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Revision of Food and Nutrition Paper No. 5

In 2005, the decision was made by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to revise and update Food and Nutrition Paper (FNP) No. 5, "Guide to Specifications", containing general notices, general analytical techniques, identification tests, test solutions and other reference materials used in JECFA food additive specifications.

These revisions would be published in Volume 4 of the new Combined Compendium of Food Additive Specifications (FAO JECFA Monographs No. 1).

A number of JECFA and other national experts accepted to draft revisions and updates for selected chapters and other sections of FNP 5. The experts and the chapters or sections that they were requested to revise were as follows:

Dr. Madduri V. Rao (UAE University, United Arab Emirates)

General Analytical Techniques
Inorganic Components

Mrs. Inge Meyland (Danish Institute of Food and Veterinary Research, Denmark)

Appearance and Physical Properties
Organic Components

Drs. Paul Kuznesof and Julie Barrows (US Food and Drug Administration, USA)

Food Colours

Dr. Brian Whitehouse (Consultant, United Kingdom)

Enzyme Preparations
Flavouring Agents
Flavour Enhancers

Dr. Richard Cantrill (American Oil Chemists Society, USA)

Fats and Related Substances
Hydrocarbons, Waxes and Oils

Dr. Keith Lampel (US Food and Drug Administration, USA)

Microbiological Methods

In addition, Mr. John Howlett, Consultant, United Kingdom, was asked to prepare proposals for the overall reorganization of the revisions for incorporation into Volume 4.

A Technical Meeting was subsequently held at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters in Rome, Italy, from 5 to 7 December 2005 to discuss and finalize the proposed revisions and updates prepared by the experts. That meeting was chaired by FAO Consultant John Weatherwax (USA) with FAO Consultant (and JECFA expert) Harriet Wallin (National Food Agency, Finland) as the Rapporteur. All experts involved in preparing revisions participated in the meeting, excepting Dr. Julie Barrows. The FAO JECFA Secretary, Dr. Annika Wennberg also participated.

Criteria for Replacement of Older Methods

The meeting agreed that the following criteria would prompt replacement (if possible) of analytical methods being considered for revision:

Older analytical methods that are still in use and are functioning well were not deleted, but references were made to modern methods along with recommendations to use modern techniques.

Those methods which were not referred to by at least one food additive specification were deleted.

Food Chemicals Codex

The Food Chemicals Codex (FCC), published by the National Academies, Washington, D.C., USA, has been an international reference for accepted standards of quality and purity of food chemicals since 1966. The current fifth edition of the FCC has updated many standards and analytical methods, based on changes in science and manufacturing since the previous edition. JECFA has used a number of FCC analytical methods in preparing food additive specifications. FCC methods used in this volume have been taken from the fifth edition.

Hazardous Reagents and Solvents

In some cases, older methods specify the use of solvents or other reagents which are now known to be hazardous to human health. All such materials should be substituted by safer alternatives wherever possible and permitted by the analysis. Where safer substitutes are not available, and no alternative method can be used, the hazardous solvents or reagents should be used with appropriate caution.

Method Validation

All analytical methods referenced in this volume have been shown to provide satisfactory analytical results in normal use. It is incumbent on the analyst, however, to appropriately validate any analytical procedure being used for the first time in their laboratories.

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