1. The Eleventh Session of the Joint FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission was held at FAO Headquarters, Rome, from 29 March to 9 April 1976. The session was attended by 310 participants, including the representatives and observers of 60 countries and observers from 29 international organizations (see Appendix I for the List of Participants).
2. The Commission was presided over by the Chairman, Dr. D.G. Chapman (Canada) and by two of its three Vice-Chairmen, Dr. E. Matthey (Switzerland) and Dr. T. Ndoye (Senegal). The third Vice-Chairman, Dr. E. Méndez (Mexico) could not be present for the entirety of the session. The Joint Secretaries were Mr. G.O. Kermode and Mr. H.J. McNally (FAO) and Dr. F.C. Lu and Dr. L. Reinius (WHO).
Address by the Deputy Director-General of FAO
3. The Eleventh Session of the Joint FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission was convened by the Directors-General of FAO and WHO, and was opened, on behalf of the Directors-General, with a speech of welcome by Mr. Roy I. Jackson, Deputy Director-General of FAO. Amongst other things, Mr. Jackson referred to the expanding interest shown by Member Governments of FAO and WHO in the work of the Commission, the shift in emphasis in FAO and WHO to what might be described as country-focus activities and its relationship to the work of the Commission, and the increasing attention being paid by the Commission to the needs of the developing countries. He also paid tribute to the retiring Chairman of the Commission, Dr. D.G. Chapman (Canada) and expressed the appreciation of WHO and FAO to those governments which had undertaken the task of chairing and hosting meetings of the Commission's subsidiary bodies. The full text of Mr. Jackson's address is contained in Appendix II to this report.
Adoption of Agenda and Timetable
4. The Commission adopted the provisional agenda with a slight re-arrangement in the order of items to be discussed.
Election of Officers of the Commission
5. During the session, the Commission elected Dr. E. Matthey (Switzerland) as Chairman of the Commission to serve from the end of the 11th to the end of the 12th session of the Commission and also re-elected Dr. T. Ndoye (Senegal) and elected Dr. D. Eckert (Federal Republic of Germany) and Mr. W.C.K. Hammer (Australia) as Vice-Chairmen of the Commission to serve from the end of the 11th to the end of the 12th session.
6. The Commission elected from the members of the Commission representatives for the following geographic locations in the Executive Committee of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, to hold office from the end of the 11th to the end of the 13th session of the Commission in accordance with Rule III. 1 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission: Africa - Kenya; Asia - Thailand; Europe - Czechoslovakia; Latin America - Brazil; North America - U.S.A.; South West Pacific - New Zealand.
REPORT BY THE CHAIRMAN ON THE TWENTY-FIRST AND TWENTY-SECOND SESSIONS OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
7. The Commission received reports concerning the 21st and 22nd sessions of the Executive Committee held in Geneva from 17 to 19 June 1975 and in Rome on 23 and 24 March 1976, respectively. The reports of these two sessions of the Executive Committee were contained in ALINORM 76/3 and ALINORM 76/4. In introducing and reviewing the reports, the Chairman indicated that all but one of the substantive items considered by the Executive Committee would be dealt with by the Commission under the agenda items relating to the matters concerned. The following matter was dealt with under this item of the agenda.
Proposed GATT Code of Conduct for Preventing Technical Barriers to Trade
8. The proposed GATT Code of Conduct for Preventing Technical Barriers to Trade had been discussed by the Commission at its Tenth Session (ALINORM 74/44, paras 15 and 16) and by the Executive Committee at its Twenty-First and Twenty-Second Sessions (ALINORM 76/3, paras 15-17 and ALINORM 76/4, paras 17-20).
9. The representative of GATT was invited to speak on the proposed Code. He referred to correspondence between the GATT Secretariat and the Codex Secretariat concerning the proposed Code, the substance of which had been conveyed to the Members of the Commission in circular letter CL 1975/10, April 1975. There had been very recent correspondence between the two Secretariats and the Executive Committee at its Twenty-Second Session took note of a communication from GATT summarizing developments concerning the proposed Code.
10. The communication indicated that in March 1975 it had been agreed that negotiations should commence initially on a range of non-tariff measures and in this regard the Sub-Group Technical Barriers to Trade had been established to draw up general rules in the area, inter alia, of standards. The Sub-Group Technical Barriers to Trade had agreed that the proposed Code of Conduct for Preventing Technical Barriers to Trade should be used as the basis for its work. A great deal of work had been done on the text of the proposed Code. This work, which also related to problems in the area of packaging and labelling, was continuing (for example, the Sub-Group had been examining specific drafting suggestions and had also examined the applicability to the proposed Code of the definitions drawn up by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and the International Organization for Standardization). So far, the question of the applicability of this work to agricultural product standards had yet to be taken up by the relevant negotiating bodies established within the framework of the Multilateral Trade Negotiations to treat tariff and non-tariff measures relating to agricultural products.
11. In reply to an enquiry from Dr. T. Ndoye (Senegal), Vice-Chairman, as to whether UNCTAD was associated with GATT in this area of activity, the representative of GATT indicated that there were close working relationships with a number of interested international organizations in this area, including UNCTAD.
12. The Commission endorsed the view of the Executive Committee which had re-emphasized the need for the Secretariat to maintain the closest liaison with the GATT Secretariat and for the work in GATT on the proposed Code and in other areas of possible interest to the Commission to be followed very closely. In this connection, the Executive Committee had re-stressed the desirability that the Secretariat of the Codex Alimentarius Commission should be invited to attend these GATT meetings in an observer capacity. The Secretariat undertook, within the limits of its travel budget, to try and be represented at these meetings, assuming that they were not restricted meetings.
13. The Executive Committee had also reiterated the view which it had expressed at its Twenty-First Session that delegates attending sessions of the Commission and its subsidiary bodies should get in touch with their counterparts in other Ministries in their countries attending the GATT meetings on this subject, so that the representatives attending the GATT meetings might be more closely acquainted with the objectives and working procedures of the Commission in the matter of international food standards.
MEMBERSHIP OF THE CODEX ALIMENTARIUS COMMISSION AND ACCEPTANCE OF CODEX STANDARDS
14. The Commission had before it a list of Members of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. The membership as at 9 April 1976 is set out below. The Commission noted that since its last Session, membership had increased by nine countries and that 114 countries were now Members of the Commission. The nine new Members of the Commission were as follows: Bangladesh, Bénin - People's Republic of, Burma, Cambodia, El Salvador, Guinée-Bissau, Nepal, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Western Samoa.
* New Members since the Tenth Session of the Commission.
Progress Report on Acceptances of Recommended Codex Standards and Recommended Codex Maximum Limits for Pesticide Residues
15. The Commission took note of the contents of documents ALINORM 76/6, Parts I, II, III, IV and V and LIM 2, which were introduced and reviewed by the Secretariat. Document ALINORM 76/6, Part I, contained a detailed comparison which had been made by Japan, between many of the Recommended Codex Standards and Recommended Maximum Limits for Pesticide Residues and Japanese national standards. The differences between the Codex recommendations and the Japanese national standards were set forth in detail in the document.
16. Document ALINORM 76/6, Part II, contained details of the deviations notified by the U.S.A. in connection with its Acceptance with Specified Deviations of the Recommended General Standard for the Labelling of Prepackaged Foods and the Recommended Standard for Quick Frozen Peas. The U.S.A. also set forth in a summary document (LIM 2) - which as a conference Room document did not receive full distribution prior to the Commission's session - its position on several Recommended Codex Standards and Recommended Maximum Limits for Pesticide Residues. The U.S.A. had completed its rule-making procedure including publication of Recommended Codex Standards in the Federal Register for comments on 21 Recommended International Codex Standards. In addition, the U.S.A. had completed action on the Recommended European Regional Standard for Honey. Included in the actions to-date was the establishment of eight new regulations for products not previously covered in U.S. regulations. Official notification of the U.S. action had been prepared on the appropriate form supplied by the Secretariat and these completed forms were in the process of being formally transmitted to the Secretariat by the U.S. Government.
17. The U.S.A. had given Acceptance with Specified Deviations to the Recommended General Standard for the Labelling of Prepackaged Foods and to 12 Recommended Commodity Standards (canned Pacific salmon, margarine, canned grapefruit, canned applesauce, canned sweet corn, canned plums, quick frozen peas, dextrose anhydrous, dextrose monohydrate, glucose syrup, dried glucose syrup and lactose). The U.S.A. reaffirmed its previous advice to the Secretariat that it did not accept the Recommended International Standards for edible soya bean oil, edible arachis oil, edible cottonseed oil, edible sunflowerseed oil, edible rapeseed oil, edible maize oil, edible sesameseed oil, edible safflowerseed oil and mustardseed oil. However, as there did not appear to be any provisions in the above Recommended International Standards which would be in conflict with the basic requirements of the U.S. food laws and regulations, those oils, other than rapeseed oil, complying with the Recommended Codex Standards would not be barred because of any specifications or requirements therein from entering the U.S. or moving freely in U.S. domestic commerce. Only hydrogenated rapeseed oil had been used for food in the U.S.A. and there would be some question of the acceptability of untreated rapeseed oil until the significance of its erucic acid content and toxicity had been more fully explored.
18. The summary paper prepared by the U.S.A. (LIM 2) reiterated that while the U.S. did not accept the Recommended European Regional Standard for Honey, the U.S. would permit honey that fully complied with the standard to be distributed in the U.S.A. The summary paper also indicated that Recommended Codex Maximum Limits for Pesticide Residues had been accepted by the U.S.A. The commodity definitions differed slightly from those recommended by the Commission, and for this reason, the applicable commodities had been identified. The list of Recommended Maximum Limits for Pesticide Residues accepted by the U.S.A. has been reproduced in document ALINORM 74/6-part IV Addendum.
19. Document ALINORM 76/6, Part III, set forth the position of Canada concerning the acceptance of certain Recommended Codex Standards and also concerning the Recommended Codex Maximum Limits for Pesticide Residues. Canada had given Acceptance with Specified Deviations to the Recommended Standard for the Labelling of Prepackaged Foods and to 16 Recommended Commodity Standards, as listed in the document mentioned above. Canada had decided to give non-acceptance in the case of one Recommended Commodity Standard. The details of the position of Canada with regard to each of the 18 Recommended Standards including full details of specified deviations, were set forth in the eighteen completed forms for the declaration of acceptance or non-acceptance, which formed part of ALINORM 76/6, Part III.
20. Document ALINORM 76/6-Part III also set forth in detail the position of Canada regarding acceptance or non-acceptance of every Recommended Codex Maximum Limit listed in the publication “Recommended International Maximum Limits for Pesticide Residues (Fourth Series)”. Each and every food product listed in that publication had been covered in the Canadian reply. This information was set forth in the required completed forms which also formed part of document ALINORM 76/6-Part III. It was noted that Canada had been able to give Full Acceptance to a very substantial number of the Recommended Codex Maximum Limits for Pesticide Residues.
21. Document ALINORM 76/6-Part IV contained information supplied by Singapore. Singapore had completed the form relating to acceptance or non-acceptance of the Recommended General Standard for the Labelling of Prepackaged Foods and also the form relating to the acceptance or non-acceptance of the Recommended Codex Maximum Limits for Pesticide Residues (Fourth Series). Singapore had given Acceptance with Specified Deviations to the Recommended General Standard for the Labelling of Prepackaged Foods and had specified the deviations. As regards the Recommended Codex Maximum Limits for Pesticide Residues, Singapore had given Full Acceptance to a number of them, but, in the main, its position was one of non-acceptance on the grounds that most of the recommended maximum limits were above the tolerance levels permitted in Singapore.
22. Document ALINORM 76/6-Part V, contained replies from 20 countries (Bahrein, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, Ghana, Honduras, Iran, Republic of Korea, Madagascar, New Zealand, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Thailand, United Kingdom, Venezuela, Yemen Arab Republic and Zaire. Five of the above countries (Costa Rica, Ghana, Honduras, Thailand and the Yemen Arab Republic) had given Full Acceptance to certain of the Recommended Codex Standards. Two countries (Costa Rica and Egypt) had given Acceptance with Specified Deviations to some of the standards and six countries (Bahrein, Bolivia, Iran, Madagascar, Rwanda and Zaire) had given Target Acceptance to a number of the Standards. Other countries listed in the document indicated their respective positions, including action being taken by them in regard to the standards.
23. Replies had also been received from the Netherlands, Portugal Switzerland and the United Kingdom, but they arrived too late to enable them to be published and put before the Commission. The Secretariat gave a verbal resumé of these replies.
24. The Netherlands, as host country for the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues and, therefore, conscious of a special responsibility in this field, had sent to the Secretariat a very detailed reply with reference to all of the Recommended Codex Maximum Limits for Pesticide Residues contained in the Fourth Series publication (CAC/RS 65-1974), in order to furnish an idea of how the Recommended Codex Maximum Limits related to existing tolerances and tolerances to be developed in the Netherlands. The main purpose of the response of the Netherlands was to indicate whether products conforming with the Recommended Codex Maximum Limits could or could not be imported into the Netherlands. In its reply, the Netherlands had indicated that it had to take account of developments in this field in the European Economic Community. The Netherlands had also indicated that it had found that there was a need for some more headings in the form (Form 3) than those which had been devised by the Secretariat.
25. Portugal had indicated that it gave Full Acceptance to the following Recommended Standards: canned tomatoes, canned peached, canned grapefruit, canned pineapple, edible dried fungi, fresh fungus Chanterelle, quick frozen peas, tomato juice and apple juice. Portugal had also given Acceptance with Specified Deviations to the Recommended Standards for canned green beans and wax beans, canned applesauce and canned sweet corn. The deviations, which were few, and concerned mainly the sections on food additives in the standards would have to be complied with for the products to be permitted to be distributed freely in Portugal. Portugal also accepted the Recommended Methods of Analysis for Processed Fruits and Vegetables.
26. Switzerland had completed the form concerning acceptance or non-acceptance of the Recommended Maximum Limits for Pesticide Residues (Form 3) in respect of the maximum limits listed in the Fourth Series publication. In Switzerland legislation was currently being considered with respect to pesticide residues, in order to achieve some harmonization with the Codex recommendations. It was not known yet, however, whether the revised legislation would be adopted. The information given in the completed form by Switzerland
was for information purposes only. The information showed what Switzerland intended to accept when the amendments to Swiss legislation came into force. As soon as this took place, there would be an official communication from the Swiss Government. For the moment, the law in Switzerland laid down that only residues from those pesticides permitted to be used in Switzerland would be tolerated on imported foods. The intention of Switzerland, as expressed in the markings in the completed form, indicated a number of Full Acceptances and Non-Acceptances. In many cases, where there was a marking under Non-Acceptance, there was an indication that the intention would be that products complying with the Recommended Maximum Limits would be allowed to be distributed freely in Switzerland.
27. The Swiss response also covered the acceptance procedure in Switzerland for Recommended Codex Standards. All the Recommended Standards that had been issued to Governments for acceptance had been evaluated by the Swiss National Codex Committee for the purposes of incorporation in Swiss legislation. The Swiss National Codex Committee had transmitted them, with its recommendations, to the Federal Health Service, Division of Foodstuffs Control. The Federal Health Service had the task of incorporating the standards in Swiss law. The legal texts on the following were in the course of revision: labelling, quick frozen foods, margarine and fruit juices. As soon as the proposed amendments came into force in Swiss legislation, Switzerland would be in a position to give either Full Acceptance or Acceptance with Specified Deviations to the Recommended Standards on the above subject and commodities. All other standards would be gradually incorporated into Swiss law in accordance with the same procedure. Switzerland was of the opinion that a world-wide harmonization of food laws had a great priority and hoped that other Governments as well as international agencies would be guided by the same philosophy.
28. The United Kingdom had given a response in respect of all of the Commodity Standards which have been adopted so far by the Commission and also in respect of the General Standard for the Labelling of Prepackaged Foods. The U.K. had indicated that it had no specific compositional or labelling regulations for any of the products covered by the Recommended Codex Standards and, for this reason, was unable to accept any of the Recommended Codex Standards at this time. The U.K. added that it was not possible to allow the free circulation of products conforming to the Recommended Codex Standards, because of differences between the U.K. general labelling laws, which apply to all of these products, and the Recommended Codex International Standard for the Labelling of Prepackaged Foods, the provisions of which are attracted to the Recommended Commodity Standards.
29. The U.K. pointed out that the European Economic Community had adopted Directives covering several of the products for which there were Recommended Codex Standards, namely:
Apricot, Peach and Pear Nectars
Concentrated Apple Juice
Concentrated Orange Juice
Dried Glucose Syrup
Honey (Codex European Regional Standard)
The U.K. had indicated that consideration was being given to the extent to which the U.K. law implementing the Directives, when made, would be consistent with some form of acceptance of the Recommended Codex Standards for these products.
30. For certain other products covered by Recommended Codex Standards, namely:
Powdered Sugar (Icing Sugar)
Powdered Dextrose (Icing Dextrose)
the U.K. had indicated that compositional and labelling regulations were being drafted. When these came into force, and when the results of the ICUMSA review of methods of analysis for these sugars were known, further consideration would be given to the extent to which the U.K. was able to notify some form of acceptance of the Recommended Codex Standards for these products.
31. As regards all other products for which there were Recommended Codex Standards, the U.K. indicated that it was currently involved in a major domestic review of its general labelling law and was involved in continuing discussion with other Member States of the European Economic Community on the harmonization of general labelling laws in the Community. The U.K. would be reconsidering the replies to the questions set forth in the form for the declaration of acceptance or non-acceptance of Recommended Codex Standards, when these exercises had been completed.
32. As regards the Recommended International Standard for the Labelling of Prepackaged Foods, the U.K. also indicated its position on the form for the acceptance or nonacceptance of this standards (Form 2). The U.K. indicated that it was not yet in a position to accept this standard, because it was, at the present time, involved in a major review of all its general labelling law. It was also involved in continuing discussions with other Member States of the EEC on the harmonization of general labelling laws in the Community. The U.K. pointed out that this Standard was playing an important part in the preparation of the proposed Community general labelling law. It was for these reasons that the U.K. could not, at present, accept the Recommended Codex Standard and that the differences which exist between the standard and corresponding U.K. labelling law had not been listed at this time.
33. During the course of the discussion that followed the presentation and review of the papers on acceptances which had been prepared by the countries mentioned above, several delegations indicated what action was being taken in their countries concerning acceptance of the Codex recommendations.
34. The delegation of Norway referred to the administrative and legal procedures that had to be followed in Norway in giving consideration to the Recommended Standards and of the need for ensuring the fullest coordination with all the interests involved. The delegation of Norway stressed the importance of the Recommended Standards as forming the foundation on which fair practice in world-wide food trade was based. Norway hoped to be in a position to notify a number of acceptances in the not too distant future.
35. The delegation of Australia referred to difficulties in giving acceptances, arising from Australia's constitutional arrangements. However, Codex work was being followed very closely in Australia and Australia hoped to be in a position before too long to communicate its position on acceptances of the Recommended Codex Maximum Limits for Pesticide Residues.
36. The delegation of Nigeria indicated that there was great interest in Codex work in Nigeria. A new Food Law had come into force on 10 February 1976. One of the basic principles of the new law was that where Nigeria did not have a national standard for a particular food product, it would use the Recommended Codex Standards. As the application of national standards developed, Nigeria would, in the event of there being differences between the national standards and the Recommended Codex Standards, review its acceptances of the Recommended Codex Standards.
37. The delegation of Senegal indicated that it was hoped to establish shortly in Senegal a National Codex Committee. The establishment of such a Committee, working in conjunction with the ‘Comité Scientifique de la Commission du Contrôle des Produits Alimentaires’, would hasten the process of considering the Recommended Codex Standards with a view to acceptance. Senegal expected that it would, in due course, be able to give Target Acceptance to many of the Recommended Codex Standards, and, where appropriate, Full Acceptance to certain of them.
38. The delegation of Malaysia indicated that Malaysia was in the process of revising its food and drug regulations. When this work was completed Malaysia expected to be in a position to communicate its position concerning acceptance of the Recommended Standards to the Commission.
39. The representative of the Commission of the European Economic Community gave a brief outline of developments within the EEC in this field. He indicated that within the Community there was a positive attitude to the acceptance of the standards passed to Step 9 which are covered by Community rules. The procedure and form in which such an attitude is to be expressed were currently being examined.
40. The Commission expressed satisfaction at the progress being made concerning acceptance of the Recommended Codex Standards and Recommended Codex Maximum Limits for Pesticide Residues. The latest position on acceptances is summarized in tabular form on a standard by standard basis in Appendix III to this report. The Commission noted that the Secretariat hoped to be in a position to institute a “drive” on acceptances and would be giving attention to how best and in what format to report periodically to Governments on replies received.
ACTIVITIES WITHIN FAO, WHO AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS OF INTEREST TO THE CODEX ALIMENTARIUS COMMISSION
41. The Commission had before it document ALINORM 76/33, section A of which contained a report by FAO and section B a report by WHO on activities in the two Organizations of interest to the Commission.
42. In introducing section A of the document, the FAO Secretariat pointed out that, while FAO activities on food control and consumer protection were not an integral part of the work of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, the activities were directly related and complementary to the Commission's work. Mention was made of activities in the areas of food additives and contaminants, such as the FAO/WHO Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives and the FAO/WHO Symposium on Anabolic Agents. With regard to mycotoxins, the ongoing UNEP supported FAO programme was mentioned, which was designed to promote action on a national level in control of mycotoxins and included a Joint FAO/UNEP/WHO Conference, which would be held during 1977.
43. The FAO Secretariat mentioned various Joint FAO/WHO activities being carried out under a UNEP supported project to assist the Codex Alimentarius Commission in the area of contaminants in food and FAO and WHO in strengthening food control capabilities. Work under this programme had been done with regard to (i) methods of analysis and sampling for contaminants, (ii) microbiological specifications, (iii) a publication on Guidelines for Developing an Effective National Food Control System, and (iv) review of the work done by the Codex Alimentarius Commission in the field of pesticide residues. Further work on the project would include the development of a Manual for Food Inspectors.
44. It was pointed out that the FAO Programme of Food Control Assistance operated both at the national and regional levels and included advice on food legislation, the training of inspectors, laboratory personnel and food control administrators and on the setting up of laboratories, and that in carrying out this programme, the work of the Codex Alimentarius Commission had been utilized. Country and regional projects and surveys were mentioned. Training was being given the highest priority in this programme and valuable support had been received from UNEP in this regard. Emphasis was placed on the fact that food control was a developmental activity and not merely a system for policing.
45. The FAO Secretariat referred to a number of other FAO activities which were related to overall development of effective food control services at a national level. Mention was made of the FAO programme which provided advice on the carrying out of food consumption surveys in developing countries. The work of the units in FAO in the field of food hygiene and quality control, covering fisheries and animals was also described. With regard to fisheries, it was mentioned that there were a number of projects on fish inspection. Reference was also made to the work on the development of codes of technological/hygienic practice for fish handling to ensure food quality and safety, and also to work on other related topics.
46. The FAO Secretariat also referred to the work of the Animal Production and Health Division of FAO, which covered inter alia a Meat Development Programme; codes of meat hygiene practices; projects on meat inspection, including the hygiene aspects, in slaughterhouses; seminars on meat hygiene; and the development of materials for use in training on meat hygiene. Reference was made to a Meat Inspection Training Centre for English-speaking countries of Africa, a project supported by DANIDA, located in Nairobi, Kenya. Information was also given on the work done by the Plant Production and Protection Division in assisting developing countries in the use and control of pesticides, in order to minimize pesticide residues in food, and in strengthening pesticide laboratory facilities and the carrying out of environmental impact monitoring surveys with regard to pesticides.
47. The WHO Secretariat, in introducing section B of document ALINORM 76/33, referred to the close working relations between WHO and FAO, for example the FAO/WHO Guidelines for Development of an Effective National Food Control System. He stated that the objective of WHO's Food Safety Programme was to collaborate with Member States in their efforts to develop or strengthen their food safety control programmes and/or services. This objective was to be achieved by two main approaches. One was the provision of various types of food safety information and the other the promotion of national food safety control programmes. Most of the latter, i.e. food safety control was in the form of country projects or inter-country projects which were handled by WHO's six regional offices, located in Washington, Copenhagen, Brazzaville, Alexandria, New Delhi and Manila. There was a more limited number of inter-regional projects which were handled by the Headquarters of WHO. There were about 100 such projects. Most of these projects were initiated at the request of government agencies.
48. The above-mentioned projects were either financed from WHO's regular budget or from extra-budgetary funds and covered various aspects of food control including (i) the assessment of national needs, (ii) the provision of training courses and fellowships for personnel engaged in various facets of food safety control, and (iii) the provision of other services as required (e.g. WHO had provided expert assistance in two very recent food poisoning episodes, and had offered facilities for analysis of foodstuff suspected of being contaminated). The WHO Secretariat also pointed out that the projects mentioned in document ALINORM 76/33 (4.3.2 and 4.3.3) were examples only. A complete list was given in WHO's Official Record # 220 - Programme and Budget Estimates.
49. The other main approach involved the provision of food safety information. It included (1) the collection or generation of information, (2) the evaluation of health hazards of additives, pesticides and microbiological and chemical contaminants, (3) collaboration with Member States in the elaboration of food standards within the framework of the Codex Alimentarius Commission and (4) the preparation of food safety manuals, guidelines, etc.
50. The WHO Secretariat described a few recent activities and activities that were in preparation. The Joint FAO/WHO Food Contamination Monitoring Programme, supported by UNEP, had completed a number of activities and it was expected that additional activities would be undertaken, including the preparation of guidelines for national food monitoring systems, designation of collaborating centres and collaboration with Member States.
51. The Expert Committee on Irradiated Foods would be jointly sponsored by FAO and IAEA and would take place in Geneva from 31 August to 7 September 1976. There would be two sessions of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives in the biennium 1976/77. However, there was provision for only one session of the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues.
52. In June 1976 there would be an Expert Consultation on the subject of ceramic foodware safety as a follow-up to the International Conference held in Geneva in 1974. The proceedings of the 1974 Conference should be available in the very near future; the undue delay was the result of a fire accident which destroyed the original manuscript.
53. With respect to the Conference on Anabolic Agents held in November 1974, the WHO Secretariat stated that the report of the Conference has been distributed by FAO and WHO and that the papers presented at the Conference would be published in their entirety in the near future.
54. The WHO Secretariat indicated that since the last session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, the work in WHO in the field of food microbiology had continued and developed, following the general recommendations made by the Governing Bodies of the Organization and the more specific recommendations of meetings of experts, convened to review progress and make suggestions for future work.
55. Particular attention had been paid to the development of microbiological and related methodologies for use in food hygiene programmes, with special emphasis on international standardization of these methods, as a step towards the setting of internationally acceptable microbiological specifications for foods. This work had largely been based on results from research coordinated and supported by WHO. The International Commission for Microbiological Specification for Foods, in particular, had generated useful information on sampling, and identification and enumeration of microorganisms in foods. That Commission had recently initiated a comprehensive study to cover the field of food spoilage caused by microorganisms.
56. An important step in the long-term programme for the development of microbiological specifications for foods had been taken a year ago when a Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Microbiological Specifications for Foods had been convened. This had been done with financial support from UNEP. The Consultation had discussed, in great detail, the various aspects of microbiological specifications for foods and had come to the conclusion that there would be an increasing demand for international specifications of this kind. The Consultation made specific recommendations for egg products, on sampling, microbiological methods and microbiological limits, for inclusion in the relevant code under preparation by the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene. The next Expert Consultation on Microbiological Specifications was planned to be held in late 1976 or early 1977. This, like the earlier Consultation, was being organized together with FAO and in close collaboration with the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene. This Codex Committee had decided, as early as 1972, to intensify its activities in the field of food microbiology.
57. A WHO Expert Committee on Public Health Aspects of Food Microbiology had been convened in March 1976 in Geneva. This Committee dealt with recent scientific developments in the whole field of food microbiology, with a view to assessing the usefulness of new findings in the work for the further improvement of existing national and international food hygiene programmes. The Committee paid particular attention to providing background information for the further development of microbiological specifications for foods, for consideration within the FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme. This was done, with due consideration being given to the cost-benefit aspects related to microbiological testing of foods, as a part of food control and food hygiene programmes.
58. The WHO Food Virology Programme had now reached the stage when it could provide services to its users, which means that it makes available, on request, specific information on viruses in foods and their public health implications, using an automatic retrieval system for the collected data. This service was intended for the use of food control authorities, epidemiologists dealing with food-borne outbreaks and research and laboratory workers in the field of food virology and food hygiene.
59. The WHO Secretariat concluded by indicating that a Consultation on Post-Graduate Training in Food Microbiology had been convened in November 1975 in collaboration with FAO, to review existing international courses in food microbiology in relation to future needs. The recommendations of this Consultation would be used as guidance for the Organizations in their efforts to coordinate and support ongoing and planned international training activities, in order to respond, in particular, to the needs of developing countries.
60. A number of delegations, in discussing this agenda item, commended FAO and WHO for their efforts to date in assisting Member Countries, particularly developing countries, in strengthening their food control services. They pointed out that there needed to be much more work done by the international agencies in developing systems which would enable the development of truly effective food control infrastructures at a national level. The need for developing training programme for food inspectors covering all foods was stressed and, in this connection, it was pointed out by one delegation that there might be a possibility for FAO to extend the scope of the Meat Inspection Training Centre in Kenya to cover all foods. A point was made by one delegation that it might not always be equally useful to depend upon the advice of a short-term consultant or adviser, and stress should rather be laid, where appropriate, on better utilization of existing national institutions and national consultations by specialists.
61. Some delegations underlined the need for assistance in developing vital basic information on the intake of contaminants from foods and other sources; the monitoring of pathways of pesticides in the environment and the assessment of pesticide residue problems; and determining the impact of FAO food control activities in developing countries. One delegation emphasized the particular importance of the work of developing a positive list of food additives, stating that, in its opinion, too many additives were being used in food, some of which had not been adequately evaluated and had not been proved to present no health hazards.
62. The Nigerian delegation made a reference to the role of the FAO Senior Agricultural Advisers at country level and stated that very often their time was fully occupied in their work in liaison with Ministries of Agriculture. As nutrition and food control activities cut across the activities of the Ministries of Agriculture, Commerce and Industry, Health, and other agencies, the delegation urged that further emphasis should be given to briefing the FAO Country Representatives suitably, so that they could be more effective in maintaining a meaningful dialogue with the national authorities concerned with regard to the development of these activities.
63. A number of delegations pointed out that the work of the Codex Alimentarius Commission was very valuable to developing countries, but could only be wholly utilized if FAO and WHO increased their assistance to developing countries in strengthening food control services. One delegation urged that the Director-General of FAO should do everything possible to promote the development of food control infrastructure in the developing countries to enable them to be in a position to participate more meaningfully in the work of the Codex Alimentarius Commission and to implement the Commission's recommendations.
64. With regard to training, it was pointed out that the Coordinating Committee for Africa had emphasized the value of regional training institutes for food control inspectors and analysts.
65. A point was also made regarding the need for the Commission to take appropriate follow-up action on some of the recommendations of the International Conference on Ceramic Foodware Safety. The importance of creating consumer awareness in this regard was mentioned.
66. The FAO Secretariat indicated that efforts were being made by the agencies to develop an integrated approach in the area of food control, including food inspector training and the training of industry personnel in food quality control, so that food control would provide consumer protection and at the same time assist in the development of the food industry and trade and protection of food supplies. The various valuable comments made during the discussion would be kept in mind by the Secretariat when implementing the various activities.
67. In the area of food hygiene, the delegation of France referred to the “Guide to Shellfish Hygiene” which was currently being printed in WHO and inquired when it was likely to be available. It was noted that it was expected to be available later this year. The WHO Secretariat indicated that there was already a WHO document available on shellfish hygiene - No. 550 in the WHO Technical Series. As regards microbiological limits, it was noted that an FAO/WHO Expert Consultation had made a proposal for the consideration of the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene concerning a uniform world-wide Salmonella methodology. The WHO Secretariat further indicated that a Food Inspection Manual was being drawn up which covered food in general.
Information on the Activities of other International Organizations working on the Standardization of Food and Related Matters
68. The Commission had before it the following documents:
ALINORM 76/34-Part I
- Food Standards work of the Working Party on the Standardization of Perishable Produce of the Economic Commission for Europe - Committee on Agricultural Problems.
ALINORM 76/34-Part II
- Report on the activities of the Council of Europe.
ALINORM 76/34-Part III
- Progress report on the activities of the Arab Organization for Standardization and Metrology (ASMO) in the field of Food Standards Control.
ALINORM 76/34-Part IV
- Report on the activities of Technical Committee ISO/TC 34 - Agricultural Food Products which was introduced by the representative of ISO.
ALINORM 76/34-Part V
- Harmonization of legislation on food products in the European Economic Community, a summary of which was presented by the representative of the EEC.
69. The representative of ISO stated that fruitful collaboration had already been established between ISO and the Commission, on the one hand, and between ISO and other international organizations concerned with methods of analysis, etc., for food commodities, on the other. In order to render these measures even more efficacious, a meeting had been organized in Budapest at the end of 1975, which was attended by representatives of the Codex Secretariat, AOAC and ISO. This first meeting decided to adopt a simplified system for putting in final form, in collaboration with all concerned, international standards for methods of sampling, testing and analysis, which Codex Commodity Committees might have need of. The representatives at this first meeting had formulated a concrete proposal concerning the questions to be dealt with during the course of the discussions envisaged and concerning the procedure to be followed, as indicated in document ALINORM 76/34-Part IV.
70. The Commission also took note of a report presented by the representative of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA) on the activities of the CMEA Standing Commission on Food Industry in the Field of Standardization of Food Products. Reference was made to the constant attention given to the activities of the Commission in the field of standardization, to the use of Codex Standards within the framework of the activities of CMEA and to the readiness of the CMEA to continue their cooperation with the Commission to improve the constructive cooperation of countries in the field of standardization of food products.
71. The delegation of Malaysia spoke of the activities of the Asian Standards Advisory Committee (ASAC) in the field of standardization of food items. ASAC, which was a subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), held its Fourth Session in Malaysia in December 1974. The Malaysian delegation further stated that the Fifth Session might be held in Iran, which had tentatively offered to host the meeting.
INCOME AND EXPENDITURE OF THE JOINT FAO/WHO FOOD STANDARDS PROGRAMME FOR 1974/75 AND PROPOSED PROGRAMME OF WORK AND BUDGET FOR 1976/77
72. The discussion on the above item took place in the presence of Mr. Roy I. Jackson, Deputy Director-General, FAO, and Mr. E.M. Ojala, Assistant Director-General, Economic and Social Policy Department, FAO. The Commission took note of the section of document ALINORM 76/8 dealing with income and expenditure in 1974/75, which had been considered by the Executive Committee at its 22nd Session (ALINORM 76/4, paras 3 and 4).
73. As regards the proposed programme of work and budget for 1976/77, the Commission had before it document ALINORM 76/8 together with the reports of the 21st and 22nd sessions of the Executive Committee, which had considered this matter.
74. Before the Commission entered into a discussion on the proposed budget for the Programme for the current biennium and its implications for the work of the Programme, the Deputy Director-General outlined the relevant background in FAO. He indicated that the Director-General had a mandate from the FAO conference, held in November 1975, to review programmes, activities, staffing and the general organization of FAO and to make his recommendations on these matters to the Council of FAO, which would meet from 12 to 21 July 1976. After formulating his recommendations, it would be necessary for the Director-General to submit them to the FAO Programme Committee and the FAO Finance Committee who would forward their views to the FAO Council. Thus, the Director-General's proposals had not yet been finalized. The proposals which had been the subject of study, were now in draft form. The final decision in this matter rested with the Council of FAO.
75. The Deputy Director-General referred to guidelines which had been given to the Director-General by the FAO Conference. These guidelines emphasized the need for programmes and activities in FAO to be more responsive to the needs of developing countries: in particular, the need for maximum assistance in furtherance of food production in the developing countries. The Director-General had also been requested by the FAO Conference to review and evaluate meetings, publications, travel, new posts and up-gradings and, as far as possible, to reduce them.
76. The FAO Conference had approved a budget of $167 million for the Organization for 1976/77 without dissent, but on the understanding that there would be an obligation on the Director-General to carry out the review. Every part of the FAO Programme of Work and Budget for 1976/77 was subject to review.
77. The Deputy Director-General indicated to the Commission that it was in the setting described above that the Commission had before it the budget and programme of work outlined in document ALINORM 76/8. It would, however, be open to Member Governments of the Codex Alimentarius Commission to make known their views on this matter through their representatives to the FAO Council in July 1976.
78. The Chairman reported that the proposed budget for the Programme for 1976/77, including the two lists of Codex meetings, had been considered by the Executive Committee at its 22nd session and that it had made a number of observations on this matter. The Commission noted that it was being asked to examine closely its own priorities, given the difficult financial situation and the overall priorities and general direction set by the Governing Bodies of the two Organizations. It was also being asked to fit its work programme for 1976/77 into a budget drawn up on the 1974/75 base plus mandatory cost increases for 1976/77. The Chief of the FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme reported that, as with FAO, WHO had also been faced with a difficult financial situation in relation to its overall priorities and the Director-General of WHO had been unable to provide for a programme increase for the Food Standards Programme. WHO would, however, contribute, as in the past, 25% of the joint budget of the Programme and would provide also for mandatory cost increases. On the basis of the present budgetary proposals for 1976/77, the cost sharing arrangement for the joint budget of the Programme would be maintained (FAO 75% - WHO 25%).
79. As regards the reduction in the number of Codex meetings from 41 to 27 in the biennium, the Commission noted that the Executive Committee, in the light of explanations which had been given by the Secretariat, was generally satisfied that, except for a full session of the Codex Committee on Food Labelling which had not been listed in the Director-General's proposals for the biennium, the choice of sessions represented, on balance and in the circumstances, probably the most satisfactory arrangement that could be made, from the point of view of the need to ensure the overall advancement of the work of the Programme.
80. In view of the important subject matters to be considered by the above Committee and having regard to its endorsing functions, which affected all draft standards, the Executive Committee considered it important that a full session of this Committee be held in the current biennium. Accordingly, the Executive Committee had taken steps towards obtaining the addition of a meeting of the Codex Committee on Food Labelling to the list of 27 Codex meetings envisaged for the biennium. As an alternative, in the event of there being difficulties about this, the Executive Committee had proposed that a session of the Codex Committee on Fish and Fishery Products could be deleted from the list of sessions envisaged for 1976/77 and substituted by a session of the Codex Committee on Food Labelling.
81. During the course of the discussion, several delegations stressed the uniqueness of the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme. The Programme was unique because a major share of the financial burden of running the Programme was borne by Host Governments. The great majority of Codex meetings were meetings hosted by Member Governments, who had undertaken to bear the costs of providing meeting facilities, interpretation and translation facilities - in most cases in the three languages of the Commission (English, French and Spanish) - and also a considerable amount of documentation. The delegation of the USA which hosts two Codex Committees, indicated that the cost to the U.S. of participation in the work of the Codex Alimentarius Commission was of the order of half-a-million dollars per annum.
82. All delegations speaking on this issue, both from the industrialized countries and from the different developing regions of the world, stressed the importance of the work of the Commission. The work was important because it was aimed principally at protecting the consumer against health hazards in food and against fraud and at achieving the greatest possible measure of uniformity in food laws and standards, in order to facilitate the freer movement of foods in world trade. There was growing emphasis being placed on the work of the Commission for the developing countries, mainly through the Regional Codex Coordinating Committees which were concerned in the first instance with the development of modern food laws on a concerted regional basis and with other aspects of food control infrastructure.
83. Concern was generally expressed lest FAO and WHO should ascribe a lower priority to the work of the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme, as this would be most unfortunate at a time when the Commission was showing very positive results in its work.
84. Some delegations from the developing regions stressed the importance of the development of food control infrastructure and one delegation expressed the view that this was where the emphasis should be laid, even if it meant a reduction in the number of Codex meetings. Other delegations from developing countries thought that it should be possible to strengthen the work on food control infrastructure without reducing the number of Codex meetings.
85. The following points were also made:
the savings achieved through the reduction in the size of the Codex budget for 1976/77 were very small in relation to the overall budgets of FAO and WHO;
governments themselves must budget for the work of the Commission and its subsidiary bodies and there must be some continuity in the Commission's programme of work, so that governments can budget in an orderly way;
the extending of the period between sessions of the Commission and Codex Committees had a bad effect on continuity: continuity of personnel was important for the work of the Commission because of the nature of the work and the ramifications of the Commission's activities. Some delegations expressed disquiet at the fact that a period of two years would now elapse between the 11th and 12th sessions of the Commission; under its Rules of Procedure, the Commission should, in principle meet each year.
86. The need for no slowing down in the frequency of meetings of General Subject Committees, including in particular, the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues and also the Codex Committees on Food Labelling, Food Additives, and Food Hygiene was also stressed by a significant number of delegations. In connection with the work of the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues, it was noted, with disquiet, that it appeared to be the intention to provide in this biennium for only one session of the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues - an expert panel whose highly specialized work was essential to the progress of the work of the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues. A delegation from the region of Africa stated that the Codex Committees on Pesticide Residues and Food Additives were very important sources of information on these subjects.
87. One delegation from a developing country enquired whether the use of consultant services, which was now provided for in the re-structured budget for the Food Standards Programme in 1976/77 was as economical and as effective as having the work done through Codex Committees. The Secretariat explained that consultant services were needed to review and analyse the situation in the developing countries concerning the present state of food legislation and other aspects of food control infrastructure. The work of the consultants was complementary to the work of the Codex Committees, which were essentially inter-governmental negotiating bodies: it would provide a very important input into the regional inter-governmental Codex committees operating in the developing regions, but the business of reaching agreement on texts which would have implications for trade and consumer protection was a matter for discussion and negotiation in the Codex committees, both world-wide and regional. A number of delegations pointed to the value of specialized documents that could be prepared by consultants for consideration in Codex committees. A delegation from the region of Latin America stressed the need for ensuring that the budget for the Programme provided for the availability of all Codex documents in Spanish, pointing out that in some Codex committees the documents were available only in English and French.
88. A delegation from the region of Asia expressed disappointment at the fact that only one session of the Coordinating Committee for Asia had been provided for in the biennium.
89. The Deputy Director-General, who had been able to be present for only part of the discussions, indicated to the Commission that he would report to the Director-General on the views which had been expressed by the Commission, particularly in regard to its request that a full session of the Codex Committee on Food Labelling be held in this biennium.
90. The Assistant Director-General, Economic and Social Policy Department, FAO, who had been present for the entirety of the discussions on this subject, stated that he appreciated the opportunity to hear the views of delegations on this subject. He referred to the question by one developing country as to whether increased emphasis could be placed on the development of food control infrastructure without reducing the work of developing Codex standards and indicated that this could be achieved to a large extent if, within the overall reduction in the number of Codex meetings, the number of regional meetings was protected. This, in fact, was the approach of the Director-General. The Assistant Director-General interpreted the discussion in the Commission as giving priority to meetings of the Codex General Subject Committees and also of the Codex Regional Coordinating Committees.
91. In summing up, the Chairman expressed the appreciation of the Commission to the Deputy Director-General and the Assistant Director-General for having attended the Commission's discussions on this important subject. He indicated that the remarks of the Deputy Director-General, the Assistant Director-General ES and the Chief of the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme should be reflected in the report together with the views which had been expressed by the various delegations. The Chairman indicated that the following significant conclusions had emerged from the discussions:
Great value was attached to the work of the Codex Alimentarius Commission both in the developing countries and in the industrialized countries.
The costs falling on FAO and WHO in connection with the work of the Codex Alimentarius Commission were small in relation to the costs borne by Host Governments who chaired Codex Committees and Member Governments in general in following the work of the Commission and in implementing its recommendations.
The Commission in general had expressed concern that the budget for the Food Standards Programme for the current biennium had been reduced and at the lengthening of the period of time elapsing between Codex sessions.
Special importance had been attached by Members of the Commission to the work of the Codex General Subject Committees on Pesticide Residues, Food Labelling, Food Additives and Food Hygiene.
The Commission expressed concern at the slowing down effect of the reduced budget and reduced number of Codex meetings on the overall programme of work of the Commission.
The Commission recommended that provision should be made for a full session of the Codex Committee on Food Labelling in the present biennium. The session would be held in Canada and paid for by the Canadian Government. The only expenses falling on FAO would be the cost of secretariat travel to service the session and a modest amount of documentation in connection with the final report of the session. The Commission considered that the meeting of the Codex Committee on Food Labelling should not be at the expense of the meeting of the Codex Committee on Fish and Fishery Products.
The Commission considered that there was a need for Members of the Commission to ensure that delegates attending the forthcoming meetings of the FAO Council and the World Health Assembly were fully briefed on the views of the Commission, so that these views could be considered at those meetings of these two bodies.
92. The Commission subsequently noted with satisfaction that the Director-General had agreed to add a full session of the Codex Committee on Food Labelling to his proposals for Codex sessions in the current biennium, in addition to the 27 sessions already included.
CODEX COMMITTEE ON GENERAL PRINCIPLES
93. The Commission had before it the Report of the Fifth Session of the Codex Committee on General Principles (ALINORM 76/36), which was introduced by Mr. G. Weill (France), who had chaired the Committee's session. The Chairman of the Committee outlined the subject matters which had been considered at the session. As regards the question of whether criteria should be established for drawing a line of demarcation between meaningful acceptance and non-acceptance in relation to “Acceptance with Specified Deviations”, the Chairman of the Committee reported that those delegations which considered that there was a need for such criteria agreed that the criteria would be solely for the purpose of offering guidance to governments in choosing between acceptance with specified deviations and non-acceptance. A very full discussion of the arguments for and against the establishment of demarcation criteria, for the guidance of governments, ensued. In conclusion, there was general agreement in the Committee that the question of whether there might be problems arising from specified deviations could best be considered if the Secretariat were to prepare a document for the next session of the Committee, reviewing all acceptances with specified deviations. The Committee had instructed the Secretariat to draw up the document in such a way as to facilitate the reaching of a conclusion on whether, in the light of the nature of the deviations specified, there was a need to establish demarcation criteria for the guidance of governments. In this connection, it would be open to the Secretariat to put forward suggestions or recommendations to the Committee on the basis of an analysis of acceptances. There was also general agreement that the main thing at this stage was to obtain more responses from governments.
94. On the question of establishing criteria for determining when it is appropriate to publish in the codex Alimentarius a recommended Codex standard, the Chairman of the committee reported that the Committee had agreed that, in view of the number and the extent of acceptances received so far, it would be premature at this stage to contemplate the establishment of such criteria. The Committee had stressed that what was really essential was to have the maximum amount of information from governments regarding their response to and action on step 9 standards sent to them for acceptance. The Committee had noted that it was the intention of the Secretariat to consider how best to present regularly to governments information concerning acceptances.
95. The Chairman of the committee also reported on the discussions in the Committee concerning Recommendation No.82 of the UN Conference on Human Environment (Stockholm, June 1972), which, amongst other things, had requested the Codex Alimentarius Commission to develop a code of ethics for the international trade in food. This subject had also arisen at the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Regional conference for Asia, Bangkok, December 1975. There had been agreement in the Committee that the only really satisfactory way of ensuring proper consumer protection would be for the developing countries to establish or up-date their food laws and regulations and to set up or strengthen their food control facilities. However, because of the time required to achieve this, the Committee considered that the proposal to establish a Code of Ethics should be looked upon as a suggested interim measure of protection, pending the establishment of food control systems in countries at present lacking them. Thus the overwhelming view in the Committee was that the code should be proceeded with, even if at this stage some difficulties were foreseen and there was no agreement on the content or form it should take.
96. The Secretariat had indicated at the session that it would arrange, with funds provided by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), for a consultant to prepare a first draft of a code. The draft would be sent to Member Governments for their comments. The draft plus the comments would be considered by a working party, which the delegation of the Federal Republic of Germany had suggested be established. The working Party would meet for the first two days of the next session of the Committee. The recommendation of the working party would be reviewed in plenary by the Committee. It had been recognized that it would be advantageous if arrangements could be made to have also the views of the Regional Codex Co-ordinating Committees on the draft code.
97. The Chairman of the Committee also reported on the Committee's consideration of proposals which had been submitted by the French delegation regarding format and possible types of Codex standards. The Committee had thought that the idea of greater flexibility in the format of codex standards, as had been suggested by the delegation of france, was one which Codex Commodity Committees should have regard to when embarking upon new subjects or encountering a complex problem as a result of adhering too rigidly to the format for Codex standards in the Procedural Manual. As regards the question of possible types of Codex standards, the committee had thought the proposals of france valuable in the evolution of the work of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. However, the Committee had recalled that the Commission had given considerable thought to different concepts of codex standards and the commission had finally concluded that the present concept of codex standards had, in general, proved to be more acceptable to Members of the commission.
98. The Chairman of the Committee reported that the Secretariat had been requested to prepare for the Committee's next session a brief, concise paper on the foregoing matters which might be of assistance to Commodity Committees.
99. The Chairman of the Committee reported that the Committee had given consideration to a number of important issues which had been raised by the delegation of Denmark in connection with paragraph 4.A.1 of the General Principles of the Codex Alimentarius concerning the expression “Name and description laid down in the standard”. The Secretariat had been requested to review, in consultation with the legal officers of FAO and WHO, the matters which had been raised by the delegation of Denmark. The Secretariat paper would be submitted to the Executive Committee for consideration, and the Executive Committee could then, after review, decide to refer the matter either to the Codex Committee on General Principles or to the Commission directly.
100. The Commission endorsed the various proposed actions of the Committee, as had been reported on by the Chairman of the Committee. As regards flexibility in the format of Codex Standards the Commission took note of the comment of the Chairman of the Codex Committee on Fish and Fishery Products that a certain flexibility which that Committee had found useful to introduce in the standards it was developing, might be of interest to other Commodity Committees. As regards the forms which had been devised by the Secretariat to facilitate governments in replying on acceptances, the Commission noted a suggestion that the experience of other international organizations in devising similar kinds of forms might be useful. The Commission also noted a statement from the Secretariat that steps would be taken to recruit a consultant to commence work on the draft code of ethics.
101. The Executive Committee, at its Twenty First Session, had considered that there was a need to introduce greater flexibility into the procedure for the amendment of step 9 standards, in order to deal more expeditiously with editorial amendments and amendments which, though substantive, were of a consequential nature. The Executive Committee had referred this matter to the Codex Committee on General Principles. On the basis of proposals of the Secretariat which had been drafted in consultation with the Legal Advisers of FAO and WHO, the Codex Committee on General Principles had recommended to the Commission, for adoption, the following amendments.
Amendment proposed to paragraph 5 of the Introduction to the “Procedure for the Elaboration of Codex Standards and Codes of Practice, Codex Maximum Limits for Pesticide Residues, Codex Specifications for the Identity and Purity of Food Additives” as set forth in the Procedural Manual of the Codex Alimentarius Commission
(words underlined below added to existing text)
“It will be for the Commission itself to keep under review … may be omitted. The Commission may also decide to omit any other step or steps of that Procedure where, in its opinion, an amendment proposed by a Codex Committee is either of an editorial nature or of a substantive nature but consequential to provisions in similar standards adopted by the Commission at Step 8”.
Proposed Amendment to paragraph 2 of the “Guide to the Procedure for the Revision and Amendment of Recommended Codex Standards” as set forth in the Procedural Manual of the Codex Alimentarius Commission
(words underlined below added to existing text)
“Taking into account such information … by the sponsoring Codex Committee. In the case of an amendment proposed by a Codex Committee, it will also be open to the Commission to adopt the amendment at Step 5 or Step 8 as appropriate, where in its opinion the amendment is either of an editorial nature or of a substantive nature but consequential to provisions in similar standards adopted by it at Step 8”.
Procedure for the Amendment of Step 9 Standards
102. The delegation of the U.S.A. referred to the decision of the Commission to amend the above Procedure in such a way as to provide greater flexibility in dealing with editorial or consequential, although substantive, changes to Step 9 standards (see para 101). The delegation of the U.S.A. enquired as to whether the amendment referred to above also applied to the Procedure for the Elaboration of Milk and Milk Product Standards. The Secretariat stated that it was its understanding that the amendment in question applied across the board and therefore to the Procedure for the Elaboration of Milk and Milk Product Standards.
Confirmation of Chairmanship
103. The Commission confirmed under Rule IX.10 that the Codex Committee on General Principles should continue to be under the chairmanship of the Government of France.
CODEX COMMITTEE ON FOOD LABELLING
104. The Commission had before it the reports of the Tenth Session (ALINORM 76/22) and the Eleventh Session (ALINORM 76/22A) of the Codex Committee on Food Labelling which were held in 1975 and 1976 respectively. The reports were introduced by the Chairman of the Committee, Mr. H.W. Wagner (Canada) who pointed out that the Eleventh Session of the Committee had been limited to only two days.
105. The Commission was informed that the Food Labelling Committee at its Tenth Session had considered and endorsed the labelling provisions of 14 commodity standards which were at Step 8 of the Procedure. The Committee had further discussed several documents, including those dealing with claims, nutritional labelling of foods, labelling of bulk containers and location and use of class names for food additives. It had agreed to reconsider the first three subjects in the light of further government comments and had specifically requested information on them from governments for its next full session.
106. Recognizing the importance attached to the subject of date marking and the desirability of providing clear guidance on this matter to Codex Commodity Committees in the near future, the Draft Guidelines for Date Marking of Prepackaged Foods in the labelling provisions of Codex commodity standards had been considered at both sessions of the Committee.
107. The Canadian Secretariat, taking into account further government comments, had revised the text of the Guidelines as set out in Appendix III of ALINORM 76/22. The revised document was presented to the 11th Session of the Committee as LIM 1 to CX/FL 76/2.
108. The Commission discussed the decision of the majority of the Labelling Committee to request the Commission to authorize distribution of the Guidelines to Member Governments and Commodity Committees following finalization of the document in the light of further government comments at the Twelth Session of the Labelling Committee (ALINORM 76/22A, para 92).
109. The reservations of some delegations to the Eleventh Session of the Committee with respect to this matter were also brought to the attention of the Commission. These delegations held the view that the request was tantamount to asking for preapproval by the Commission at this session of the Guidelines which are expected to be finalized at the Twelfth Session of the Labelling Committee (ALINORM 76/22A, para 93).
110. Some delegations attached great importance to the Guidelines being available to Commodity Committees as soon as possible, in order to promote the inclusion of harmonized date-marking provisions in the various standards presently under elaboration. However, other delegations held the view that the net effect of the proposed accelerated procedure would not be sufficiently substantive to warrant a departure from established procedures of the Commission. Some concern was expressed that a precedent might be set for the future with regard to other documents containing guidelines drawn up by General Subject Committees for use by Commodity Committees. It was considered essential that the Commission should always review such guidelines prior to their distribution to Commodity Committees.
111. The Commission agreed with a ruling of the Chairman that the Guidelines should be presented to the Commission subsequent to finalization by the Food Labelling Committee at its next session.
112. The Commission agreed that Commodity Committees should, where appropriate, incorporate date marking provisions into standards.
113. The Commission noted that the Committee had discussed in detail the date marking provisions incorporated into the three standards at step 8 elaborated by the Codex Committee on Foods for Special Dietary Uses. After some amendments, these provisions were endorsed conditionally pending the decision of the Commission concerning the status of the document on date marking. It was agreed to discuss this matter further when considering the standards in detail (see paras 343–344 and 349). All other labelling provisions of these standards had been endorsed.
114. The Commission further noted that at the 11th Session of the Labelling Committee, in addition to the three standards noted above, the labelling provisions of seven other standards at step 8 of the Procedure had been discussed and, with some amendments, had been endorsed.
115. The Commission was informed that two Commodity Committees had proposed to include, in certain standards, in the sub-section on Styles a provision for “other presentations”. It was pointed out that, as a result, consequential changes might be required in the labelling provisions of certain standards, the labelling sections of which had been endorsed at the 10th Session of the Labelling Committee and which would be at Step 8 before this session of the Commission. This matter would be brought up during discussion on the various standards (see also paras 274 to 281, /323–325 of this Report).
Confirmation of Chairmanship
116. The Commission confirmed under Rule IX.10 that the Codex Committee on Food Labelling should continue to be under the chairmanship of the Government of Canada.
CODEX COMMITTEE ON FOOD ADDITIVES
117. In introducing the report (ALINORM 76/12 and Corrigenda), the Chairman of the Codex Committee on Food Additives Dr. G.F. Wilmink (Netherlands) drew the attention of the Commission to the work in progress within the Committee. He expressed satisfaction that the conclusions of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives had been made available in good time to the 10th Session of the Codex Committee on Food Additives. In order to expedite work on the potential intake of food additives - information which was essential for the endorsement of food additive provisions - an informal Working Group had been set up with Belgium acting as rapporteur. The Committee had also found it necessary to constitute an ad hoc Working Group, with Netherlands acting as rapporteur, to consider the question of natural, nature-identical and artificial flavouring substances. This Working Group would consider such basic questions as whether some flavouring substances should be considered food ingredients or food additives.
118. Dr. Wilmink drew the attention of the Commission to some difficulties in connection with the exact meaning of some food additive provisions, especially where the additives interacted with food or otherwise underwent changes in the food. It was necessary in some cases for Codex Commodity Committees to be more specific when proposing such food additive provisions by indicating appropriate analytical parameters and methods of analysis on the basis of which the provisions could be checked for compliance. The Commission agreed that attention should be given to this question and requested the Secretariat to bring this matter to the attention of Commodity Committees. The Commission was also informed of the endorsement of a number of food additive provisions in Codex standards, notably in draft standards for foods for infants and children, and of an advisory list of additives in soft drinks under elaboration on the basis of a Canadian paper.
119. The Codex Committee on Food Additives also had under consideration a draft standard for the labelling of food additives when sold as such and an ad hoc Working Group, with the United Kingdom acting as rapporteur, had been set up to prepare a revised document in the light of government comments on the draft standard. The Committee had also drawn up a list of food additives pending evaluation by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (List B). When finalized on the basis of government comments and information from interested international organizations, this list would serve for the guidance of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives.
Specifications for Food Additives
120. The Commission had before it a number of specifications for the identity and purity of food additives (ALINORM 76/41) at Step 5 of the Procedure for the Establishment of Food Additive Specifications. It noted that the specifications were generally acceptable and that they were considered by the Codex Committee on Food Additives as suitable for adoption by the Commission as recommended Codex specifications. This was all the more so as they had been revised by the 18th meeting of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives and had further been improved by the Codex Committee on Food Additives through slight amendments on the basis of comments received from governments. These changes had no bearing on the validity of the toxicological assessment by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives. The Commission adopted the specifications at Step 5 of the Procedure for the Elaboration of Codex Specifications for the Identity and Purity of Food Additives and requested the Secretariat to publish them as a first series of International Recommended Specifications for Food Additives.
Principle relating to the Carry-Over of Additives into Foods
121. The Commission had before it the above Principle contained in Appendix IV, ALINORM 76/12, which had been reconsidered by the Codex Committee on Food Additives in the light of comments, on the recommendation of the 10th Session of the Commission. The Commission noted that the Carry-Over Principle did not deal with the question of the label declaration of additives carried over into foods from the use of ingredients and agreed that this matter should be brought to the attention of the Codex Committee on Food Labelling. On the recommendation of the Codex Committee on Food Additives, the Commission endorsed the Carry-Over Principle as a guide for Codex Commodity Committees when preparing Codex standards.
Changes to the Status of Endorsement of Food Additive Provisions in Step 9 Codex Standards
122. The Commission noted that, on the basis of the conclusions of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives, the endorsement of a number of provisions for food additives in Step 9 standards had been modified by the Codex Committee on Food Additives. This meant that while some temporary endorsements had been confirmed, others had been withdrawn, necessitating the deletions of certain food additives previously provided for in Step 9 standards. The Commission agreed that there was no need to follow the Amendment Procedure and requested the Secretariat to issue appropriate corrigenda to the Step 9 standards concerned. The Commission also noted that, in the case of additives which, on the basis of the findings of experts, constituted a hazard to health, governments would be informed without delay through the appropriate mechanism set up in WHO.
Provisions for Contaminants in Codex Standards
123. The Commission noted the concern of the Codex Committee on Food Additives that while some Codex standards contained provisions for contaminants, other Codex standards did not. This was mainly due to a lack of data on the basis of which maximum levels for contaminants could be proposed by Codex Commodity Committees. The Commission was informed that the Joint FAO/WHO Food Contamination Monitoring Programme might generate data on the basis of which it would be possible to judge what, if any, provisions should be included for contaminants in Codex standards. The representative of WHO informed the Commission that all necessary information arising from the above Joint Programme would be made available to the Commission. The view was expressed by the delegation of Poland that all standards, including Step 9 standards, should be reviewed with the aim of making recommendations for maximum levels of contaminants. In this respect the Commission noted that national monitoring programmes would also yield useful information. The commission requested the Secretariat to bring this matter to the attention of Codex Commodity Committees.
Confirmation of Chairmanship
124. The Commission confirmed under Rule IX.10 that the Codex Committee on Food Additives should continue to be under the chairmanship of the Government of the Netherlands.
CODEX COMMITTEE ON FOOD HYGIENE
125. The Commission had before it the reports of the 11th (1974) and 12th (1975) sessions of the above committee (ALINORM 76/13 and ALINORM 76/13A) and government comments (ALINORM 76/42-Part V). The Rapporteur, Dr. R.W. Weik (USA), introduced the two reports.
Consideration of the Draft Code of Hygienic Practice for Poultry Processing at Step 8 (ALINORM 76/13, Appendix II)
126. The Rapporteur proposed three amendments to the text of the Draft Code. These were:
- Sub-section IV.A 3(b) “Water supply”
The sentence beginning “Where in-plant chlorination of water is used …”, should be preceded by the sentence: “The appropriate authority may permit in-plant chlorination of water if this is necessary for public health reasons”.
- Sub-section IV.C 4 “Personnel Health”
Instead of text contained in the General Principles of Food Hygiene (IV.C 4), the relevant subsection from the Draft Code of Hygienic Practice for Fresh Meat (ALINORM 76/15, Appendix II “Hygiene Health of Personnel”, para 36 a, b and c), should be inserted.
- Sub-section IV.D 3(b)(i) “General Cooling Requirements”
To the last sentence the following should be added: “in as far as this temperature is approved by the controlling authority which shall nevertheless ensure that necessary measures are taken to control microbiological growth”.
127. The delegations of France and Italy emphasized the importance of including provisions for the initial and periodic control of the health of personnel. The Commission decided, however, not to include wording to this effect in the text.
128. The Rapporteur proposed to substitute the present mixture of Roman/Arabic notation with an homogeneous system of decimal referencing.
129. The Commission agreed to the various amendments proposed by the Rapporteur and also to the proposal of the delegation of France for some minor rewording to clarify the French text.
Status of the Code of Hygienic Practice for Poultry Processing
130. The Commission adopted, as a Recommended Code, the Draft Code of Hygienic Practice for Poultry Processing at Step 8 of the Procedure.
Consideration of the Draft Code of Hygienic Practice for Egg Products at Step 8
131. The Rapporteur pointed out that there had been considerable discussion in the Committee on the substantive points raised in the written comments (ALINORM 76/42-Part V) received from governments and proposed that the editorial changes suggested could be worked out by the Secretariat in cooperation with the Chairman of the Committee. This would include harmonization of the referencing system with that of the previous Code. The Commission agreed to this.
Status of the Code of Hygienic Practice for Egg Products
132. The Commission adopted as a Recommended Code the Draft Code of Hygienic Practice for Egg Products at Step 8 of the Procedure.
Consideration of the Proposed Draft Code of Hygienic Practice for Molluscan Shellfish at Step 5 (ALINORM 76/13A, Appendix VI)
133. The Rapporteur referred to the discussion in the Committee on the status of the Code and pointed out that several delegations had been of the opinion that the advanced state of the proposed draft code warranted a recommendation to the Commission to omit Steps 6 and 7 (ALINORM 76/18A, para 69). Several delegations held the view that the Code should await consideration by the Codex Committee on Fish and Fishery Products and subsequent re-examination by the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene.
Status of the Code
134. Since there had been some dissent from the proposal to omit Steps 6 and 7, the Commission decided to advance the proposed draft Code of Practice to Step 6 of the Procedure.
Matters arising from the reports of the 11th and 12th Sessions of the Committee. Terms of Reference of the Committee
135. The Commission noted that the Committee, following discussion at its 12th Session (ALINORM 76/13A, para 32) had sought the advice of the Executive Committee about its future role in certain matters. In particular it wished to know
whether all hygiene provisions included in codes of practice being elaborated by Codex Commodity Committees should be referred to it for endorsement; and
whether, in view of its increasing activity in the area of microbiological specifications, it should be the body to advise on and ultimately to endorse microbiological specifications for food and associated methodology.
136. The Commission further noted that the Executive Committee (ALINORM 76/4, paras 21–25) had agreed that it was clear, both from a previous decision of the Commission and the action of Codex Commodity Committees themselves, that hygiene matters in codes of practice should be referred to the Food Hygiene Committee. Furthermore it was clear that it was the responsibility of the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene to approve all provisions on food hygiene, whether in standards or codes of practice, including microbiological specifications and associated methodology.
137. The Commission agreed with the recommendation of the Executive Committee (ALINORM 76/4, para 25) that in order to remove any doubts concerning the role of the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene, the Terms of Reference of the Food Hygiene Committee be amended as follows (words underlined added):
to draft basic provisions on food hygiene applicable to all foods;
(i) to consider, amend if necessary, and endorse provisions on hygiene prepared by Codex Commodity Committees and contained in Codex Commodity Standards, and (ii) to consider, amend if necessary, and endorse provisions on hygiene prepared by Codex Commodity Committees and contained in Codex codes of practice unless, in specific cases, the Commission has decided otherwise, or (iii) to draft provisions on hygiene in respect of a particular food commodity within the terms of reference of a Codex commodity committee at the request of that Committee;
to draft, where necessary, provisions on hygiene in respect of any food not assigned to any Codex Commodity Committee;
to consider specific hygiene problems assigned to it by the Commission.
Note: The term “hygiene” includes, where necessary, microbiological specifications for food and associated methodology”.
138. The Rapporteur drew the attention of the Commission to the opinion of the Committee that, when examining the hygiene provisions of codes of practice, technological and hygienic requirements were often difficult to separate and required expert technical advice. The Commission agreed therefore that it was desirable to have representation from Commodity Committees when hygienic provisions of codes relevant to their work were being examined by the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene.
139. The delegation of Sweden asked the representative of WHO if the revision, mentioned in para 99 of ALINORM 76/13 of the WHO publication “Guide to Hygiene in International Flight” had taken place and if this Guide, in a satisfactory way, covered the hygienic problems of food handling in connection with catering in long distance transport, especially air flights. The representative of WHO replied that a revised version of the publication was expected this year and that the Guide also covered food hygiene aspects in connection with international flights.
Confirmation of Chairmanship
140. The Commission confirmed under Rule IX.10 that the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene should continue to be under the chairmanship of the Government of the U.S.A.
REPORT OF THE AD HOC CONSULTATION ON PESTICIDES IN AGRICULTURE AND PUBLIC HEALTH
141. The Commission had before it an extract from the report of the above Ad Hoc Consultation (AGP: 1975/M/3) and also an extract from the report of the 9th Session of the FAO Committee of Experts on Pesticides in Agriculture (AGP: 1975/M/4). As the business arising from these two meetings was covered under the item dealing with the report of the 8th Session of the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues, the Commission agreed to consider matters of interest arising from the above two reports under the item dealing with the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues (see para 160).
CODEX COMMITTEE ON PESTICIDE RESIDUES
142. The Commission had before it the report of the 8th session of the above Committee (ALINORM 76/24 and corrigenda) together with some 180 proposed maximum limits for pesticide residues. In introducing the report, the Chairman of the Committee, Ir. A.J. Pieters, drew the Commission's attention to work in progress in the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues. Apart from the normal work of recommending maximum limits for pesticide residues in food, the Committee was elaborating a practical sampling procedure which defined the Codex maximum residue limits in relation to the lot.
143. The Committee had also examined the relationship between itself and the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues, an expert body sponsored jointly by the Plant Production and Protection Division of FAO and the Food Additives Unit of WHO, and had concluded that no fundamental changes were necessary in the relationship of these bodies. However, the Committee had urged FAO and WHO to give every possible consideration to strengthening the resources available to the Joint Meeting and to the Codex Secretariat. The Committee had also recommended that the planned FAO Conference on Pesticides in Agriculture should consider the operations and needs of the Joint Meeting as a matter of special concern.
144. The Committee had also suggested that the publication of the reports and monographs of the Joint Meeting should be speeded up as they served as the basis on which the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues made its recommendations. The Chairman of the Committee then referred to the scheduling of sessions of the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues in the 1976/77 biennium and expressed the opinion that, in view of the importance of the work of the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues, it would be necessary to hold two sessions in that biennium instead of only one provided for. (For further discussions on this point, see paras 86, 159–160).
Maximum Residue Limits at Step 8
145. The Commission had before it a number of maximum limits at Step 8 of the Procedure, as contained in ALINORM 76/24, Appendix II, and government comments thereon, as given in ALINORM 76/42-Part X.
146. The delegation of the Netherlands drew the Commission's attention to its written proposals to amend a number of maximum residue limits recommended by the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues (see ALINORM 76/42-Part X). As regards diphenylamine, the delegation of the Netherlands was of the opinion that this pesticide should be re-evaluated toxicologically by the Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues. The Commission agreed that this matter should be referred to the Joint Meeting for possible re-evaluation in the light of any new toxicological information.
147. As regards the proposed maximum limits for endosulfan residues in fruit and vegetables, the delegations of Italy and France were of the opinion that the limits were too high and should be reduced to 0.5 mg/kg. The delegations of Belgium, the Netherlands, the Federal Republic of Germany and Switzerland were in support of the above proposal. On the suggestion of the delegation of the Netherlands, the Commission agreed to include a footnote against the various limits at Step 8 under item 33 indicating that they were at or about the limit of determination.
148. The delegation of the Federal Republic of Germany was of the opinion that the limit for fentin in carrots (item 40.3) should be reduced to 0.1 mg/kg. The delegation of the Netherlands was of the opinion that the limit for hexachlorobenzene in the various carcase meats (items 44.1 to 44.5) should be reduced to 0.5 mg/kg (in the carcase fat), and that the limit for the same residue in cereals (item 44.9) should be reduced to 0.01 mg/kg. In the opinion of that delegation, the limit for cyhexatin in apples and pears (items 67.1 and 67.2) should be lowered to 1 mg/kg.
149. The Commission noted the following errors affecting Step 8 standards: item 57.3 should read 0.05 mg/kg, the maximum level being at or about the limit of determination; item 12.33 should read 0.05 mg/kg, on a fat basis; item 13.13 should be changed to “fat of cattle …” and a new item should be added under item 61 - Phosphamidon, i.e. “Peaches 0.2 mg/kg”.
Status of the Maximum Residue Limits
150. The Commission noted that the 1975 Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues had changed the maximum residue limits for chlordimeform in pears from 5 mg/kg to 10 mg/kg and the maximum residue limits for chlorobenzilate in apples from 2 mg/kg to 5 mg/kg. The Commission decided that these limits be returned to Step 6 of the Procedure. As the proposals, either from the floor or on the basis of written comments, to change a number of the maximum residue limits at Step 8 did not receive sufficient support, the Commission adopted them, with the exception of the maximum residue limits above, at Step 8 of the Procedure as Recommended International Maximum Residue Limits.
Amendments to Maximum Residue Limits at Step 9
151. The Commission had before it amendments at Step 5 proposed by the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues to a number of maximum residue limits at Step 9 of the Procedure. The Commission noted that the Committee had recommended that the remaining steps should be omitted as the proposed amendments were not controversial. The Commission adopted the proposed amendments at Step 5, also agreed that Steps 6 and 7 be omitted, and adopted them at Step 8 (see items 12.1–12.9, Appendix II, ALINORM 76/24).
Maximum Residue Limits at Step 5
152. The Commission had before it a number of maximum residue limits at Step 5 of the Procedure, as contained in document ALINORM 76/24, Appendix II, and noted that for items 49.34 and 49.35 (malathion 8 mg/kg in dried beans and 8 mg/kg in lentils) the Committee had recommended the omission of the remaining steps as the maximum limits were not controversial. The Commission adopted the proposed maximum residue limits at Step 5, also decided to omit Steps 6 and 7, and adopted them at Step 8. The delegation of the Federal Republic of Germany was not in agreement with the omission of the steps.
153. As regards the other maximum residue limits at Step 5 of the Procedure, the Commission did not discuss them in any detail. However, the following corrections were noted to the maximum residue limits at Step 5:
The Commission advanced these maximum residue limits to Step 6.
154. The delegation of Canada questioned whether, in view of the heavy workload, the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues should deal with maximum residue limits in animal feeds. In reply, it was pointed out that the Joint Meeting recommended maximum residue limits in those animal feeds which could lead to residues in animal products such as meat and milk and that it was up to the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues to decide whether such recommendations should be taken up in the Codex Procedure. The Chairman of the Committee indicated that this question had been discussed by the Committee, which had found it useful to recommend maximum residue limits in animal feeds in some cases.
155. The delegations of the Netherlands, Federal Republic of Germany and Switzerland were of the opinion that the maximum residue limits for carbaryl were too high and would cause difficulties as regards their acceptance. The delegation of France stated that the maximum residue limits were, in general, too high, and that this was particularly so in the case of carbaryl.
156. The delegation of Japan informed the Commission that endrin was not permitted in that country. It further pointed out that daily intakes calculated for captan, chlordane, chlordimeform, endosulfan, fentin and paraquat using Japanese food intake data, exceeded the acceptable daily intake established by the Joint Meeting. The delegation of Japan was requested to make the information available to the Secretariat together with the method used to calculate maximum daily intakes.
Non-substantive changes to maximum residue limits at Step 9
157. The Commission considered the following non-substantive changes proposed by the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues to maximum residue limits at Step 9 of the Procedure:
Item 25 - delete “including, where present, dichloroacetaldehyde” as this metabolite was not considered to be significant;
Item 27.1 - delete “including citrus fruit” as such fruit was included in the class of tree fruits;
|Items 1.7||Reexpress these items in the appropriate Step 9 publication as shown in Appendix II, ALINORM 76/24|
|22.5 – 22.7|
|28.2 – 28.5|
|48.4 – 48.7|
158. The Commission agreed that these changes need not follow the Codex amendment procedure and requested the Secretariat to issue appropriate corrigenda or to make the necessary corrections when re-issuing publications containing the recommended Codex maximum residue limits.
Scheduling of sessions of the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues
159. Following the statement made by the Chairman of the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues concerning the need to hold two sessions of the Committee during the biennium 1976/77 (see para 144), the delegation of the Netherlands read a draft resolution for consideration by the Commission, aimed at ensuring annual meetings of the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues and the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues and at strengthening the Secretariats of these two bodies. The delegation of U.S.A., supported by the delegations of France, Australia, Senegal, U.K., Canada, New Zealand, the Federal Republic of Germany, Norway, Nigeria, Sudan, Ghana, Poland and Sweden, and the representative of IOCU, expressed its strong support of the objectives of the Netherlands draft resolution. The delegation of Gabon, while not questioning the importance of the Commission's work on pesticide residues, noted that the ever increasing number of FAO meetings made effective participation by governments in all those meetings difficult. The Secretariat pointed out that it had proposed the scheduling of only one session of the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues in the 1976/77 biennium prior to the Resolution of the FAO Conference concerning meetings in general. The Secretariat had made this proposal in order to permit adequate preparations to be made for the Ninth Session of the Committee and only after having ascertained that the momentum of the Committee's work would not be impaired.
160. The delegations speaking in support of the Netherlands' draft resolution stressed the importance of pesticides in the production of food and, hence, the need to agree internationally on maximum residue limits in food so as to protect the health of the consumer and, by harmonizing legislation concerning pesticide residues, facilitate international trade. In view of these considerations and of current interest in questions of environmental pollution affecting food, these delegations concluded that a reduction of the momentum of work of the Codex Committee and of the Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues would be very regrettable. The Commission agreed to express its views on this matter in the terms set forth in the statement set out hereunder and requested that the attention of the Directors-General be drawn specifically to this statement.
“ The Codex Alimentarius Commission stressed the world-wide importance of arriving at international agreement on maximum limits for residues of pesticides used to increase food and fibre production, as such international agreement would not only protect the health of the consumer throughout the world, but would, at the same time, facilitate international trade. In recommending internationally acceptable maximum limits for pesticide residues, the Commission underlined the important role the FAO/WHO Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues was playing in supplying the necessary scientific data to the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues.
The Commission noted the recommendations of the 8th Session of the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues, Resolution X. of the ad hoc FAO Government Consultation on Pesticides in Agriculture and Public Health (AGP: 1975/M/3) and the recommendations of the 9th Session of the FAO Committee of Experts on Pesticides in Agriculture (AGP: 1975/M/4), all of which stressed the importance of strengthening the the resources available to the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues and to the Codex Secretariat. It also noted that the 18th Session of the FAO Conference had stressed the importance of the FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme and had emphasized the need for FAO and WHO to give greater support to these activities (C 75/REP).
Taking into account the above considerations and also the large amount of work to be performed in the field of maximum residue limits for pesticides and the continuing nature of this work, the Commission noted with regret the proposed scheduling of only one session of the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues in the 1976/77 biennium and stressed that annual sessions be planned for 1978/79. The plans to hold only one Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues were not consistent with the statements made above and the Commission requested the Directors-General of FAO and WHO to consider whether two sessions could be provided for in 1976/77 in the proposals to be submitted to the next World Health Assembly and FAO Council.
The Commission, therefore, requested the Directors-General of FAO and WHO to take such steps as would ensure in future annual meetings of the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues and of the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues.”
Confirmation of Chairmanship
161. The Commission confirmed under Rule IX.10 that the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues should continue to be under the chairmanship of the Government of the Netherlands.
CODEX COMMITTEE ON METHODS OF ANALYSIS AND SAMPLING
162. The Commission had before it the Report of the 9th Session of the above Committee (ALINORM 76/23) which was introduced by Dr. J. Kanizsay as representative of the Hungarian National Codex Committee.
163. The Commission noted that two items of the agenda of the Committee's 9th Session “Endorsement of Methods of Analysis and Sampling proposed by the Commodity Committees”, and “Sampling for the Determination of Net Contents”, had been dealt with by working groups appointed by the Committee.
Methods of Analysis
164. With regard to methods of analysis, it was pointed out that the Committee was placing a great deal of importance on collaborative studies, preferably on an international scale, for a wide range of foods before accepting them as general referee methods.
165. As a good example of such methods, the Commission noted that a potentiometric end point titration for the determination of total chlorides in foods, which had been collaboratively studied by 12 laboratories, had been endorsed by the Committee for use in Infant Foods, Processed Vegetable Products and Table Olives and had now been advanced as a General Referee Method for the Determination of Chlorides (calculated as Sodium Chloride) in Foods, to Step 5 of the Procedure.
166. The Commission agreed to advance the method to Step 6.
167. The Commission also noted that the Committee had endorsed a general method for the determination of crude fat.
168. The delegation of Thailand pointed out that fat could become bound to soya protein during processing, and asked whether the method endorsed could determine total crude fat including that associated with protein in baby foods. The Secretariat took note of this question and undertook to seek further information on the point.
169. The Commission also noted the observations of the delegation of Thailand that in the Standards for Canned Baby Foods, Infant Formula and Processed Cereal-based Foods for Infants and Children, which had been adopted at Step 8, a method for the determination of linoleic acid was not yet available.
Sampling for the determination of net content
170. The Committee noted the report of the Working Group (ALINORM 76/23, Appendix III), which had discussed the definition of net contents in terms of the lot. The Working Group had attempted to reconcile two divergent points of view by proposing a “Moderate Acceptance Plan”, the technical details of which were to be worked out for examination at the next session of the Committee. On completion of its work, it was expected that Commodity Committees would be asked to examine the “Moderate Acceptance Plan” in terms of the products for which they were developing standards.
171. The representative of ISO pointed out that Technical Committee 34 (TC 34) had tried for a number of years to resolve sampling problems. A joint meeting of representatives of AOAC/CODEX/ISO had taken place in Budapest in October which discussed areas where liaison between the three organizations could usefully be achieved. He advised the Commission that a meeting of Working Group TC/34 was planned for early May which all interested delegates could attend.
Role of Referee Methods
172. Several delegations drew attention to the role of reference methods as presently defined with regard to the needs of the Commodity Committees.
173. It was pointed out that in the setting up of specifications for Standards, methods of analysis were needed which were not necessarily suitable as referee methods and that, by contrast, referee methods were often sophisticated and not necessarily suitable for routine work. The question was also raised as to whether there was not a danger of duplication of work of this Committee with for example some aspects of the activities of the Joint FAO/WHO/UNEP Food Contamination Monitoring Programme under whose auspices an ad hoc Expert Consultation on Methods of Analysis and Sampling of Contaminants in Food had taken place early this year. It was pointed out by the Secretariat that this Consultation had dealt specifically with methods of analysis for contaminants (mercury, lead, cadmium, organochlorines including PCBs, and aflatoxin) and that in this respect their work was complementary to that of the committee.
174. The Commission requested the Secretariat to prepare a paper for consideration by the Executive Committee reviewing the types of Codex methods of sampling and analysis being elaborated and setting out any questions relating to the Procedure for their elaboration and the significance of their acceptance by Governments.
Confirmation of Chairmanship
175. The Commission confirmed under Rule IX.10 that the Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling should continue to be under the chairmanship of the Government of Hungary.