Editorial Amendments to the General Standard for the Labelling of Prepackaged Foods
194. The Commission agreed to replace in Section 188.8.131.52 the term “flour improver” by the term “flour treatment agents” since flour improvers covered only a part of the substances used to treat flour.
The Commission also adopted, as an editorial amendment, the introduction of a footnote to Section 4.3.3 - Drained weight indicating that the drained weight declaration should be related to the compliance with an average quantity control system.
Editorial Amendments to the Guidelines on Labelling Provisions in Codex Standards
195. The Committee had also proposed to amend Section 5.3 of the Guidelines dealing with non-retail containers by including into the preamble reference to Section 8.1.3 of the General Labelling Standard to take care of clear shrink wraps. Furthermore it had proposed a footnote indicating that Codex committees should determine in individual standards to which types of non-retail containers these labelling provisions should apply. After a discussion on whether the footnote should make such a consideration optional the Commission adopted the two above amendments as proposed by the Committee and requested the Secretariat to make the appropriate changes in the Procedural Manual.
Confirmation of Chairmanship of the Committee
196. 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
197. The Commission had before it the reports of the 18th and 19th Sessions of the Codex Committee on Food Additives (ALINORMs 87/12 and 87/12A). The reports were introduced by Mr A. Feberwee (Netherlands), Chairman of the Committee.
198. Mr Feberwee informed the Commission that the Committee, in addition to endorsement of provisions for food additives and contaminants in commodity standards, was carrying out work on the following subjects:
and introduced the matters arising from the two reports of the Codex Committee on Food Additives that were of interest to the Commission.
Misleading Information Concerning the Use of Food Additives in Food
199. A number of delegations informed the Commission of their deep concern about misleading information on food additives in food being given to consumers. They referred to the efforts of their governments in making documentation available to the public to counteract such misleading information and expressed the view that a positive statement or the extensive circulation of a brochure prepared by the Commission or the international organizations would help in this regard.
200. The Commission recognized that the responsibility for providing adequate information to its subjects on the safety of food additives lies with the countries and that international organizations, including the Commission, can only assist countries to achieve their task.
201. The Commission noted that the documents of Codex and the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food additives (JECFA) provided adequate information on the safe use of food additives and that governments could use this information in an appropriate way. The Commission was aware of certain brochures and pamphlets prepared by some governments in this regard and asked the Regional Coordinating Committee for Europe to study the different documentation at its next session and to consider a coordinated approach.
Maximum Tin Content in Foods
202. The delegation of Thailand brought to the attention of the Commission recent research carried out in Thailand and other parts of the world which had shown that consumption of canned food containing 250 mg tin/kg had not resulted in any adverse symptoms in human volunteers, and asked the Commission to recommend to FAO and WHO that the subject of acute toxicity of tin be considered by JECFA at its next meeting.
203. The Commission was informed that the subject of acute toxicity of tin was on the agenda for the thirty-third meeting of JECFA, to be held in March 1988.
Regular Reviews of Food Additive Provisions in Codex Standards
(ALINORM 87/12A, paragraph 25)
204. The Commission noted that the Codex Committee on Food Additives had agreed in principle with the need to institute a system of regular reviews of the food additive provisions in Codex Standards as proposed by the Codex Committee on General Principles.
Consideration at Step 5 of the Revised Text of the Principles Relating to the Carry-Over of Food Additives into Food (ALINORM 87/12 Appendix IX)
205. The Committee at its 18th Session had finalized the text of the Principles relating to the Carry-Over of Food Additives into Food and advanced the text to Step 5 with a recommendation for the omission of Steps 6 and 7.
206. The Principles relating to the Carry-Over of Food Additives into Food were discussed and adopted as final texts both at the 11th (ALINORM 76/44, para 121) and the 13th (ALINORM 79/38, paras 154–156) Sessions of the Codex Alimentarius Commission with the result that the texts were located in two reports. The object of the redraft finalized by the 18th Session of the Committee was to combine the various texts adopted by the Commission into a single consolidated statement, which would be more suitable for inclusion in that section of Codex Alimentarius devoted to food additives.
Status of the Carry-Over Principles
207. The Commission adopted the redrafted Carry-Over Principles at Step 8 as an advisory text.
Consideration at Step 5 of Draft Specifications of Identity and Purity of Food Additives
208. The Commission adopted the specifications of Identity and Purity of Food Additives in Categories I and II of Appendix XI to ALINORM 87/12 as advisory texts not subject to acceptance.
Other Matters Arising from the Reports of the 18th and 19th Sessions of the Committee
209. The Commission had before it ALINORM 87/21 containing in pages 5–7 a report on other matters arising from the Reports of the 18th and 19th Sessions of the Committee, which were of interest to the Commission and ALINORM 87/38 - Part III (FA) containing Step 8 comments from governments on contaminant provisions in the standard for Food Grade Salt.
Publication of Codex Advisory Specifications Separately in a Uniform Volume
210. The Commission noted that the Committee at both its 18th and 19th sessions recommended that Codex Advisory Specifications be published separately in a uniform volume, preferably as loose leaf. The discussions of the Committee on the subject were contained in ALINORM 87/12, paras 13–14, 198–199 and ALINORM 87/12A, para 218. The reasons cited for requesting the separate publication were given in ALINORM 87/12, Appendix XI, para 2, while the 34th Session of the Executive Committee had also given consideration to the topic ALINORM 87/4, paras 21–24.
211. The Commission noted that the Codex Secretariat was updating Codex Alimentarius Vol. XIV, with cross references to JECFA specifications recommended as Codex Advisory Specifications along with any editorial corrections proposed by the Committee, and that FAO was exploring the possibilities of preparing a consolidated publication, updated each five years, of all JECFA specifications which could be annotated to indicate the JECFA reviews of each substance and their status as Codex Advisory Specifications. The Commission expressed the view that until this publication was available and had been used by Codex member countries and the food chemical industries along with the cross referencing system mentioned above, separate publication of Codex Advisory Specifications was not justified and would result in duplication of existing materials and unnecessary costs to the Programme. The Commission expressed the hope that the consolidated publication would be made available soon in order to meet the needs of governments and industry.
Action Resulting from Change in ADI Status of Food Additives
212. The Commission agreed with the action taken by the Codex Committee on Food Additives (ALINORM 87/12, para 92, Appendix III - Part II and ALINORM 87/12A, para 135, Appendix IV - Part II) to change the endorsement status of certain food additives to be in line with their revised ADI status.
Maximum Permitted Levels of Lead in Sugar (ALINORM 87/12, paras 109–110)
213. The Commission noted that the existing maximum level of lead for all sugars excepting white sugar and fructose had been 2 mg/kg and that the Committee at its 18th Session had temporarily endorsed a lower maximum level of lead of 1 mg/kg for all sugars and 0.5 mg/kg for fructose. The Commission endorsed this action.
214. The delegation of Switzerland agreed in principle with the action of the Commission but expressed the view that efforts of countries should continue to reduce the lead content in sugars to levels of 0.5 mg/kg.
Contaminant Provisions in the Standard for Food Grade Salt
215. The Commission noted that at its 16th Session it had adopted the Draft Standard for Food Grade Salt at Step 8 of the procedure with the proviso that the provisions on contaminants be included later into the standard, when finalized by the Codex Committee on Food Additives.
216. The Committee, at its 18th Session, proposed maximum levels for contaminants in food grade salt as below (ALINORM 87/12, para 183, 185).
217. The Commission adopted these levels of contaminants in food grade salt.
218. The delegations of the USA and Thailand reserved their position on acceptance of a level of Arsenic of 0.5 mg/kg in food grade salt.
General Requirements for Natural Flavourings (ALINORM 87/12A, Appendix VI)
219. The Committee at its 19th Session had finalized the text for the General Requirements for Natural Flavourings and agreed that the text be referred to the Commission for endorsement and publication in the appropriate Codex document as an Advisory Text.
220. The Commission noted that the text had been submitted twice to governments for comments before its finalization and adopted it as an advisory text.
221. The delegation of Belgium drew the attention of the Commission to certain shortcomings in the French text and agreed to provide a new text to the Secretariat.
Guideline Levels for Mercury in Fish (ALINORM 87/12A, paras 236-237)
222. The Codex Committee on Food Additives had agreed to undertake the work on establishing levels of mercury in fish since in its view, groups of populations with a high proportion of fish in their diet might be at risk. The Committee had recommended guideline levels for mercury in fish and fish products at its 19th Session (0.5 mg/kg for all fish, except for predatory fish such as shark, swordfish, tuna and pike for which the levels should be 1 mg/kg) and had agreed to submit them to governments for comments at Step 3 if the Commission agreed.
223. The Chairman of the Codex Committee on Fish and Fishery Products informed the Commission of the views of this as outlined in the report of its 17th Session (ALINORM 87/18, paras 263–272) that the establishment of guideline levels for mercury in fish did not seem to be the most appropriate way to protect the consumer. The Chairman of the Codex Committee on Fish and Fishery Products referred to the fact that a toxicological review of mercury would be undertaken by JECFA at its next session in March 1988 and proposed that a decision on whether or not to send the guideline levels for mercury in fish proposed by the Codex to governments for comments at step 3, be delayed till the new evaluation on mercury was available. This proposal was supported by the delegation of the U.S.A.
224. The Commission agreed that a decision on this matter be postponed until the new JECFA evaluation on mercury was available.
Aflatoxin in Foods and Feeds (ALINORM 87/12A, paras 238–244)
225. The Committee at its 19th Session had responded to the request of the FAO Intergovernmental Group on Oilseeds, Oils and Fats to initiate, as soon as possible, the establishment of internationally agreed limits for aflatoxin in food and feed, together with recognized methods of analysis and sampling and methods for the reduction of contamination either at the production level or by detoxification. The Committee had noted that guidance in the form of guidelines and methods for the reduction of contamination with aflatoxin either at the production level or by detoxification was readily available in existing FAO documents.
226. Regarding maximum levels for aflatoxins in food and feed, the Committee had proposed guideline levels for aflatoxins in food and feed (para 240 of ALINORM 87/12A) that should be sent out for consideration and comments by governments at Step 3. The Commission agreed with this action.
227. The Commission was also informed that the Codex Committee on Cereals, Pulses and Legumes was carrying out a survey on the aflatoxin content of cereals, pulses and legumes, the results of which would be available in 1988. The Commission asked the Chairman of the Codex Committee on Cereals, Pulses and Legumes to provide the survey data to the Codex Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants when available.
Confirmation of Chairmanship
228. The Commission confirmed under Rule IX.10 that the Codex Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants should continue to be under the Chairmanship of the Government of the Netherlands.
CODEX COMMITTEE ON FOOD HYGIENE
229. The Commission had before it the reports of the 21st and 22nd sessions of the above Committee (ALINORM 87/13 and 87/13A) which were introduced by Dr. Charles W. Cooper (U.S.A.).
Consideration of Revised Draft Code of Hygienic Practice for Low-Acid and Acidified Low-Acid Canned Foods at Step 5 (ALINORM 87/13A, Appendix VII)
230. The Commission was informed that the revision of this Code had constituted a major part of the Food Hygiene Committee's work for about four years and Governments had had at least two opportunities to review this revision. The Code was considered to be an excellent example of the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point principles, although its origins predated the formulation of this concept.
231. Three documents which were originally intended to be appendices to the Code were reconsidered by the Committee at its 22nd Session and it was recommended that these documents be taken out of the step procedure and published separately when completed. The documents were:
Code of Practice for the Salvaging of Canned Foods Suspected of Having Been Contaminated;
Guideline Procedures to Establish Microbiological Causes of Spoilage in Canned Foods;
Classification of Visual Can Defects.
Status of the Revised Draft Code
232. The Commission adopted the Revised Draft Code of Hygienic practice for Low-Acid and Acidified Low-Acid Canned Foods at Step 5 and advanced it to Step 6.
Other matters arising from the Reports of the 21st and 22nd Sessions of the Committee
233. The Commission had before it ALINORM 87/21 containing in pages 7–9, a report on other matters arising from the Report of the 21st and 22nd sessions of the Committee which were of interest to the Commission.
Definition of Pasteurization (ALINORM 87/13A, Appendix IV, Annex 2)
234. The Codex Committee on Food Hygiene, at its 18th Session, completed work on the Code of Hygienic Practice for Dried Milk except for a definition of Pasteurization. The Commission, at its 15th Session, adopted this Code at Step 8 on the understanding that an agreed definition of Pasteurization would be added after consideration by the Committee and the International Dairy Federation. The 22nd Session of the Committee proposed a definition for pasteurization and some minimum temperature/time combinations for pasteurization and recommended to the Commission that the definition of pasteurization as amended for inclusion in the Recommended Code of Hygienic Practice for Dried Milk (CAC/RCP 31-1983), be adopted at Steps 5 and 8 of the Procedure with the omission of Steps 6 and 7.
235. The delegation of the Federal Republic of Germany informed the Commission that it reserved its opinion in regard to accepting the definition of pasteurization, since it lacked reference to the use of milk alkaline phosphatase as an important indicator. Inactivation of the enzyme in milk would indicate that pasteurization was complete.
236. The Commission therefore advanced the definition of pasteurization only to Step 6.
Consideration of Proposed Draft Code of Hygienic Practice for Spices and Herbs at Step 4 (ALINORM 87/13A, paras. 131–138
237. In view of the difficulties involved in developing a General Code for the Harvesting and Handling and Processing of Spices and the wide variety of treatments required for the use of spices in various food products, the Committee decided not to proceed with the elaboration of this Code (ALINORM 87/13, App. VIII and XI), but to recommend to the Commission that the Codex Committee on Processed Meat and Poultry Products (CCPMPP) develop a Code of Practice for its own specific needs. If required, the Committee would be ready to advise the CCPMPP on specific provisions of such a proposed Code.
238. The delegation of Denmark, speaking on behalf of the Chairman of the CCPMPP, stated that an important aspect of spices in relation to meat products was the need for spices of good bacteriological quality, for use as ingredients in meat and poultry products moving in international trade and that therefore the Committee would undertake to develop a Code of Practice for the treatment of spices.
239. The Commission agreed that the Code of Practice on Spices to be elaborated by the Codex Committee on Processed Meat and Poultry products would follow the step procedure, but without further need for endorsement by the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene.
Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Points (HACCP) (ALINORM 87/13A, paras. 91–95 and Appendix VI)
240. The Executive Committee at its 31st Session agreed that Committees should examine their Codes of Practice with the objective of incorporating the HACCP approach into their texts. The Committee attempted this exercise when elaborating the Code of Hygienic Practice for Pre-cooked and Cooked Foods in Mass Catering and came to the conclusion that Codex Codes were general texts in which Critical Control Points could not be readily identified. A general text was therefore prepared explaining the HACCP approach and the reasons why the system was not applicable to the Codex Codes of Hygienic Practice. The text was recommended for adoption and incorporation as an addendum to the General Principles for the Establishment of Microbiological Criteria for Foods in the next edition of the Procedural Manual.
241. Introducing Conference Document LIM 15, the delegation of Denmark informed the Commission that it was not in agreement with the proposal of the Committee. In its view the HACCP concept would be applicable to several Codes related to commodities, for example the Code of Hygienic Practice for Processed Meat and Poultry Products. Furthermore, the Committee seemed to consider the HACCP system in relation to pathogenic organisms only, and not for spoilage organisms for which it may also be applicable. In fact, many of the provisions of Codes of hygienic practice for commodities were related to spoilage organisms. The delegation proposed that the text be sent to governments and relevant commodity committees for comments.
242. The Commission, recognizing that the immediate adoption of the text might have implications in the future agreed with the proposal of Denmark.
Amendment of the Code of Hygienic Practice for the Collection, Processing and Marketing of Natural Mineral Waters (ALINORM 87/13A, paras. 48–51)
243. The Committee at its 22nd session recommended to the Commission that section 3.7 of the Code, “Protection of the extraction area” be amended as follows:
“3.7 Protection of the extraction area In the immediate surroundings of springs and wells, precautionary measures should be taken to guarantee that no pollutant whatsoever can enter the extraction area. The extraction area should be inaccessible to non-authorized people by providing adequate devices (e.g. enclosure). Any use not aiming at the collection of natural mineral water should be forbidden in this area.”
Status of the Amendment
244. The Commission adopted the amendment under its procedure for amending Codex texts.
Confirmation of Chairmanship
245. 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.
CODEX COMMITTEE ON METHODS OF ANALYSIS AND SAMPLING
246. The Commission had before it the report of the 15th Session of the Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling (ALINORM 87/23). The report was introduced by Dr. I. Oláh (Hungary). He informed the Commission that the Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling had the consideration of “simple” methods of analysis on its agenda as a permanent item. This was done in order to assist developing countries which did not have sophisticated equipment required by modern methods of analysis. As regards the question of separating the Committee into one on sampling and another on methods of analysis, Hungary agreed with the conclusions of the Commission that this should not be done.
247. Dr. Oláh wished to inform the Commission of the working procedures of the Committee. He stressed that the Committee did not elaborate methods of analysis but selected appropriate methods of analysis on the basis of established criteria from among methods elaborated and tested for performance by appropriate international organizations. This is why the “Inter-agency Meeting”(IAM), which assisted the Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling in the performance of its task, had been set up. The IAM held its sixth session prior to the last session of the Committee and interest in that Meeting was evidenced by an increasing membership. While the areas of methods of analysis and methods of sampling were related, they represented areas requiring different sets of experts. This is why during sessions of the Committee discussions of these two topics had been separated. As regards the selection of methods of analysis as mentioned above, this required a small group of persons who had the necessary technical know-how in the subject. This is why a working group was being used for this purpose, although all issues relating to analysis and sampling were discussed in plenary session.
248. Dr. Oláh pointed out that the work of the Committee involved the work of all Codex Commodity Committees and, therefore, required support by the Codex Secretariat. He expressed his appreciation for the assistance provided to the Committee by the Codex Secretariat and expressed the hope that this assistance would continue. The Committee had, at its last session, developed instructions on Codex sampling procedures directed to Codex Committees in selecting sampling plans for Codex standards. These Instructions had been referred to the Commission for endorsement. The Committee had also considered various other topics related to sampling and had endorsed the Codex Sampling Plans for Pre-packaged Foods included in various Codex standards for checking quality criteria. In the field of analysis, the Committee had examined a number of the issues of a general nature and had, with the assistance of the Working Group mentioned above, endorsed a large number of methods of analysis in Codex standards.
249. The delegation of Egypt was of the opinion that simple methods required additional confirmatory methods which should be developed by Codex. He also expressed the view that methods of harmonal assay (for example for poultry products) and methods for the determination of radionuclides should be developed by Codex. The Chairman of the Commission informed the delegation that such methods would be considered by the Codex Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods and the Codex Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants, as these subjects came to the attention of these Committees.
250. The delegation of China expressed the opinion that all provisions for contaminants (e.g. heavy metals, aflatoxins, antibiotics, pesticide residues) and other provisions (e.g. vitamins) should be expressed on the whole product basis, especially for the analysis of pesticide residues in canned meat. This was important in relation to sampling and preparation of sample for analysis. The Commission agreed that the remarks of China be brought to the attention of the Codex Committees concerned.
251. The delegation of the Netherlands stated that, while it had no objections to the Commission adopting the Instructions on Sampling, difficulties could arise in its application since “lot” had not been defined in the Instructions. This matter should be given consideration in applying the Instructions on Sampling, since sampling plans only applied to identifiable, homogenous lots. The Commission agreed that this matter be considered by the appropriate Codex Committees.
252. The delegation of India drew the Commission's attention to the need to develop Codex methods for the estimation of individual oils or fats in mixtures of oils. It was important to ensure that the quality of the product corresponded to the claims made in connection with it and also to identify and measure particular types of fats in mixtures of fats and oils. The Commission was informed that the Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling had considered this matter in detail, but that it had not been able to identify methods of analysis for this purpose. The question, therefore, had been referred to the Inter-agency Meeting with the request that the interested International Organizations develop appropriate methods. The delegation of the United Kingdom confirmed that the Codex Committee on Fats and Oils had reached the same conclusions. The Commission requested International Organizations to take note of the need for the determination, whether qualitatively or quantitatively, of individual fats and oils in mixtures of these and to arrange, if possible, for the development of such methods.
Confirmation of Chairmanship
253. 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.
CODEX COORDINATING COMMITTEE FOR AFRICA
254. The Commission noted that there was not a report of the Committee before it for consideration because the Committee had not met since the last Session of the Commission.
255. With the support of all the members of the Region of Africa attending the Session, the Commission appointed Dr. Tawfic Zaglool Morad Abd Alla of the delegation of Egypt to serve as Coordinator for Africa from the end of the 17th to the end of the 18th Session of the Commission.
CODEX COORDINATING COMMITTEE FOR ASIA
256. The Commission had before it the Report of the Fifth Session of the Coordinating Committee for Asia (ALINORM 87/15) which had been held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia from 8–14 April 1986.
257. The Report was introduced by Professor F.G. Winarno of Indonesia who had chaired the session. He emphasized the interest of the countries of the Region of Asia in the work of the Coordinating Committee and reviewed the topics which had been dealt with by the Committee.
258. The main topics discussed by the Coordinating Committee for Asia were: (a) status of the existing food control infrastructures in the region, and ways and means to develop a strategy for increasing awareness at a high level, of the need to strengthen the infrastructures in the interest of increasing food availability and promoting food exports; (b) importance of training facilities for food inspection; (c) possible role for the Committee as an instrument for promoting the concept of primary health care through safe food; and (d) report on Codex activities generally and on those aspects of Codex work of particular interest in the region, including work in the area of pesticides and their residues in food.
259. The Commission noted that the Committee, recognizing the needs existing in the region, endorsed the concept of a regional conference of food control and requested that FAO and WHO develop a proposal in this regard that could be submitted for consideration by donors, including the developed countries that participate in the work of the Committee (Japan and Australia). The Commission also noted that member countries expressed unanimous support for the proposal to establish an Asian regional network of food inspectors' training centres, and recommended that UNDP provide the necessary funds to implement the project.
260. As regards the joint FAO/WHO activities in the field of food safety and food control, the countries of the region gave high priority and proposed that the various proposals for integrating food safety into primary health care delivery systems should be acted upon. Some countries, however, expressed their reservations on that subject.
261. During discussions at the session on the assistance to increased participation by developing countries in the Codex Region of Asia in the work of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, the Representative of the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean drew attention to the very scant attendance of countries in the Middle East (or Western Asia) at sessions of the Coordinating Committee for Asia over the years. The Committee agreed that this matter be brought to the attention of the Executive Committee and the Commission, in order to see how members of the Commission in the Middle East could be induced to be associated with and participate in the sort of Codex work carried out at the regional level. The Commission noted that the subject had been discussed by the 33rd and 34th Sessions of the Executive Committee of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (ALINORM 87/3 paras 132–136, ALINORM 87/4 paras 32–34).
262. The Commission noted that the Committee, while reviewing activities regarding pesticides and their residues in foods, commended the elaboration of the International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides by FAO. The observer from the International Organization of Consumer Unions (IOCU) offered to be of assistance in monitoring the implementation of the Code. There was support from some of the delegations for the activities in the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues for standardization of simplified methods of analysis for pesticide residues suitable for use by developing countries. Development of such methodology would facilitate monitoring of pesticides.
263. The delegation of Australia, which participated at the 5th Session of the Committee as observer, commended the way the meeting in Indonesia was organized and the business conducted, and expressed the view that increased attendance by countries from outside the region in meetings of the Regional Coordinating Committees would promote the Codex activities in the Region.
Appointment of Coordinator for Asia
264. The Commission was informed that the Coordinating Committee for Asia had unanimously nominated Prof. F.G. Winarno (Indonesia) for appointment as Coordinator for Asia by the Commission at its 17th Session, and that this nomination had the support of the Indonesian authorities.
265. In accordance with Rule II.4(b), the rules of procedure of the Commission and on the unanimous proposal of the Coordinating Committee for Asia, the Commission appointed Prof. F.G. Winarno (Indonesia) as Coordinator for Asia from the end of the 17th Session to the end of the 18th Session of the Commission.
266. The Commission was informed by the delegation of Indonesia, that the Government of Indonesia had officially agreed to host the Sixth Session of the Coordinating Committee for Asia in Denpasar (Bali), Indonesia from 26 January to 1 February 1988.
CODEX COORDINATING COMMITTEE FOR EUROPE
267. The Commission had before it ALINORM 87/19, the Report of the 15th Session of the Committee. The Report was introduced by Mr. Pierre Rossier, the Coordinator for Europe and the Chairman of the Committee. Mr. Rossier informed the Commission of the Committee's different activities which included the elaboration of regional standards, coordination of food control and food standard activities in countries of the Codex region of Europe and matters arising from the work of FAO and WHO in the field of food safety and related public health aspects.
Consideration at Step 8 of Draft European Regional Standard for Vinegar
(ALINORM 87/19, Appendix II)
268. The Coordinator reminded the Commission that it had, at its 16th Session, returned the Standard to Step 6 of the Procedure, in view of the serious concerns by non-European countries about the possible negative economic impact of the Standard. The Committee had been requested to reconsider the relevant sections of the Standard, having regard to these comments.
269. The Coordinator pointed out that products obtained by other processes, such as fermented products from alcohol or diluted acetic acid were used in many countries including those belonging to the region of Europe, mainly as ingredients in pickles and other acidified foods. It was not the intention to prevent the use of these products, provided they were not denominated “vinegar”. The Coordinator was of the opinion that it was important to provide the consumer with correct information and to promote product transparency.
270. The Observer of the International Organization of Consumer Unions supported the view expressed by the Coordinator that the use of other products should not be prevented, but that these products should be clearly labelled to facilitate the choice by the consumer.
271. The Coordinator also informed the Commission that the Committee had thoroughly discussed other matters such as total acid content, raw materials of sylvicultural origin and limiting the term “vinegar” to products derived from wine. He stated that the Committee had not been in a position to make substantial changes to the Standard and requested the Commission to consider its adoption at Step 8.
272. The delegation of the United States drew attention to the objections it had raised on the Draft Standard at the 16th Session of the Commission and requested that the Standard not be adopted. The delegation pointed to the large amounts of vinegar produced outside countries of the region of Europe which did not conform to the Standard. It was of the opinion that vinegar should not be the subject of a regional standard and that the existence of such a standard resulted in unnecessary and unwanted trade restrictions.
273. The concerns of the United States were shared by the delegations of Australia, Canada and Argentina. The latter also provided detailed technical comments on compositional requirements.
274. The Chairman recalled that the elaboration of the Standard had been approved by the 12th Session of the Commission. He concluded that the regional scope of the Standard was not acceptable to a number of countries and proposed to hold it in abeyance at Step 8, to request the views of governments on a world-wide standard for vinegar, including technical comments and to convene a working party in connection with the next session of the Commission. The working party could examine the comments and advise the Commission whether a world-wide standard should be elaborated. He noted, however, that no appropriate committee seemed to exist to take on the work.
275. The delegations of Argentina, Canada and the United States supported these proposals.
276. The delegations of Kenya and Tanzania were in favour of transforming the regional standard into a world-wide standard and recalled that this had been done in other cases such as honey or maize, at different steps of the procedure.
277. The delegation of Belgium drew attention to para 343 of the Report of the 16th Session of the Commission which outlined, that, whereas it is a matter for the Commission as a whole to decide whether a regional standard be elaborated, it was a matter for the countries of the region concerned to adopt a regional standard according to the Procedure for the Elaboration of Regional Codex Standards. The delegation requested that the Commission should adhere to its procedures and that the countries of the European region should decide on the adoption of the Standard. This was supported by the delegations of Austria, Denmark, France, Federal Republic of Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
278. The Delegation of the USA pointed out that paragraph 343 also concluded that the Commission could override a regional Coordinating Committee if it chose to do so; i.e., the will of the Commission would always prevail.
279. The delegation of New Zealand agreed with the statement of Belgium concerning the procedures and expressed the opinion that this did not detract from the view held by countries outside the Region of Europe that a world-wide standard should have been elaborated.
Status of the Standard
280. The Commission adopted the Regional European Standard for Vinegar at Step 8 of the Procedure.
Consideration at Step 5 of the Proposed Draft European Regional Standard for Mayonnaise
(ALINORM 87/19, Appendix III
281. The Coordinator informed the Commission that good progress had been made in the elaboration of this Standard. Further consideration, however, had to be given to certain compositional criteria, labelling matters as well as methods of analysis and especially to the section on food additives. The Coordinator proposed that the Standard be adopted at Step 5 of the Procedure.
282. The delegation of the United States stated that it could not support the development of a regional standard for mayonnaise since these products were not traded exclusively in one region only and the compositional requirements were too restrictive for world-wide application. This problem was aggravated by the fact that the section on raw materials required vinegar to be in conformity with the Codex (European Regional) Standard for Vinegar, which was not acceptable. The delegation expressed the view that the elaboration of such a standard was contrary to the aims of the Codex and created barriers to trade. This view was supported by the delegations of Argentina, Canada and New Zealand.
283. The delegation of Tanzania drew attention to the fact that Codex standards were used in many developing countries as a model for their own national standards and/or regulations, and regional standards were not suitable for this purpose.
284. The delegation of Mexico, supported by Cuba, urged the Commission to prevent the establishment of barriers to trade through Codex standards. It further noted that these standards were often used in trade disputes between countries and therefore regional standards should only be prepared for products produced and traded exclusively in the Region.
285. The delegation of Canada recognized the difficulties with this particular standard, but felt that the real problem requiring resolution was a conceptional one, arising from the procedures permitting the elaboration of regional standards versus the mandate of the Codex Alimentarius Commission.
286. The Commission recalled that it had, at its 16th Session, decided on an interpretation of Rule VI.3. This decision, as set forth in para 85 of ALINORM 85/47, establishes clearly that the Commission as a whole decides whether a regional initiative was compatible with its overall programme and its aims and purposes under Article I of the Statues.
287. The representative of the Legal Counsel of FAO, referring to paragraphs 85 and 343 of ALINORM 85/47 concerning the interpretation of Rule VI. 3 of the Rules of the Commission, underlined that a distinction must be drawn between the adoption of a regional draft standard and a decision by the Commission as a whole on the compatibility of a regional initiative with the provisions of Article 1 of the Statutes of the Commission. As concerns the proposed draft European regional standard for mayonnaise, the Commission would seem to have reached the adoption stage rather than the stage of initiating work on the standard and consequently the decision was subject to the provision that “only Members belonging to that region … may take part in the voting”. That interpretation was agreed to by the Commission.
Status of the Standard
288. The Commission adopted at Step 5 of the Procedure the Draft European Regional Standard for Mayonnaise. The Commission also decided to refer the problems related to regional standards as identified during this Session of the Commission to the Codex Committee on General Principles and the Executive Committee for consideration and advice, recognizing that the resolution of these problems might involve amendments of Codex procedures.
289. The delegation of the United States reserved its position on this decision since the Committee on General Principles was not scheduled to meet during the next biennium, and the Coordinating Committee for Europe was in the meantime proceeding with the elaboration of the Standard.
Report on Pilot Study concerning the Acceptability of Codex Standards
290. The Coordinating Committee had decided to carry out a survey, limited to three standards, to verify the status of acceptance of these standards in countries of the European region and to identify the exact reasons which impede formal acceptance of Codex standards by these countries. The Coordinator noted that this activity was complementary to the work of the Committee on General Principles. The Committee could not arrive at a definitive conclusion. It became, however, clear that the preferred form of acceptance was “free circulation” often under specified conditions. Food additive provisions were quoted as the major obstacles. The Coordinator informed the Commission that the Committee would, continue its efforts concerning acceptances.
Proposed Amendments of the Terms of Reference of the Committee
291. The Commission was informed that the Committee had given further consideration to its terms of reference which, at present, did not contain a clause on the development of regional standards. The Coordinator stated that the Committee had re-affirmed its previous view that the clause in force for the other committees, relating to products traded exclusively in the intra-regional trade, was not appropriate for this Committee. He held the view that the European region needed less restrictive provisions, since no product moved exclusively in this region only. Given the interpretation of Rule VI.3, the Commission was, however, in a position to control any regional initiatives detrimental to the overall aim of the Commission.
292. In view of the problems encountered with the regional standards for vinegar and mayonnaise, the Coordinator proposed that the terms of reference be referred to the Committee on General Principles for consideration in connection with the problems of regional standards in general (see para 288).
293. The delegation of the United States stated its concern about the negative effects of regional standards on the trade if these products were not limited to a particular region only.
294. The Commission agreed with the proposal made by the Coordinator for Europe and decided that the Committee on General Principles should consider the specific clause of the Committee's terms of reference dealing with regional standards at its next session.
Matters arising from the Report of the 15th Session of the Committee
295. Mr. Rossier informed the Commission that a comprehensive paper on methods of analysis and sampling and on chemical and microbiological parameters for natural mineral waters had been made available through the cooperation with GESEM and EEC for consideration by the next session of the Committee.
296. The Commission also noted that a survey on cooperation and implementation of food legislation in European countries had been very helpful to identify matters of common concern and to recommend ways and means to improve, in particular, the work of Codex Contact Points.
297. The Commission was informed that the Committee had appreciated the detailed documentation provided by WHO concerning the promotion of primary health care and the monitoring of national policies, programmes, services and institutions related to food safety. The Coordinator expressed satisfaction with active participation of representatives of WHO in the work of the Committee and hoped that the cooperation with WHO would continue at an even increased level.
298. The delegation of Norway stated that the activities of the Committee to assist WHO in implementing that Organization's work on the integration of food safety into primary health care were most desirable and were a good example of the coordinating role of the Committee.
299. The WHO Joint Secretary expressed his appreciation for the good response which the Coordinating Committee for Europe had given to the initiatives of WHO and hoped that the other coordinating committees would take the same interest.
Appointment of Coordinator for Europe
300. The Commission was informed that the Committee had noted Mr. Rossier's ineligibility after having served a second term of office. Each term had been limited to the period between two sessions of the Commission only. The Committee had unanimously agreed to extending Mr. Rossier's second term as Coordinator for Europe and to request the Commission to reconsider its decision on the duration of the second term, in view of the fact that Rule II.4(b) defined one term of office as covering the period up to the end of maximal the third succeeding regular session of the Commission.
301. The representative of the Legal Counsel of FAO advised that Rule II. 4(b) of Rules of the Commission provided in very clear terms that Coordinators held office from the end of the Session at which they were elected “until not later than the end of the third succeeding regular session, the precise term being determined by the Commission in each instance”. On election Mr. Rossier's second term had been fixed at one session. Consequently, if the Commission wished to re-appoint Mr. Rossier for an additional period it would be necessary for it to suspend Rule II.4(b) as provided for in Rule XIII.2. The Commission appointed Professor Dr. H. Woidich of Austria as Coordinator for Europe, noting that Professor Woidich had been nominated by the Committee in case Mr. Rossier's term could not be extended. The Commission decided that Professor Woidich's term of office should be from the end of the 17th Session to the end of the 18th Session of the Commission.
302. The delegation of Austria informed the Commission that it would host the 16th Session of the Coordinating Committee for Europe in Austria, at a place yet to be determined.
303. The Commission expressed its appreciation to the Government of Switzerland for the excellent host facilities and to Mr. Rossier for his efficient work as Coordinator.
CODEX COORDINATING COMMITTEE FOR LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN
304. The Commission had before it the report of the Fifth Session of the Codex Coordinating Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean (ALINORM 87/36) held in Havana, Cuba, from 11 to 16 February 1987, and also the documents ALINORM 87/21 and LIM-11.
305. The reports were presented by the Coordinator, Minister Ramón Darias Rodés, who touched on the most important points of these reports. He informed the Commission that this Committee, founded in 1976, had held five meetings, three of which had been in Havana, Cuba.
306. Between the Fourth and Fifth Sessions, the Committee's main activities were as follows:
A comparative study of 200 Codex standards and 106 standards of the Pan-American Commission of Technical Standards (COPANT) and 287 standards of the Central American Institute for Research and Industrial Technology (ICAITI).
Diagnosis of the needs for, and possibilities of, technical cooperation among countries in the region in standardization and quality. In this connection, a proposal was made for the creation of a Technical Cooperation Network in this field.
Visit to 15 countries to elaborate the provisional agenda of the Fifth Session.
The holding, in collaboration with PAHO/WHO and the State Committee for Standardization of Cuba, of the Third Workshop on Standardization of Food and Health for Latin America and the Caribbean, where the following items were discussed: the present situation of residues of veterinary drugs in foods, the importance and use of foods based on vegetable proteins, and the application of the hazard analysis and determination of critical control points in the improvement of quality and safety of foods.
307. At the Fifth Session of the Committee the following agreements were reached:
To establish a regional data bank on standardization, certification and quality of food.
To continue with the second stage of the programme of harmonization of regional and sub-regional standards.
To continue procedures for the establishment of a regional Technical Cooperation Network on food standardization.
To elaborate a Code of Hygienic Practice for Aquaculture and a World-wide Standard on Dried Shark Fins.
To elaborate a Code of Hygienic Practice for Street-vended Foods.
To propose to the Commission the elaboration of a world-wide standard for Raw Sugar.
To propose to the Commission some improvements in Codex procedures and future work.
308. The Commission noted that in the week immediately preceding the Fifth Session of the Regional Coordinating Committee, the Fourth Session of the Codex Committee on Vegetable Proteins had been held in Cuba, and that this was the first time that a Codex Committee had met in a country other than the host country. In this regard, the Regional Coordinating Committee expressed its gratitude to the Canadian government and hoped that other host governments for Codex Committees would give consideration to the possibility of holding other meetings in developing countries.
309. The Commission was informed that, during the four years of the present Coordinating Office, the work of the Codex Alimentarius at national and regional level had been considerably intensified, the Coordinator expressed his gratitude for the efforts made by countries in the area.
310. The Commission noted that, at the Fifth Session of the Committee, mention was made of progress achieved by FAO and PAHO in the implementation of a Plan of Action for intensification of food protection activities in the Latin American and Caribbean region. This Plan of Action was agreed at the Inter-American Conference on Food Protection held in 1985. Funds have been requested from the United Nations Development Programme for the implementation of the first phase.
311. Various delegations from the region emphasized the importance of this activity and requested FAO and PAHO/WHO to continue their work to achieve immediate implementation of the Plan.
312. The Commission supported the work of FAO and PAHO in conducting this action, which would undoubtedly benefit Codex Alimentarius work in the area.
World-wide Standard for Raw Sugar
313. In discussing this item, the Commission had before it the documents ALINORM 87/21 and ALINORM 87/36.
314. The Secretariat of the Committee informed the Commission that, as a result of the decision adopted by the Commission at its Sixteenth Session, the Coordinating Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean had conducted a study on the need to elaborate a world-wide Codex standard for raw sugar. The data obtained confirmed the need for this standard, and it was therefore proposed to the Commission that the relevant work be started by the Coordinating Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, with advice from the host government of the Committee on Sugars (the United Kingdom), whose meetings have been adjourned sine die.
315. The delegations of the United States and Thailand expressed their opposition to the elaboration of a world-wide standard for this product, since they considered it was an intermediate product that could be used for industrial processing, in which case standardization was difficult, or else it could be used for direct human consumption, but in proportions that perhaps did not justify the elaboration of a world-wide standard.
316. The delegations of Argentina, Austria, Cameroon, Cuba and Mexico supported the elaboration of a world-wide standard, since raw sugar for direct human consumption was a commercially important commodity in various regions, and its standardization would facilitate the elimination of non-tariff barriers against it. It was noted that raw beet sugar would be excluded from the standard.
317. The delegation of the United Kingdom reminded the Commission that the Committee on Sugars had, at previous sessions, agreed not to elaborate a standard for raw sugar used as an intermediate product. The delegation was of the opinion that any new standard, if elaborated, should be limited to raw sugar intended directly for human consumption. Moreover, it was necessary to have sufficient information on the scale of trade in this commodity in order to justify the elaboration of such a standard.
318. The United Kingdom, as Secretariat of the Codex Committee on Sugars, would be prepared to start work on the elaboration of the standard by correspondence.
319. The delegation of Cuba explained that the proposed standard was limited to raw cane sugar intended both for industrial processing and direct human consumption. The standard would cover the composition of the product and other quality characteristics, and would be prepared in close collaboration with the Codex Committee on Sugar; it was not thought necessary for the Committee to hold a session merely to start work on this standard. The delegation of Cameroon said that, although the standard would start at regional level, following Codex procedures it would shortly be established as a world-wide standard, since this was what was wanted.
320. The Commission agreed that Steps 1, 2 and 3 of the elaboration of a World-Wide Standard for Raw Sugar be commenced under the auspices of the Coordinating Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, then the proposed draft standard be submitted to the Codex Committee on Sugar at Step 4 for study and distribution to member countries. The delegation of the United Kingdom requested that the report record its reservation on this procedure; it considered that the Codex Committee on Sugars should be responsible for the whole elaboration of the standard.
Appointment of Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean
321. At the Fifth Session of the Coordinating Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean it had been unanimously agreed to propose Lic. Maria Eugenia Chacón Moroux, of Costa Rica, as the new Coordinator. The delegation of Costa Rica stated that personal reasons had prevented Lic. Chacón at the last minute from being present at the Session, but expressed on her behalf acceptance of the appointment as Coordinator of the Regional Committee, and, on behalf of the Government of Costa Rica, the desire to host the Sixth Session of the Regional Committee. The Commission agreed unanimously to suspend Rule II.4 (a) of the Rules of the Commission to allow the appointment of Lic. Chacón.
322. The Commission expressed its thanks to the Government of Cuba for hosting the Committee for three Sessions and thanked the Coordinator, Minister R. Darías Rodés, for his valuable contribution to promoting the work of the Commission in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Formation of a new Regional Committee
323. The delegation of the United States informed the Commission of its desire to explore the formation, together with Canada and other countries, of a Codex Regional Coordinating Committee for North America, and requested the collaboration of the Secretariat in initiating the relevant formalities.
CODEX COMMITTEE ON FATS AND OILS
324. The Commission had before it the report of the 13th Session of the Codex Committee on Fats and Oils (ALINORM 87/17 and Corrigendum). The Report was introduced by the Chairman of the Committee, Dr. W.H.B. Denner (United Kingdom).
Consideration at Step 8 of Draft Standards for (i) Specified Vegetable Fat Products and (ii) Specified Animal or Mixed Animal and Vegetable Fat Products (ALINORM 87/17, Appendix II and III)
325. The Commission noted that the standards covered all solid and semi-solid products consisting of (i) an edible vegetable fat or a blend of edible vegetable oils and fats and (ii) edible animal including marine fats with or without the addition of vegetable oils or fats, sold as an alternative to ghee. Because of the variety of common names used for these products in various countries, the Draft Standards were titled “Specified Vegetable Fat Product” and “Specified Animal or Mixed Animal and Vegetable Fat Products”, and, in the Section on Labelling a clause had been included to the effect that the product shall be designated in accordance with the laws and customs in the country in which the product is sold in a manner so as not to mislead the consumer.
326. The delegations of Egypt, India and Tanzania were not in agreement with certain clauses of the Standards. In the view of the delegation of Egypt, the acid value and peroxide value of the products should not exceed 0.4 mgKOH/g and 5 milliequivalents of peroxide oxygen/kg respectively. The delegations of India and Tanzania proposed that the slip point should not exceed 41°C, and that provision should be made under labelling section of the standards for declaration of fat or fats used in the product and that specific provision should be made that the products should not resemble ghee in their colour and flavour.
Status of the Draft Standards
327. The Commission adopted the two standards at Step 8 of the procedure as Codex standards and agreed that the title of the “Standard for Specified Vegetable Fat Product” should be amended to read as “Standard for Specified Vegetable Fat Products”. The amendment was considered editorial. The delegations of India and Tanzania reserved their position on the provisions for slip point, colour and flavour; and labelling in the standard (see also Para. 326).
Consideration of Proposed Amendments to Food Additive Provision in Codex Standards for Fats and Oils (Consequential Amendments)
328. A summary of amendments to the food additive provisions to all Codex Standards for Fats and Oils consequential to the adoption of Standards for (i) Specified Vegetable Fat Products and (ii) Specified Animal or Mixed Animal and Vegetable Fat Products was contained in Paragraph 30 of ALINORM 87/17. The Commission noted that the Codex Committee on Food Additives at its 19th Session had endorsed the proposed amendments to food additive provisions.
Status of Proposed Amendments to Food Additive Provisions
329. The Commission agreed to the amendments to the food additive provisions in Codex Standards for Fats and Oils noting that they were consequential to the adoption of the new standards on (i) Specified Vegetable Fat Products and (ii) Specified Animal or Mixed Animal and Vegetable Fat Products. The Commission noted that these amendments did not apply to the Codex Standard for Olive Oil (CODEX STAN 33-1981).
Considerations at Step 8 of Amendments to the Codex Standard for Edible Rapeseed Oil (CODEX STAN 24-1981) (ALINORM 87/17 Appendix V, Paras. 34–40)
330. The Commission noted that following the adoption of a Standard for Low Erucic Acid Rape Seed Oil, it had decided to amend the existing Codex Standard for Edible Rape Seed Oil. Amendments considered were in (i) Scope: to the extent that the standard was not applicable to low erucic acid rape seed oil, (ii) Saponification Value, (iii) Crismer Value, (iv) Content of Brassicasterol, (v) Erucic Acid Content and (vi) GLC Ranges.
331. The delegation of Egypt informed the commission that in its country rape seed oil containing more than 5% erucic acid was not considered edible and consequently it was opposed to the adoption of the amendments which included a provision for erucic acid which ranged from 5 - 60%. The views of the delegation of Egypt were supported by the delegation of Tanzania and the delegation of Argentina stated that Argentinian regulations required the level of erucic acid to be less than 5%. The delegation of India brought to the attention of the Commission the problem of adulteration of rape seed oil with argemone oil in its country and proposed that the Commission should elaborate through the appropriate Codex Committee an effective method for qualitative and quantitative determination of argemone oil, when blended with rape seed oil. The Commission noted that the control of adulteration rested with national food control authorities.
332. The delegation of China informed the Commission of the work carried out in its country both in experimental animals and humans that demonstrated that rape seed oil containing high levels of erucic acid is safe for use. It asked the Commission to recommend to FAO and WHO to undertake an epidemiological study to determine the safety of use of high erucic acid rape seed oil.
Status of the Amendments
333. The Commission adopted the amendments to the Codex Standard for Edible Rape Seed Oil as in ALINORM 87/17, Appendix V at Step 8 of the Procedure.
Consideration at Steps 5 and 8 of Proposed Amendments to Codex Standard for Olive Oil (CODEX STAN 33-1981) (ALINORM 87/17, Appendix VIII)
334. The Commission noted that it approved the initiation of the amendments of the Codex Standard for Olive Oil at its 16th Session in order to bring the minimum quality criteria of the Codex Standard into line with minimum quality criteria of the trading standard for Olive Oil. The trading standard differed from the Codex Standard for Olive Oil particularly as regards the limits for certain fatty acids, the inclusion of limits for camposterol and cholesterol among the sterols, peroxide value for refined oil and date of minimum durability.
Status of the Amendments
335. The Commission noted that most of the amendments to the Codex Standard for Olive Oil (CODEX STAN 33-1981) were editorial and adopted them at Step 8. It noted that the amendments to food additive provisions for other Codex Standards for oils and fats (paras. 341–346) were not applicable for olive oil and asked the Secretariat to correct the error in Section 184.108.40.206 of the French and Spanish versions of the standard. It also noted the comments submitted for information, by the delegation of Thailand (LIM 14).
Amendments to the Method for the Determination of Fatty Acids at Position 2 in Olive Oil
(ALINORM 87/17, paras 11–13)
336. The International Olive Oil Council (IOOC) had pointed out an error in the method of expression of the results for Saturated Fatty Acids in position 2 in the Codex Standard for Olive Oil (CODEX STAN 33-1981), and had proposed that this section should read: “The saturated fatty acids at position 2 means the sum of palmitic (16:0) and stearic (18:0) acids expressed as a percentage (m/m) of the total fatty acids at position 2”.
337. After having reviewed the comments received from governments and those of the Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling, it was proposed that an amendment be made to the standard at Step 5 and proposed the omission of Steps 6 and 7.
Status of the Amendments
338. The Commission adopted the amendment at Step 8.
Consideration at Steps 5 and 8 of Draft Code of Practice for the Storage and Transport of Edible Oils and Fats in Bulk (ALINORM 87/17, Appendix VII)
339. The draft Code submitted to governments at Step 3 for comments, was elaborated by Malaysia. The Committee, at its 13th Session, advanced the Code to Step 5 with a recommendation that Steps 6 and 7 be omitted. It was noted that the scope of the Code should be enlarged in the future to include problems arising from the potential contamination of oil by previous and cotransported cargoes and other sources. The Federation of Oils, Seed and Fats Association which was already studying the problem had agreed to coordinate future work on this aspect.
Status of the Code of Practice
340. The Commission adopted the Code of Practice at Step 8 of the Procedure noting that it was the only one of its kind existing. The Commission attached considerable importance to the future enlargement of the Code to extend the Section on contamination.
Consideration at Step 8 of Amendments to Codex Standards for Individual Fats and Oils (ALINORM 87/17, Appendix III)
GLC Fatty Acid Ranges
341. The Commission at its 15th session had not accepted the mandatory application of fatty acid ranges, proposed by the Committee at its 12th Session for two reasons: firstly, the manipulation of germ plasm might lead to oils having different fatty acid compositions; and secondly, that many developing countries did not have the equipment or trained technicians to determine GLC fatty acid ranges (ALINORM 83/43, para. 284).
342. The Committee at its 13th Session considered that fatty acid ranges should not be advisory for the reasons stated in detail in para. 69 of ALINORM 87/17 and asked the Commission to reconsider its expressed opinion on the advisory status of the GLC fatty acid ranges.
343. The delegations of U.S.A., Canada and France supported the view of the Committee and expressed the view that GLC fatty acids ranges of fats and oils were objective criteria without which the standards could not be applied in practice. The delegations of India, Cameroon and Switzerland held the view that GLC fatty acid ranges should not be mandatory. Furthermore, the delegations of India and Cameroon noted that developing countries would face problems in international trade if mandatory character of the GLC fatty acid ranges was accepted by the Commission.
Status of GLC Fatty Acid Ranges
344. The Commission agreed to the mandatory nature of GLC Fatty Acid Ranges included in Codex Standards for Fats and Oils.
345. The Commission adopted the following amendments to Codex Standards for Individual Fats and Oils in order to apply the provisions for GLC Fatty Acid Ranges:
The following to be included in Section 3 of all Codex Standards for individual fats and oils.
Oils used as a raw material for the manufacture shall comply with the GLC fatty acid ranges as specified in Section 3.”
The following footnote to be added to Section 3 Identity Characteristics of all Codex Standards for individual fats and oils:
“Samples falling outside the GLC fatty acid ranges are not in compliance with the Standard. Supplementary non-mandatory criteria may be employed if it is considered necessary to confirm that a sample is in compliance with the Standard.”
Consideration at Steps 5 and 8 of Amendments to the GLC Fatty Acid Ranges as Given in ALINORM 79/17, Appendix XI and in the Standard for Low Erucic Acid Rape Seed Oil (ALINORM 87/17, Appendix X)
346. The Committee at its 13th Session recommended that the amendments to GLC Fatty Acid Ranges be adopted at Step 5 and that Steps 6 and 7 be omitted. At that session the delegation of Thailand had reserved its opinion on any changes to the current fatty acid ranges (para. 66 of ALINORM 87/17).
Status of the Amendments to GLC Ranges
347. The Commission noted the written reservations expressed by the delegation of Thailand (LIM 9, 14) to the adoption of the amendments to GLC ranges and adopted the amendments at Step 5 and advanced them to Step 6.
Determination of Erythrodiol Content of Grapeseed Oil (ALINORM 87/12, para.72)
348. The Committee at its 13th Session agreed to the inclusion of the IUPAC method (which had been collaboratively tested) in the Codex Standard for Edible Grape Seed Oil (CODEX STAN 127-1981) at Section 8.6 subject to its endorsement by the Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling. The Committee noted that precision of the method was improved when the erythrodiol content was expressed as a percentage of beta-sitosterol rather than on the basis of total sterols. The Committee agreed that section 3.1.6 of the Standard be amended to read:
“3.1.6 Erythrodiol Content - not less than 3% of the beta-sitosterol content”
Status of the Amendment
349. The Commission adopted the amendment to express the erythrodiol content as a percentage of beta-sitosterol subject to endorsement by the Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling.
Elaboration of Standard for Blackcurrant Seed Oil (ALINORM 87/17, paras. 41–43
350. The Commission noted that the Committee considered it premature to embark upon elaboration of a separate standard for blackcurrant seed oil, since the work priorities criteria of the Codex were not met. The Commission noted that the General Standard for Fats and Oils would be applicable to blackcurrant seed oil and agreed to consider the need for elaboration of a separate standard for blackcurrant seed oil if appropriate, at some future date.
Proposal of the Committee to adjourn sine die (ALINORM 87/17, para. 84)
351. The Commission noted that the Committee had satisfactorily completed all the work it had on hand and noting that a mechanism existed within the Codex procedure for any outstanding areas of work to continue, agreed with the Committee's proposal that it should adjourn sine die.
Confirmation of Chairmanship
352. The Commission confirmed under Rule IX.10 that the Codex Committee on Fats and Oils should continue to be under the Chairmanship of the Government of the United Kingdom.
CODEX COMMITTEE ON PROCESSED FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
353. The Commission had before it the Report of the 18th Session of the codex committee on Processed Fruits and Vegetables (ALINORM 87/20) containing draft standards for honey, canned mangoes and mango chutney at Step 8 of the Procedure. The Commission also had before it amendments proposed by governments to these draft standards contained in documents ALINORM 87/38 - Part IV and Add 1 as well as comments tabled by the delegation of the Federal Republic of Germany (LIM 19). The Report of the Committee was introduced by Dr. D. Houston (USA) on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee, Mr. G.R. Parlet.
Draft Standard for Honey (ALINORM 87/20, Appendix IV)
354. In introducing the Standard for Honey, Dr. Houston informed the Commission that the Committee, after a lengthy and detailed discussion had arrived at a compromise and had recommended the adoption of the draft Standard at Step 8. Regarding the comments and proposals for amendment before the Commission, the Committee had taken these into consideration, except for the proposal by Israel to include the AOAC method for the determination of HMF.
355. The Commission noted that ISO had been requested by the Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling to develop a method using reagents which were not hazardous to health, and also noted that the AOAC method (14th Edition, 1984) would be a satisfactory method for the determination of HMF. The Commission agreed that the AOAC method be included in the Standard for Honey and that this be brought to the attention of the Codex Committee of Methods of Analysis and Sampling.
356. The delegations which spoke on the subject of honey were in general agreement with, or strongly supported, the draft world-wide Standard for Honey.
357. The delegation of India was of the opinion that HMF content depended on temperature and other conditions during storage. Under tropical conditions HMF content increased and was above the limit specified by Codex after about three months of storage. This provision was likely to cause problems in trade for developing countries with tropical climates. The delegation also thought that the limit for mineral (ash) content could be reduced to 0.5%.
358. The delegation of Argentina expressed its satisfaction that a world-wide Codex Standard had been developed and indicated its agreement with most of the provisions of the Standard. The delegation of Argentina confirmed its previous comments in respect of the standard for Honey concerning apparent reducing sugar content; moisture content; apparent sucrose content; hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) content; and hygiene where it should be added that the product must not have fermented; and the mandatory declaration of the country of origin and methods of analysis.
359. The delegation of Switzerland wished to reserve its position on certain provisions of the Standard, e.g. those for moisture content and HMF. The delegation of Spain stated that its national requirements for honey provided for a maximum HMF content of 40 mg/kg, and not 80 mg/kg as provided for in the draft Codex standard. The delegation of Egypt stated that a classification on the basis of colour should be included in the standard, and that the use of ascorbic acid as an antioxidant should be minimized. It also referred to the provisions on date marking.
360. The delegation of Poland expressed its interest in the Codex world-wide Standard for Honey but wished an exception to the provision for acidity to be included for buckwheat honey, which could have a natural titratable acidity of 47 milliequivalents. The delegation also proposed that the Standard should include maximum limits for specified heavy metal contaminants.
361. The delegation of Hungary indicated that the provisions for HMF and diastase activity included in the European Regional Standard had been accepted by Hungary and in the Standard of the CMEA. It expressed a preference for these figures rather than those included in the present draft standard.
Status of the Standard
362. The Commission adopted the Draft Standard for Honey at Step 8 of the Procedure as a World-wide Codex Standard and also agreed, as proposed by the representative of the Legal Counsel of FAO, that the existing Codex European Regional Standard for Honey was, consequently, superseded.
Draft Standard for Canned Mangoes (ALINORM 87/20, Appendix V)
363. The draft standard was introduced by Dr. Houston (USA) who informed the Commission that the comments received at Step 8 on this Standard had been discussed at a previous session of the Codex Committee on Processed Fruits and Vegetables. There was an editorial amendment to be made in the section on food additives, i.e. to change the provision for “pectin and amidated pectin” to “pectins”. The Commission accepted this editorial change.
364. The Commission considered the proposal of the delegation of the Federal Republic of Germany that the use of irradiated mangoes should not be permitted, in view of fact that the standard required that canned mangoes be prepared from fresh fruit and that irradiated mangoes could not be considered to be fresh mangoes. The Commission noted that the introduction of such a provision in the standard, while not making a similar restriction in the other Codex standards for canned fruits and vegetables, would be prejudicial to this product. It was also noted that the codex committee on Food Labelling had considered the question of labelling of ingredients which had been treated by irradiation and that this question was covered in Section 7.9.2 of the standard. The Commission further noted the proposal of the Federal Republic Germany that the maximum limit for lead should be reduced to 0.4 mg/kg and that for tin be reduced to 100 mg/kg. The Commission was informed that the limits included in the Draft Standard for Canned Mangoes and in other Codex Standards for processed fruits and vegetables had been temporarily endorsed and were under review pending further data on levels of contaminants becoming available.
Status of the Standard
365. The Commission adopted the Draft Standard for Canned Mangoes at Step 8 of the Procedure.
Draft Standard for Mango Chutney (ALINORM 87/20, Appendix VI)
366. In introducing this Standard, Dr. Houston (USA) informed the Commission that all written comments at Step 8 had been considered by the Codex Committee on Processed Fruits and Vegetables. He drew the Secretariat's attention to certain editorial matters relating to the Spanish version and to the comments of the Federal Republic of Germany concerning the use of irradiated ingredients which also applied to this product. The delegation of the Federal Republic of Germany understood that would exclude the use of irradiated products automatically.
367. The delegation of Tanzania referred to section 2.1 of the Draft Standard which provided for minimum mango fruit ingredient and questioned as to how such a provision could be verified. Furthermore, the delegation pointed out that the Standard neither included precise provisions for organoleptic properties nor methods of organoleptic examination. The Secretariat drew attention to the work of ISO on sensory analysis of foods and confirmed that the Codex Committee on Processed Fruits and Vegetables had not been able to suggest a method of analysis for mango fruit ingredients or at least a provision for drained weight for the basic ingredients. On the other hand a minimum requirement for total soluble solids had been included for the finished product. The delegation of Tanzania expressed the view that this represented a weakness of the standard and suggested that the matter be examined.
Status of the Standard
368. The Commission adopted the Draft Standard for Mango Chutney at Step 8 of the Procedure.
369. The delegation of Cuba drew attention to technical comments submitted to the Codex Committee on Processed Fruits and Vegetables on Canned Mangoes and Mango Chutney and noted that these had not been included in the Report of the Codex Committee. These comments had been resubmitted at Step 8 of the Procedure and were included in document ALINORM 87/38 - Part IV.
Standardization of Cashew Kernels
370. The Commission was informed by Dr. Houston that the Codex Committee on Processed Fruits and Vegetables, at its last Session, had decided to abandon further consideration of this product and had recommended that the existing proposed draft standard (ALINORM 85/20 Add 1) together with government comments received (CX/PFV 86/3) and all available material and any additional comments to be supplied by the USA, be referred to the ISO or to another appropriate body for review. The Committee had reached this decision in the absence of representation from the major producing countries and in the absence of expertise in this product during the session of the Committee.
371. The Commission agreed with the recommendation of the Committee.
Amendment of the Codex Standard for Canned Pineapple
372. The Commission was informed that the Committee had considered the matter referred to it by the last session of the Commission concerning the allowance in sub-section 2.2.4 of the Codex Standard for Canned Pineapple for “core material”. The matter had been raised by the delegation of Thailand which had indicated that the use of certain varieties of pineapple in the preparation of the canned product would cause difficulties in meeting either the provision for core material or for drained weight. The Codex Committee on Processed Fruits and Vegetables had recommended that an explanatory note should be added in section 2.2.4 of the canned pineapple standard to define core material as follows: “the hard fibrous centre portion of the fruit”.
373. The Commission adopted the proposed explanatory note for inclusion in the Standard for Canned Pineapple.
Revision of the Section on Labelling of Codex Standards for Processed Fruits and Vegetables
374. Dr. Houston informed the Commission that, following the adoption of the General Standard for the Labelling of Prepackaged Foods and guidelines on labelling directed to Codex Committees, the Codex Committee on Processed Fruit and Vegetable had reviewed the standards elaborated by it with the assistance of a Working Group. As the task had proved to be rather onerous requiring the examination of each individual Codex standard, the Committee had recommended that a consultant be engaged to prepare a detailed paper setting forth the wording of the amendments for each standard. This working paper would be handled by the Secretariats of the Committee and of the Commission in accordance with the adopted procedures, should the Committee adjourn sine die. The Commission was informed that a consultant had prepared such a paper and that a few minor amendments to be made by the Secretariat were required prior to its implementation.
375. The Commission agreed with the Procedure recommended by the Codex Committee on Processed Fruits and Vegetables for the review of the labelling provision in Codex Standards on processed fruits and vegetables.
Provision for Sulphur Dioxide in the Codex Standard for Raisins
376. The Commission noted that the Codex Committee on Food Additives and the Codex Committee on Processed Fruits and Vegetables had reviewed the technological justification for the use of sulphur dioxide for certain types of bleached raisins. As regards the maximum limits which had originally been proposed it had been agreed that it would be desirable to add an explanatory note in the Codex Standard indicating that the maximum limit was applicable immediately following treatment.
377. The Commission concurred with the recommendation of the Committee that such a note be included in the Codex Standard for Raisins.
Adjournment of the Committee Sine Die
378. Dr. Houston gave an outline of the work and history of the Codex Committee on Processed Fruits and Vegetables. He expressed the view that the Committee had been very productive and had contributed to international standardization of processed fruits and vegetables. It had agreed at its last session that its work assignment had now been completed and that it should be adjourned sine die.
379. The Commission expressed its appreciation to the Committee and to the Government of the USA for the valuable work on processed fruits and vegetables and concurred that the Committee be adjourned sine die.
Confirmation of the Chairmanship of the Committee
380. The Commission confirmed under Rule IX.10 that the Codex Committee on Processed Fruits and Vegetables should continue to be under the Chairmanship of the Government of the USA.
JOINT UNECE/CODEX ALIMENTARIUS GROUP OF EXPERTS ON STANDARDIZATION OF FRUIT JUICES
381. The Commission had before it the Report of the 17th Session of the Group of Experts (ALINORM 87/14, AGRI/WP.1/GE.4/16) and amendments proposed by governments to and comments on draft standards at Step 8 as contained in ALINORM 87/38, part II (FJ). The report was introduced by the Chairman of the Group of Experts, Professor Dr. W. Pilnik (Netherlands).
Consideration at Step 8 of Draft General Standard for Fruit Nectars Preserved Exclusively by Physical Means (ALINORM 87/14, Appendix II)
382. The Commission noted that the above Standard was developed with a view to providing those fruit nectars which were not covered by individual Standards. The Commission also noted that the Draft General Standard for Nectars included (i) a provision for sugar as an optional ingredient in nectars and (ii) provision for the declaration of use of concentrated fruit ingredient in the list of ingredients. The Commission was informed by Dr. Pilnik, Chairman of the Group of Experts, that certain developments in the field of nutrition had influenced the Group of Experts to make the provision for sugars optional in the general standard for nectars.
383. The delegation of Switzerland expressed the view that making the provision for sugar as an optional ingredient in the general standard for fruit nectar might significantly change the nature of fruit nectars. Also this would result in two classes of nectars: (i) nectars with sugars, and (ii) nectars without sugars which, in the opinion of the delegation should be described as “diluted fruit juices”. This view was supported by the delegation of Belgium.
384. While in general agreement with the standard, the delegations of Mexico, Thailand, India, Cuba, Argentina and Brazil informed the Commission that Clause 3.1 Minimum Fruit Content was not acceptable to them. The delegation of Brazil held the view that the minimum fruit content in nectars should not be established since it would vary significantly, dependent on the physical and chemical properties of fruits that might be used.
385. The observer of the European Community informed the Commission on Community directives on nectars with regard to (a) Minimum Fruit Content, (b) Sugar and (c) Labelling, and stated that the Community was presently considering to review its general standard for nectars with regard to sugar.
386. The delegations of Thailand and India brought the attention of the Commission to the forthcoming review of JECFA on the acute toxicity of tin at its next meeting to be held in 1988 and expressed the view that the tin content of fruit nectars and juices should be held at a level of 250 mg/kg until the new JECFA review was available. The delegation of the Federal Republic of Germany expressed its reservation for the tin content of 200mg/kg. In its view it should be 100 mg/kg.
387. The delegation of Argentina informed the Commission that in its view the country of origin should be included in the information contained on the label.
Status of the Standard
388. The Commission returned the Standard to Step 6 for further comments by governments and review.
Consideration at Step 5 of Draft General Standard for Fruit Juices preserved exclusively by Physical Means (ALINORM 87/14, Appendix III)
389. The Commission noted that the Group of Experts was developing the above Standard with a view to providing for those Fruit Juices which were not covered by individual Codex Standards. A significant difference from the earlier standards of fruit juices was in Provision 8.1.3 requiring the declaration of the use of concentrated fruit juice to make single strength juice not only in the list of ingredients but also in direct proximity of the name of the food or in another prominent position on the label.
390. The observer of the EEC informed the Commission that Community directives on fruit juices with regard to the use of sugar allowed the addition of sugar to fruit juices to correct acidity only. If sugar was used for sweetening of fruit juice, the resulting product should be labelled as “sweetened fruit juice”. The delegation of Switzerland was of the opinion that the Draft General Standard should not permit the addition of sugars.
Status of the Standard
391. The Commission advanced the Standard to Step 6 of the procedure and referred the technical comments received to the Group of Experts for consideration at its next session.
Consideration at Steps 5 and 8 of proposed Amendments to the Codex Standard for Apricot, Peach and Pear Nectar (CODEX STAN 44-1981) (ALINORM 87/14, Appendix IV)
392. The Commission noted that the Group of Experts sought comments from governments and international organizations on the proposed amendment to delete the provisions for hydroxymethylfurfural and related methodology from the Codex Standard for Apricot, Peach and Pear Nectar (CODEX STAN 44-1981) at Step 3 by CL 1985/43-FJ. The Group of Experts recommended that the amendment be adopted at Step 8 with the omission of Steps 6 and 7.
Status of Amendment
393. The Commission agreed with the views of the Group of Experts that hydroxymethylfurfural could not be used as a criteria to assess the quality of nectars and related products and adopted the amendment at Step 8 with the omission of Steps 6 and 7.
Proposals for the Elaboration of a General Standard for Vegetable Juice (ALINORM 87/14, paras 165-173a)
394. On the basis of background material on vegetable juices provided by the Fruit and Vegetable Association of the EEC, Federal Republic of Germany and Switzerland, a proposed Draft General Standard for Vegetable Juices and Vegetable Nectars (Appendix V, ALINORM 87/14) had been prepared by the Group of Experts which agreed to send it to governments for comments at Step 3, if the Commission approved that such a General Standard be elaborated.
395. The delegation of Belgium brought to the attention of the Commission the fact that the proposed draft standard elaborated by the Group of Experts (ALINORM 87/14, Appendix V) was applicable to both vegetable juices and vegetable nectars. The delegation stated that it would only support the elaboration of a general standard for vegetable juice. The delegations of Netherlands and Austria justified the need for elaboration of a general standard for vegetable juice since, in their view, international trade in vegetable juices was on the increase and time was ripe enough for elaboration of the standard on vegetable juices, the non-availability of which could at this stage hamper the growing trade.
396. The delegations of the United Kingdom and the USA opposed the elaboration of a standard for vegetable juices since in its view it did not meet the Codex criteria for establishment of work priorities. It pointed out to the Commission that elaboration of standards for vegetable juices was not within the terms of reference of the Joint UNECE/Codex Alimentarius Group of Experts on Standardization of Fruit Juices.
Status of the Standard
397. The representative of the Legal Counsel of FAO advised the Commission that pursuant to Part I, Steps 1, 2 and 3 of the Procedure for the Elaboration of Codex Standards, etc., the Commission decided which “subsidiary body or other body should undertake the work” of elaborating a World-wide Codex Standard. Whilst the Group of Experts was not a subsidiary body under the rules of the Commission, it was certainly an “other body” and thus the Commission could decide to assign to it the task of elaborating a standard which did not fall within the specific terms of reference of the Group. The Commission agreed that the Draft General Standard for Vegetable Juices and Vegetable Nectars elaborated by the Group of Experts at its 17th Session (ALINORM 87/14, Appendix V) be sent to governments and international organizations for comments at Step 3.