphs 22, 75 and Appendix VI.
- Additional information on food additive provisions of the GSFA. Steps 3 and 6. Reference: REP11/FA, paragraph 75 and Appendix VII.
- Discussion paper on the alignment of the food additive provisions of the standards for meat products and relevant provisions of the GSFA. An eWG led by Australia. Reference: Rep11/FA, paragraph 49.
- Discussion paper on description of food category 16.0 of the GSFA. An eWG led by the United States. Reference: Rep11/FA, paragraph 106.
- Discussion paper on use of Note 161 in the GSFA. An eWG led by South Africa. Reference: Rep11/FA, paragraph 114.
- Discussion paper on mechanisms for reevaluation of substances by JECFA. An eWG led by Canada. Reference: REP11/FA, paragraph 167.
- Prototype of a database on processing aids. Lead country: China. Reference: REP11/FA.
- Information document on Inventory of Substances used as Processing Aids (IPA) (updated list). Lead country: New Zealand.
- Identify the food categories in the Annex to Table 3 of the GSFA in which the use of “acidity regulators” or “emulsifiers, stabilizers, thickeners” is technologically justified or not. An eWG led by the United States.
- Amendments to the International numbering system (INS) for food additives. Reference: REP11/FA, paragraph 146.
- Specifications for the identity and purity of food additives arising from the 74th JECFA meeting. Reference: REP11/FA, paragraph 155.
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Codex Committee on Contaminants in Foods (next meeting: Maastrich, The Netherlands, 26–30 Mar 2012)
- Maximum Levels for Melamine in Food (Liquid Infant Formula). Comments are being accepted at Step 6 (CL 2011/16-CF). Reference: REP11/CF, paragraph 33 and Appendix III.
- Proposed Draft Maximum Levels for DON and its Acetylated Derivatives in Cereals and Cereal-based Products. Step 2/3 and an eWG led by Canada. Reference: REP11/CF, paragraph 43.
- Maximum Level for Total Aflatoxins in Dried Figs. Steps 2/3 and an eWG led by Turkey. Reference: REP11/CF, paragraph 50.
- Analysis Principles for Contaminants and Natural Toxins in Food and Feed. An eWG led by The Netherlands. Reference: REP11/CF, paragraph 9.
- Discussion paper on mycotoxins in sorghum. An eWG led by Nigeria. Reference: REP11/CF, paragraph 58.
- Discussion paper on risk management options in the lght of different risk assessment outcomes. An eWG led by the United States and The Netherlands. Reference: REP11/CF, paragraph 70.
- Discussion paper on ochratoxin in cocoa. An eWG led by Ghana. Reference: REP11/CF, paragraph 75.
- Discussion paper on pyrrolizidine akaloids. An eWG led by The Netherlands. Reference: REP11/CF, paragraph 82.
- Priority List of Contaminants and Naturally Occurring Toxicants proposed for evaluation by JECFA. Reference: REP11/CF, paragraph 93 and Appendix V.
- Maximum Levels for Lead in various foods in the GSCTFF and the Code of Practice for the Prevention and Reduction of Lead Contamination in Foods and Code of Practice for Source Directed Measures to Reduce Contamination of Foods with Chemicals. An eWG led by the United States. Reference: REP11/CF, paragraphs 96-97.
Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues (next meeting: Shanghai, China, 23–28 April 2012)
- Revision of the Classification of Foods and Animal Feeds: Herbs – Edible Flowers. Step 6. An eWG led by The Netherlands and the United States. Reference: REP11/PR, paragraph 92 and Appendix VII.
- Draft MRLs for Pesticides. Step 5. Reference: REP11/PR, paragraphs 31–81 and Appendix IV.
- Revision of the Classification of Foods and Animal Feeds: Assorted Tropical and Sub-tropical Fruits – Edible Peel and Assorted Tropical and Sub-tropical Fruits – Inedible Peel. Step 5 and an eWG led by The Netherlands and the United States. Reference: REP11/PR, paragraph 100 and Appendix VIII.
- Assessment of MRLs for Pesticides in Tea. REP11/PR, paragraphs 158 and 160.
- Discussion paper on the guidance to facilitate the establishment of MRLs for pesticides for minor use and specialty crops. An eWG led by the United States. REP11/PR, paragraph 116.
Codex Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods (next meeting: San Juan, Puerto Rico, 7–11 May 2012)
- Sampling Plans for Residue Control for Aquatic Animal Products and Derived Edible Products of Aquatic origin. Step 3 and an eWG led by the United States.
- Revision of Risk Analysis Principles Applied by the CCRVDF and the Risk Assessment Policy for the Setting of MRLs for Veterinary Drugs. An eWG led by France, Japan, and the United States.
- Discussion paper on extrapolation of MRLs to additional species and tissues. An eWG led by Canada.
- Database on need for MRLs of developing countries. An eWG led by the United States. Reference: REP11/RVDF, paragraph 87.
- Risk management recommendations for the veterinary drugs for which no ADI and/or MRL has been recommended by JECFA due to specific human health concerns. An eWG led by the European Union. Reference: REP11/RVDF, paragraph 116.
- Discussion paper on policy for the establishment of MRLs or other limits in honey. An eWG led by the United Kingdom. Reference: REP11/RVDF, paragraph 131.
Codex Committee on Food Labeling (next meeting: Ottawa, Canada, 14–18 May 2012)
- Definition of Nutrient Reference Values (for inclusion in the Guidelines for Nutrition Labeling). Step 6. Reference: REP11/FL, paragraph 170 and Appendix IV.
- Additional conditions for nutrient content claims and comparative claims in the Guidelines for Use of Nutrition and Health Claims. Step 2/3 and an eWG. Reference: REP11/FL, paragraphs 60–61.
- Proposed draft amendment to the Guidelines for the Production, Processing, Labeling and Marketing of Organically Produced Foods (to include aquaculture animals and seaweed). Comments are being accepted at Step 3 (CL 2011/13-FL). Reference: REP11/FL, paragraph 119 and Appendix V.
- Modified Standardized Common Names. Discussion paper being prepared by an eWG led by Canada and Hungary. Reference: REP11/FL, paragraphs 173–178.
Codex Committee on Fresh Fruits and Vegetables (next meeting: Mexico City, Mexico, 3–7 Sept 2012)
- Revision of the Standard for Avocado (size uniformity and other size-related provisions). Step 7 and an eWG led by Spain. Reference: REP11/FFV, paragraph 58 and Appendix II.
- Standard for Pomegranate. Step 6 and an eWG led by the United States. REP11/FFV, paragraph 122 and Appendix V.
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Codex Committee on Fish and Fishery Products (next meeting: Indonesia, 1–5 Oct 2012)(next meeting: Indonesia, 1–5 Oct 2012)
- Standard for Quick Frozen Scallop Adductor Muscle Meat. Step 6. Reference: REP11/FFP, paragraph 97 and Appendix VII.
- Standard for Fresh/Live and Frozen Abalone (Haliotis spp). Step 6. Reference: REP11/FFP, paragraph 146 and Appendix X.
- Food Additive Provisions in the Standard for Smoked Fish, Smoke-Flavoured Fish, and Smoke-Dried Fish. Step 6 and an eWG led by the European Union and the United States. Reference: REP11/FFP. paragraphs 64 and 164.
- Code of Practice on the Processing of Scallop Meat. Step 3 and a pWG led by Canada. Reference: REP11/FFP, paragraphs 100–101, Appendix VIII.
- Performance Criteria for Reference and Confirmatory Methods for Marine Biotoxins. Step 3. Reference: REP11/FFP, paragraph 117 and Appendix IX.
- Revision of the Procedure for the Inclusion of Additional Species in Standards for Fish and Fishery Products. Step 2/3 and an eWG led by Chile and France. Reference: REP11/FFP, paragraphs 108–109.
- Amendment to the Standard for Quick Frozen Fish Sticks (Nitrogen Factor for Atlantic Hake). Step 2/3 led by South Africa. Reference: REP11/FFP, paragraph 155.
- Discussion paper on histamine An eWG led by Japan and the United States. Reference: REP11/FFP, paragraphs 39–40.
- Discussion paper on a Code of Practice for Fish Sauce. Led by Thailand and Viet Nam. Reference: REP11/FFP, paragraph 42.
Codex Committee on Processed Fruits and Vegetables (next meeting: United States, 15–19 Oct 2012)
- Revision of the Standard for Table Olives. Step 2/3 and an eWG led by the European Union. Reference: REP11/FFP, paragraph 64.
- Sampling Plans including metrological provisions for controlling minimum drained weight of canned fruits and vegetables in packing media. Step 2/3 and an eWG led by France. Reference: REP11/FFP, paragraphs 104–105.
- Discussion paper on the extension of territorial application of the Codex Standard for Ginseng Products. Led by the Republic of Korea. Reference: REP11/FFP, paragraph 120.
- Discussion paper on the need for a Codex Standard for Chemically Flavoured Water-based Drinks An eWG led by Kenya. Reference: REP11/FFP, paragraph
Codex standards are based on science and developed through a systematic, transparent eight-step process. Member countries and NGO observers such as IFT can comment on and provide input to the development of standards at any step in the process. However, experience has shown that the most effective comments in shaping the scope and requirements of a standard are made in the early steps of the process (Step 1, 2, or 3). By the time a standard reaches later steps (Step 5, 6, or 7), the requirements have usually already been agreed to and comments are generally of a technical nature or concern precise wording of specific phrases. The Commission’s report and the reference committee reports are available on the Codex website (http://www.codexalimentarius.net).
If any of these new or ongoing work topics are of interest to you, IFT encourages you to become involved. Please contact Rosetta Newsome, Director, Science and Policy Initiatives ([email protected]), for more information.
F. Edward Scarbrough, Ph.D., a Professional Member of IFT, is a former U.S. Manager for Codex ([email protected]).