PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE RULES OF PROCEDURE (RULES II AND IX)
GUIDELINES FOR CODEX COMMITTEES
13 ALINORM 97/33 (Appendices II, III and IV); ALINORM 97/10
19. As the quorum specified in Rule IV.6 for the amendment of the Rules of Procedure was not attained, the Commission was unable to adopt the proposed amendments and it was agreed that they would be considered again at the next session of the Commission.
20. The Commission expressed the view that further clarification was needed regarding the definition of "recognized international organizations" as the definition included in the current draft was too broad, and did not adopt the proposed amendment. It agreed to refer this question to the Committee on General Principles with a view to defining the modalities for the participation of international organizations and noted that related issues would be further discussed under Agenda Item 9 (see also para. 159).
Preparation and distribution of papers
21. The Commission expressed its disagreement with the proposal for a deadline for the reproduction of Member and Observer comments. It agreed to defer consideration of the proposed amendment and to consider all issues related to the distribution of documents and comments from an overall perspective under Agenda Item 14 - Other Business (see also paras. 191 - 195).
Guidelines on the Elaboration and/or Revision of Codes of Hygienic Practice for Specific Commodities
22. The Commission recalled that the Committee on Food Hygiene, while discussing the revision of the Codes, had agreed that exclusive stress on food safety could limit their usefulness and that some flexibility was needed to provide guidance on certain non-safety factors such as incipient deterioration in fish and fishery products. It agreed that this should be reflected in a preliminary statement to this section as follows:
The establishment of additional food hygiene requirements for specific food items or food groups should be limited to the extent necessary to meet the defined objectives of individual codes.
23. The Commission adopted the Guidelines with this amendment. It noted the views of the Delegations of Germany and Austria that this statement was not essential and should not be included in the Procedural Manual.
24. The Commission adopted all other amendments to Sections H, J and K of the Procedural Manual proposed. These are included in Appendix II of this report.
General Decisions of the Commission
25. The Commission agreed to include in the Procedural Manual a new Appendix incorporating all general policy decisions of the Commission, which provide essential guidance from the Commission to its subsidiary bodies and in particular the Four Statements of Principles Concerning the Role of Science in the Codex Decision-Making Process and the Extent to which Other Factors are Taken into Account. The Commission recalled that all such decisions had the same status, irrespective of the section of the Manual which included them.
Statements of Principle relating to the Role of Food Safety Risk Assessment
26. Several delegations proposed to add a fifth principle to reflect the concept that "different processes and procedures may achieve the same objectives", as had been recognized by the Committee on General Principles. Other delegations expressed the view that the inclusion of this principle was premature at this stage as food safety objectives were not clearly defined and that this was an important issue which required further discussion in the Committee on General Principles.
27. The Delegation of India, while not objecting to the principles themselves, stressed the difficulties of developing countries in the application of risk assessment methodology. The Commission noted that the principles under discussion were not directed to governments but were intended to provide orientations for the work of Codex Committees.
28. The Commission adopted the Statements of Principle as currently drafted, with the understanding that the Committee on General Principles would further consider issues related to equivalence and food safety objectives, and recognized that adequate flexibility should exist to take into account the needs of developing countries. It was also agreed that the Statements of Principle would be included in the new Appendix of the Procedural Manual containing general decisions of the Commission (see para. 25 above).
Definitions of Risk Analysis Terms Related to Food Safety
29. Some delegations proposed specific amendments to the current text and expressed the view that some inconsistencies existed between certain definitions. The Commission however recalled that the definitions originated from a Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation and had been discussed at the 21st Session of the Commission, the Executive Committee and the Committee on General Principles; the latter Committee proposed the adoption of the definitions on an interim basis.
30. The Commission adopted the definitions as currently drafted, for inclusion in the Definitions. Section of the Procedural Manual, with the understanding that they would be subject to regular review and that Member countries would have the opportunity to provide comments for further consideration by the Committee on General Principles.
31. The general decisions and definitions for inclusion in the Procedural Manual are attached as Appendix II to this report.