CODEX COORDINATING COMMITTEE FOR EUROPE (Agenda Item 18)
148. The Commission had before it ALINORM 89/19, the Report of the 16th Session of the Committee. The Report was introduced by Professor Herbert Woidich, the Coordinator for Europe and the Chairman of the Committee.
149. Professor Woidich informed the Commission of the most important points and activities which included the elaboration of regional standards.
Consideration at Step 8 of the Draft European Regional Standard for Mayonnaise
150. The Coordinator informed the Commission that the Committee, after a lengthy and detailed discussion, had arrived at the final elaboration of this standard while giving specific consideration to certain sections regarding methods of analysis and food additives.
151. The Delegation of Canada stated that it could not support the adoption of the Standard at Step 8 by the Commission, since these products were not traded exclusively or almost exclusively within the European Region. This position was supported by the delegation of the United States which stated its concern regarding the negative trading effects of regional standards if these products were not limited to a particular region. These products represent an important part of United States exports.
152. The Commission recalled that the procedure for the elaboration of regional Codex standards defined that when a draft standard was submitted to the Commission with a view towards adoption as a Codex Regional Standard, all members may present their comments, take part in the debate and propose amendments, but only the majority of members of the region concerned attending the Session could decide to amend and adopt the draft.
153. The Commission also recalled that it had requested the Secretariat to prepare a paper explaining the possibility of enlarging the scope and territorial application of its regional standards, and noted that the Procedural Manual recognized that regionally elaborated Codex standards could be applied outside the region for which they were intended, and in this case could be converted into world-wide standards by a process of review by the full membership of the Commission.
Status of the Standard
154. The Commission adopted the Regional European Standard for Mayonnaise at Step 8 of the Procedure.
Consideration at Step 5 of the Proposed Amendments to the Codex Regional European Standard for Natural Mineral Waters - Methods of Microbiological and Chemical Analysis
155. The Coordinator informed the Commission that the working group for microbiological and chemical methods for natural mineral waters should have prepared a final text on methods of analysis, based on the Second Progress Report on the collaborative study organized by GESEM (ALINORM 87/19, Appendix VI), taking into consideration all available government comments and information received. The final revised text was not produced, and for this reason it was impossible to submit the paper on Methods on Analysis to the Commission at Step 5. The Commission was also informed that a meeting on this matter had been organized by GESEM in Geneva, but the final text of methods of analysis was not yet available. The Coordinator proposed that GESEM should make the final text of the Methods of Analysis available to the Codex Secretariat in September to allow for comments from governments and interested international organizations before the 17th Session of the Coordinating Committee for Europe. These methods would then be submitted to the Commission in 1991 at Step 5.
156. This proposed procedure was accepted by the Commission, and the representative of GESEM confirmed that the final revised text of microbiological and chemical methods of analysis should be sent to the Codex Secretariat at the end of September.
Other matters arising from the Report of the 16th Session of the Committee
157. The Coordinator informed the Commission that the Committee had discussed the problems related to the dissemination of misleading information concerning the use of food additives, and on the basis of government comments, and of a draft proposal provided by the Government of Belgium. The statement adopted by the Committee concerning the work of Codex on food additives was transmitted to the Codex Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants (see also paras. 291–293 below).
158. The Coordinator referred to the Commission the revised labelling sections as adopted for natural mineral waters and fresh fungus “chanterelle”, with the request for adoption by the Commission. In this regard, the Delegation of Spain expressed its opposition to the section on Additional Labelling Requirements for natural mineral waters which, in its opinion, lead to confusion, since in Spanish legislation there was a clear distinction between natural mineral water and spring water.
159. The Commission agreed with the proposals presented by the Coordinator for Europe.
Appointment of Coordinator for Europe
160. On the proposal of the Coordinating Committee for Europe, the Commission re-appointed Professor H. Woidich (Austria) as Coordinator for Europe, to serve a second term from the end of the 18th Session to the end of the 19th Session of the Commission.
161. The Commission was informed by the Delegation of Austria that the Government of Austria had officially agreed to host the Seventeenth Session of the Coordinating Committee for Europe in Vienna from 28 May to 1 June 1990.
CODEX COORDINATING COMMITTEE FOR LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN (Agenda Item 19)
162. For this agenda item the Commission had before it two main documents: ALINORM 89/36, the Report of the 6th Session of the Codex Coordinating Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, and ALINORM 89/4, the Report of the 36th Session of the Executive Committee.
163. In presenting the documents, the Secretariat highlighted the main topics of the Session which was held on 20-26 February 1989 in San Jose, Costa Rica.
The Session was attended by delegations from 17 countries of the Region: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Barbados, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, and many observers. The Session was opened by the President of the Republic of Costa Rica, Dr. Oscar Arias Sanchez, who pointed out the role of Codex in the development of the economies of, and the cooperation between, the countries of the Region.
A second extended and improved draft of a Code of Hygienic Practice for Street-Vended Foods was discussed and adopted for circulation.
The Committee decided to redraft and update the World Standard for Raw Sugar.
Great support was expressed for the strengthening of export/import food control and consumer protection programmes. The Committee adopted the recommendations of an FAO/PAHO Workshop on that subject held immediately before the Session.
Real efforts had been made since the 5th Session of the Committee in harmonizing regional standards with those of Codex. Work in this area continued, with the involvement of the coordinating Secretariat, the two Regional Organizations (ICAITI and COPANT) and Member Countries.
The communication between the national Codex Committee of the Region was an important feature. A paper on Guidelines on Establishing National Codex Committees prepared by an FAO Consultant received wide support and was approved as a basis for a similar document to be adapted to the situation in the Region. On the initiative of the Regional Coordinator Lic. Maria Eugenia Chacón, a programme for sharing information between the national Codex Committees of the Region had been started.
Improvement of the Working Mechanism of the Codex Alimentarius Commission
164. As a follow-up on the decisions of the Commission on that matter at its 17th Session, the Committee was informed about the information provided by the Secretariat in the form of Summary of Conclusions and Recommendations and the Summary Status of Work which now accompany every Report of the Committees. The Committee did not agree with this format and requested the Secretariat to summarize the status of work and distribute it to Codex Contact Points as a separate document.
165. Since, in the opinion of the Secretariat, this would mean a duplication of work, and since the present system provides flexibility and a sure way of constant updating, the matter was referred to the Executive Committee. At its 36th Session, the Executive Committee noted that a “Work Programme” on the model of ISO was not appropriate to the Codex Programme, and agreed that only if there appeared to be a widespread problem in understanding the status of work by the existing arrangements, would there be need for further action.
166. The Delegation of Cuba pointed out that the decision of the Executive Committee at its 36th session to request the opinions of other Regional Coordinating Committees on the proposed “Work Programme” would be taken up by the CCLAC.
167. The Commission noted the comments of CCLAC and agreed with the decision of the Executive Committee.
World-wide Specification for Rice
168. The Committee supported the decision of the Codex Committee on Cereals, Pulses and Legumes that a world-wide Codex Standard for Rice should be prepared using the ISO specification as a base. The Committee decided to inform the Commission and the CCCPL.
169. The Delegation of Thailand recalled the decision taken at the 6th Session of the Coordinating Committee for Asia that there was no need for the elaboration of a separate Codex standard. The observer from ISO also raised the issue of duplication of efforts and pointed out that ISO would be willing to receive inputs from other organizations, including the Commission.
170. The Delegation of Cuba, supported by the Delegation of Brazil, stressed that the central agreement at both CCCLP and CCLAC had been that the ISO specification was not complete and that the Codex Standard would be more comprehensive.
Proposed Draft Standard for Raw Sugar (at Step 3)
171. The Commission had agreed at its 17th Session that Steps 1, 2 and 3 of the elaboration of a World-wide Standard for Raw Sugar would commence under the auspices of the Codex Coordinating Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, and that the Secretariat of the Codex Committee on Sugars would continue working on the proposed draft standard at Step 4 of the procedure. At its 6th Session, the Committee agreed to retain the draft at Step 3, to have a new updated draft prepared by Cuba in consultation with the Codex Committee on Sugar.
172. The Executive Committee at its 36th Session confirmed that the principal responsibility for elaborating this standard should rest with the World-wide Committee on Sugars. It agreed that the present draft standard should be returned to Step 2, redrafted and recirculated at Step 3 as the Coordinating Committee had proposed.
173. The Commission decided to refer the comments and views of the coordinating committees on the Rice Standard for consideration by the CCCPL and agreed with the decision of the Executive Committee concerning the Draft Standard for Raw Sugar.
Code of Hygienic Practice for Street-Vended Foods
174. The CCLAC considered a second draft of the Code completely revised by the delegation of Peru on the basis of discussions which took place at a World-wide FAO Expert Consultation organized in Indonesia in December 1988. The Committee decided to circulate the revised draft Code for comments at Step 3.
175. The Executive Committee at its 36th Session noted that both the Coordinating Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean and the Coordinating Committee for Asia had initiated work in this area. Noting that certain core elements of the Code would be common to similar codes prepared by other regional Coordinating Committees, the Executive Committee recommended that these core elements should be examined by the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene and that the individual coordinating committees should add to this core material the information that was specifically relevant to regional practices.
176. The Commission decided (a) that the proposed draft Code should be circulated at Step 3, (b) that the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene should be responsible for elaborating common core elements of a Code of Hygienioc Practice for Street-Vended Foods and coordinating the work on the regional versions of this Code.
177. The Commission noted the recommendations adopted by the Committee concerning the strengthening of import/export food control and consumer protection systems that might be useful for other Coordinating Committees in their work.
178. The Commission took note that the future work of the Committee would include:
follow-up on the Proposed Standard for Raw Sugar at Step 3 (Cuba in consultation with the UK Secretariat for the Codex Committee on Sugars);
Proposed Draft Code of Practice for Street-Vended Foods at Step 3 (Peru) (see also the report of the 36th Executive Committee);
Guidelines for the Establishment of National Codex Committees (Cuba in cooperation with the Secretariat);
Report on the progress of measures taken to harmonize regional food standards and Codex Standards (Cuba, COPANT, ICAITI and the Regional Coordinator).
179. The Commission agreed to refer for consideration by the corresponding Codex Committees the following proposals for elaboration of world-wide standards:
Governments proposing new work were urged to provide relevant background material and justification to the appropriate Committees so that the criteria for the initiation of new standards could be established.
Appointment of Coordinator
180. The Commission noted the nomination of Lic. María Eugenia Chacón Moroux of Costa Rica by the Coordinating Committee, suspended Rule II.4(a), and appointed Lic. Chacón as Coordinator for the Region of Latin America and the Caribbean to serve until the end of the Nineteenth Session of the Commission.
CODEX COMMITTEE ON GENERAL PRINCIPLES (Agenda Item 20)
181. The report of the Ninth Session of the Codex Committee on General Principles (ALINORM 89/33) was introduced by the Committee's Chairman, Prof. J.J. Bernier (France).
Composition of the Executive Committee (paras. 13-17, ALINORM 89/33)
182. The Commission recalled that it had, at its previous session, requested the Committee on General Principles to examine the composition and procedures of the Executive Committee, particularly with regard to regional representation (para 149, ALINORM 87/39). The CCGP, in studying the question, had concluded that there was no need to change the Rules of Procedure, but indicated that the practices of the CCEXEC had evolved, especially over recent years, such that its members which were the Representatives of geographical regions were more frequently accompanied by advisors at the Executive Committee's sessions. This was seen as a positive trend allowing more senior officials to take part in the Executive Committee's work.
183. The Commission concurred with this point of view and adopted the following understanding in respect of Rule III. 1, recommended to it by the Committee:
Except for the Chairman and the three Vice-Chairmen, the six further members of the Executive Committee elected by the Commission to represent the geographic locations are countries not individuals.
The delegate of a Member may be accompanied by not more than two advisors from the same geographic location.
Regional Coordinators shall be invited to attend meetings of the Executive Committee as observers.
Only members or, with the permission of the Chairman, observers, may take part in the discussions.
184. The Commission expressed its appreciation for the advice of the CCGP and agreed that the matter had been effectively resolved.
Matters Relating to the Acceptance of Codex Standards and Maximum Residue Limits
- Guidelines for the Acceptance of Codex Standards (ALINORM 89/33, Appendix III)
185. The Commission recalled that the Guidelines had been endorsed at its Seventeenth Session, but at that time the Commission also agreed that they should be sent to governments for comments and resubmitted to the present session of the Commission for adoption (paras. 142-143, ALINORM 87/39). The Committee on General Principles had made some minor changes, but more importantly it stated that Sections (b) through (d) of the section dealing with methods of analysis seemed to be overly restrictive. A footnote had been included to explain this, and to say that this section was subject to review by the Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling.
186. The Commission adopted the revised Guidelines for the Acceptance of Codex Standards for publication in the Procedural Manual.
- Acceptance of Standards by Regional Economic Groupings (ALINORM 89/33, Appendix II)
187. The Commission was informed that the Committee on General Principles had agreed on a text to be included in the Procedural Manual in the sections dealing with the Elaboration of Codex Standards, where follow-up procedures in relation to acceptance were described. The proposal of the Committee would allow regional economic groupings to accept in those cases where competence to accept had been transferred to them by their Member States.
188. The Observer from the EEC noted that the proposal as contained in document LIM. 8 before the Commission was a more precise statement of the Committee's intention and expressed his Organization's strong support for the proposals. He stated that this would strengthen the impact of Codex standards and be of great benefit to world trade to which the European Community was very much committed. The observer hoped to be able to notify the acceptance of some 30 Codex standards under the provisions contained in the proposals.
189. The Commission adopted the following texts for inclusion in the Procedural Manual, replacing the former corresponding texts:
The two last sentences in paragraph 1 of the Introduction to the Procedure for the Elaboration of Codex Standards and Codes of Practice, Codex Maximum Limits for Pesticide Residues to read as follows:
“The Codex Standard is published and is sent for acceptance to governments. It is also sent to international organizations to which competence in the matter has been transferred by their Member States. Details of acceptances are published periodically by the Commission's Secretariat”.
The second sentence of the first paragraph of “Subsequent Procedure Concerning Publication and Acceptance of Codex Standards” to read as follows:
“Members of the Commission and international organizations to which competence in the matter has been transferred by their Member States notify the Secretariat of the acceptance of the Codex standards in accordance with the acceptance procedure laid down in paragraph 4, paragraph 5, or in paragraph 6 of the General Principles of the Codex Alimentarius, whichever is appropriate.”
The second paragraph of “Subsequent Procedure Concerning Publication and Acceptance of Codex Standards” to read as follows:
“The Secretariat publishes periodically details of notifications received from governments and from international organizations to which competence in the matter has been transferred by their Member States with respect to the acceptance or otherwise of Codex Standards and in addition to this information in an appendix for each Codex Standard:
listing the countries in which products conforming with such standards may be freely distributed, and
where applicable, stating in detail all specified deviations which may have been declared in respect to the acceptance.”
- Procedures for Accelerated Elaboration of Standards and other Codex Texts (paras. 51–55, ALINORM 89/33)
190. The Commission recalled that the Executive Committee had, at its 34th Session (para. 28, ALINORM 87/4), asked the Committee on General Principles to determine what, if any, new procedures should be established or changes needed to be made, so that the Commission could respond to requests for guidance on standards or guidelines in an emergency situation.
191. The Committee had concluded that the Commission was not well-suited to providing immediate emergency advice, and that joint or coordinated expert advice from FAO and WHO was the essential starting point, following which the Executive Committee could take appropriate action. The Committee prepared the following Statement of Policy which the Commission adopted for future guidance should the need arise;
“Unforeseen emergency situations which may adversely affect health or international trade in foods are, by their very nature, unpredictable. However, FAO and WHO should respond with appropriate advice in the event of such emergencies. Both Organizations should act together to convene expert consultations, if necessary, to provide such advice and to disseminate quickly this information to member countries and interested international organizations.
At the request of any Member of the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission for information or assistance concerning an emergency situation, the FAO/WHO Codex Secretariat will seek the opinion of Members of the Codex Executive Committee as to the appropriate action needed; this could include rapid dissemination of available information or calling an expert consultation, and initiating discussions within the Codex framework.”
192. The Delegation of Poland stated that it was opposed to the accelerated procedures as proposed, and stated its preference for the presently-used procedures.
- Types of Acceptance for Maximum Limits for Pesticide Residues (paras. 88-94, ALINORM 89/33)
193. The Commission was informed that the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues at its 20th Session (para 29, ALINORM 89/24), had considered a report on acceptances of Codex Maximum Residue Limits and noted that the notification of “free entry” to be granted to foods in conformity with the MRL's was being increasingly favoured by countries which responded. The Committee had agreed that a re-orientation of the different types of acceptance was timely, and the matter was taken up by the Ninth Session of the Codex Committee on General Principles. This Committee had recommended that the forms of acceptance for maximum limits for pesticide residues should be limited to the following:
Full acceptance as currently defined; and
Free distribution, meaning that the country concerned undertakes that the products conforming to Codex MRL's may be freely distributed within its territorial jurisdiction insofar as matters covered by the MRL's are concerned.
194. In response to a question from the Delegation of Thailand, the Secretariat explained that a declaration of free distribution obliged countries to permit the entry of commodities in conformity with the MRL, provided that they met all other requirements of the national food law. The decision to indicate acceptance under these conditions rested with the country concerned following an examination of its own national food law provisions and the Codex MRL's.
195. The Committee also recommended that the use of Limited and Target acceptance in respect of MRL's be discontinued, and that the Procedural Manual should be amended accordingly. The Delegation of India stated that this recommendation could pose problems, as Indian MRL's tended to be more stringent than those of Codex.
196. The Commission adopted these recommendations of the Committee, and concurred with the Committee that declarations of non-acceptance contained valuable information for the use of governments and the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues and therefore requested the Secretariat to continue to invite governments to provide such information even if they could not accept the MRL. The Commission also agreed that the same procedures should apply to the acceptance of Codex MRL's for residues of veterinary drugs in foods.
Status of Codex Regional Standards and their Application (para. 48, ALINORM 89/33)
197. The Commission welcomed the recommendation of the Committee that a paper should be prepared, for the Commission's next session, outlining the possibility of enlarging the territorial scope and application of the regional standards adopted by the Commission.
Terms of Reference of Regional Coordinating Committees (paras. 44-50, ALINORM 89/33)
198. The Commission concurred with the views of the Committee that the terms of reference of Coordinating Committees should be aligned and that they should also include the mandate “to promote the acceptance of Codex standards and maximum residue limits by countries of the region”. It also agreed with the Executive Committee's proposals to align point (b) of the existing terms of reference.
199. The Delegations of Austria and Sweden noted the special situation within Europe, where the original idea of a Codex Alimentarius Europeus had pre-dated the establishment of the Commission, and the long legal traditions which would mean that adapting to a uniform system would be difficult. These Delegations stated that they would have difficulties in accepting point (d) of the proposed Terms of Reference.
200. The Commission, noting the opinions of several other delegations, agreed to adopt the following common terms of reference applicable to all Regional Coordinating Committees.
defines the problems and needs of the region(s) concerning food standards and food control
promotes within the committee contacts for the mutual exchange of information on proposed regulatory initiatives and problems arising from food control and stimulates the strengthening of food control infrastructures
recommends to the Commission the development of world-wide standards for products of interest to the region(s) including products considered by the committee to have an international market potential in the future
develops regional standards for food products moving exclusively or almost exclusively in intra-regional trade
draws the attention of the Commission to any aspects of the Commission's work of particular significance to the region(s)
promotes coordination of all regional food standards work undertaken by international governmental and non-governmental organizations within the region(s)
exercises a general coordinating role for the region(s) and such other functions as may be entrusted to it by the Commission
promotes the acceptance of Codex standards and maximum limits for residues by member countries.
Procedures for the Elaboration of Standards for Tropical Fresh Fruit and Vegetables (ALINORM 89/33, paras 56–73)
201. Prof. Bernier reported that the Codex Committee on General Principles had discussed in detail various aspects of procedures for the elaboration of Codex Standards for Tropical Fresh Fruits and Vegetables.
202. The Representative of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) drew attention to the work of the UNECE in harmonizing commercial quality standards for perishable produce. He noted that trade in such commodities, previously only between neighbouring countries, was now world-wide, with 80 per cent of the trade being absorbed by the countries of the UNECE region (Europe, USA and Canada). He stated that commercial operators were concerned at the possibility of having more than one standard applicable to each type of product, and that this could inhibit trade.
203. The Representative presented a number of proposals for additional activities relating to the development of rapid and transportable measuring devices for use by inspectors to check the quality characteristics of fruits and vegetables, such as acidity, or sugar content, and suggested that this should be the main work of the Codex Alimentarius Commission in this regard. He also proposed the use of Codex funds to ensure the participation of the Mexican Secretariat of the Codex Committee on Tropical Fresh Fruits and Vegetables at meetings of the UNECE, and the role of the Mexican Secretariat in organizing regional training courses on inspection procedures.
204. The Delegation of Switzerland supported the views of the Representative of the UNECE and drew attention to the two different forms of acceptance in the standards under preparation by Codex and UNECE. The Delegation called for close cooperation between the two groups. The Delegation of Poland also called for close cooperation, and drew attention to the need to avoid duplication.
205. The Chief of the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme pointed out that the role of the Codex Committee on Tropical Fresh Fruits and Vegetables had been discussed over a long period of time, and that it had been approved and was now in progress. He also pointed out that the use of the Programme's resources for the types of activities proposed by the Representative of the UNECE was not possible, although FAO, through its Regular Programme continued to sponsor training activities and the development of inspection programmes in many countries. He also drew attention to the fact that the Rules of Procedure of the Commission prevented the use of the Programme's funds for the travel of national delegations. Finally, he pointed out that the Programme had ensured the widest possible distribution of relevant UNECE and OECD draft standards and related documents in order to ensure that all countries would be informed of the work of these two bodies, and encouraged active UNECE participation in the work of the Codex Committee on Tropical Fresh Fruits and Vegetables.
206. The Delegation of the USA expressed its concern at the work of a regional organization in preparing standards which were intended for international application. The Delegation stated that standards should be developed with the participation of both importing and exporting countries and that the global Codex Alimentarius Commission was the appropriate forum for this. The Delegation furthermore stated that the role of the Commission was to facilitate trade as well as to protect health and consumers and required the coordinated work of government departments for agriculture, health, industry, trade, standards, all of which were represented in Codex delegations, working closely with consumers and the food industry.
207. The Delegation of Cuba expressed its opposition to the resolution of the 43rd Session of the UNECE specifically the part where the Commission was requested to ensure “that standards for fruits and vegetables considered as “exclusively” tropical be established without mention, either in the definition nor in any chapter of the standards, of this fact.” This request had been noted, but not agreed to, by the Codex Committee on General Principles.
208. The Commission noted the points raised in the above discussion and agreed to refer them to the Codex Committee on Tropical Fresh Fruits and Vegetables.
Endorsement of Matters Arising from the Third Session of the Codex Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods (CCRVDF)
209. The Commission noted that matters for endorsement arising from the CCRVDF Session were discussed at the Ninth Session of the Codex Committee on General Principles (CCGP), (paragraphs 74–87, ALINORM 89/3), and at the 36th Executive Committee Session (para. 36 ALINORM 89/4).
Proposed Definitions for “Maximum Residue Level” (MRL) and “Good Practices in the Use of Veterinary Drugs” (GPVD)
210. The Commission noted that the definition for MRL had been considered by the Second and Third Session of the CCRVDF, as well as at the recent sessions of the CCGP and the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee had agreed that the different approaches used by the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues and the CCRVDF in establishing maximum residue limits was justified, and recommended that the two different definitions be maintained. The Executive Committee had also noted the difference in terminology (maximum residue level/maximum residue limit) between the two Committees, and agreed that the same acronym for these terms (i.e. MRL) might possibly lead to confusion.
211. The Delegation of the Netherlands expressed the opinion that the methodology for the determination of residue levels should be coordinated between CCRVDF and CCPR, and that the CCRVDF definition should take good veterinary practice into account. The Delegations of Sweden and New Zealand stated that the different approaches used in establishing these limits were acceptable, but could not accept the use of identical acronyms. The use of the previous term proposed by CCRVDF, “Acceptable Residue Level”, was also suggested by the Delegation of New Zealand.
212. The Delegations of Iraq, Nigeria, Singapore and Belgium also expressed support for the use of the same terms (i.e. limits) for pesticide and veterinary drug residues in order to prevent confusion. The Delegation of Switzerland noted that different methodology made no difference to consumers, as the CCRVDF and consumers would only be concerned with establishing “maximums” for purposes of regulatory control. The Delegation of Denmark proposed that the question be referred back to the CCRVDF, or at least discussed within the context of the Agenda Item dedicated to the reports of that Committee.
213. The Delegation of the United States summarized the history of this issue, and noted that the 17th Commission Session rejected use of the term “Acceptable Residue Level” and had decided to propose a definition different from that promulgated by CCPR only after detailed discussion on methodology. The United States suggested the terms “Maximum Residue Limit for Pesticides” (MRLP) and “Maximum Residue Limit for Veterinary Drugs” (MRLVD) as a compromise solution. The Delegations of New Zealand, Norway, Thailand, Canada and the United Kingdom supported this suggestion.
214. The Commission decided to adopt the proposed definition for “maximum residue level” (Appendix III, ALINORM 89/31A) with the understanding that the name of the definition will be changed to read “Maximum Residue Limit for Veterinary Drugs”. The Commission also adopted the proposed definition for “Good Practices in the Use of Veterinary Drugs”, (Appendix III, ALINORM 89/31A).
Proposed Procedure for the Elaboration of Codex Maximum Residue Limits for Veterinary Drugs
215. The Commission decided to adopt the elaboration procedures as proposed (Appendix IVA, ALINORM 89/31A), with the understanding that Steps 6 and 7 may be omitted on the basis of a two-thirds majority of votes cast in the Commission.
Proposed Procedure for the Elaboration of Codex Maximum Residue Limits for Veterinary Drugs -Introductory Section
216. The Commission adopted the elaboration procedures - introductory section as proposed (Appendix IVB, ALINORM 89/31A), with the understanding that steps 6 and 7 may be omitted on the basis of a two-thirds majority of votes cast in the Commission. The Commission also noted that this Section had previously been revised (see paras. 187-189) with regard to the acceptance of standards by regional economic groupings.
Proposed Procedure for the Acceptance of Codex Maximum Residue Limits for Veterinary Drugs
217. The Commission agreed to endorse the acceptance procedures as proposed (Appendix V, ALINORM 89/31), with the understanding that the changes adopted by the Commission regarding the types of acceptance for maximum limits for pesticide residues (see paras. 193-196) would also be applied to the acceptance procedures for veterinary drug residues.
Strengthening the Activities of the Codex Alimentarius Commission to Coordinate Work on Food Standards Undertaken by Other International Organizations (ALINORM 89/33, paras. 98–102)
218. The Commission adopted the following recommendations of the Codex Committee on General Principles:
to encourage regional standardizing bodies which find it necessary to work in the field of foods to adopt international Codex standards and to modify existing standards to bring them into conformity with Codex standards;
to authorize the Secretariat to enter into agreements with such standardizing bodies so as to allow them to publish Codex standards as joint standards, provided that the texts are identical;
to request all international and regional standardizing bodies to notify the Secretariat of all activities related to the elaboration of food standards, so that this information could be summarized and transmitted to Codex Contact Points on a regular basis.
Confirmation of Chairmanship
219. In accordance with Rule IX.10, the Commission confirmed that the Government of France should continue as Chairman and host government of the Codex Committee on General Principles.
CODEX COMMITTEE ON PESTICIDE RESIDUES (Agenda Item 21)
220. The Commission had before it the reports of the 20th and 21st Sessions of the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues (ALINORM 89/24 and 24A and Addenda)
221. The reports were introduced by the new Chairman of the Committee, Dr. J.van der Kolk, who took over chairmanship of the Committee from the 21st Session. The Commission accepted the suggestion to deal with general issues first (see also ALINORM 89/21).
The Work of the Committee and Health Protection
222. The Commission was informed that the Committee had stated firmly that its work in recommending maximum residue limits (MRLs) took fully into account questions relating to health (paras 6-7, 10 ALINORM 89/24). For example, over the years, results of national and international monitoring programmes placed before the Committee had indicated that actual residue intakes were significantly below ADIs. The Guidelines for Predicting Dietary Intake of Pesticide Residues developed by UNEP/FAO/WHO Food Contamination Monitoring Programme and WHO's collaboration in providing estimates of pesticide residue intakes were intended to provide additional assurance concerning safety to consumers. The seminar on good agricultural practice (GAP) held prior to the 20th Session of the Committee, had resulted in new proposed Codex definitions of Good Agricultural Practice and Maximum Residue Limit embodying health considerations. Furthermore, the Committee had initiated a review of all pesticides evaluated ten or more years ago.
223. The Delegation of Finland welcomed these activities which served to take health questions better into account, and hoped that they could continue.
224. The Commission agreed with the views of the Committee that Codex MRLs represented safe limits and that health considerations played an important role in setting MRLs. It stressed the need for providing estimates of residue intake on the basis of the Guidelines in collaboration with FAO and WHO.
Classification of Foods and Animal Feeds
225. The Commission noted that the Committee had finalized the above Classification in consultation with the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR) as an essential reference document which should be published. The Committee had expressed the view that the Classification might also be useful to other Codex Committees in dealing with contaminants or residues of veterinary drugs (para 57, ALINORM 89/24; paras 72-76, ALINORM 89/24A).
226. The Commission noted the purpose and function of the Classification in defining food and feed commodities and classes of such commodities and in providing instructions on the setting and application of MRLs to commodities. It agreed that the Classification should be published as part of the revised Codex Alimentarius.
Methods of Sampling for Determination of Pesticide Residues
227. On the recommendation of the 20th Session of the CCPR (para 216, ALINORM 89/24), the Commission adopted the following changes to the Recommended Method of Sampling included in Part VI of the Codex Alimentarius Volume XIII.
In the paragraph dealing with taking of ‘primary sample’ - replace the phrase 'as far as possible' with 'as far as practicable';
In the definition of 'lot' - add the following footnote: “The identification of a lot would be greatly facilitated by the use of farmer and packer codes”.
228. The Commission also advanced the Draft Method of Sampling for the Determination of Pesticide Residues in Meat and Poultry Products (App. II, ALINORM 89/24A) to Step 6 of the Procedure. The opinion was expressed that the sampling plans might also be suitable for other committees dealing with contaminants and residues in animal products.
Guidelines for Predicting Dietary Intakes of Pesticide Residues
229. The Commission was informed that the “Guidelines for Predicting Dietary Intake of Pesticide Residues” had been published by WHO in English and that the French and Spanish versions would be available later in 1989. (see also para 222 above). It agreed that no further publication as a Codex document was necessary (para 243, ALINORM 89/24A and para 48, ALINORM 89/3).
Industrial and Environmental Contaminants
230. The Commission noted that the CCPR had agreed to continue to provide advice on methods of analysis and, possibly, monitoring data to the Codex Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants, to which responsibility for all environmental contaminants had been transferred by the Commission (paras. 260–261, ALINORM 89/24).
Definitions of 'Good Agricultural Practice' (GAP) and 'Maximum Residue Limit' (MRL)
231. The Commission recalled its conclusions concerning the question of consumer safety in relation to setting Codex MRLs (see paras. 222–224 above), and also its conclusions concerning the definition of maximum residue limit for veterinary drug residues in food (see para. 214 above). It endorsed the definitions proposed by the CCPR for inclusion in the Codex Alimentarius (see paras. 69–71, ALINORM 89/24A).
Recommendations concerning Pesticide Residue Problems in Developing Countries
232. In introducing this item the Chairman of the CCPR indicated that often appropriate information on residues from developing countries were either not generated or, if available, not supplied to the Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues. The purpose of the recommendations included in paras. 252-268 and Appendix IV, ALINORM 89/24A were intended to redress this situation and to encourage discussions on pesticide residue questions in Codex Coordinating Committees and other appropriate regional meetings. The Netherlands intended to continue providing Spanish interpretation at sessions of the Committee. The Chairman of the Commission noted that FAO and other UN Agencies and International Organizations had many programmes aimed at providing technical assistance to developing countries in the field of pesticides and their residues.
233. The Commission noted the recommendations of the CCPR contained in Appendix IV, ALINORM 89/24A and also noted the multitude of programmes providing technical assistance to developing countries mentioned above. It encouraged discussion of pesticide residue problems together with other issues related to food control by Codex Coordinating Committees.
Recommendations for Methods of Analysis
234. The Commission noted that the Committee had prepared an up-dated list of methods of residue analysis and authorized its publication as a Codex document.
235. The Delegation of China referred to para 211 of the report of the 20th Session of the Committee (ALINORM 89/24) in which reference was made to the need for simple, rapid, multiresidue methods. The Chief of the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme informed the Commission of a project in China in which, among others, appropriate simplified residue methods would be developed in cooperation with interested bodies, including industry. A consultation was also being planned on this subject.
236. The Delegation of China also referred to a previous request that Codex MRLs for low-fat meat products (eg. rabbit meat) should be expressed on a whole product, rather than fat basis. The Secretariat pointed out that the Codex Classification of Foods and Feeds reflected the suggestion of China. However, the Codex document dealing with the portion of commodities to which Codex MRLs applied (Vol. XIII of the Codex Alimentarius) had to be brought into line with the Classification. Furthermore, existing Codex MRLs for meat products expressed on a fat basis had not been reviewed in relation to lean meat products.
Collaboration between Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues (CCPR) and Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR)
237. The Chairman of the CCPR stressed the importance of this collaboration which facilitated the work of the CCPR considerably. He thanked FAO and WHO for their continued support of the Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues.
Draft Maximum Residue Limits at Steps 5 and 8 of the Codex Procedure
238. The Commission had before it draft MRLs at Steps 5 and 8 of the procedure, including uncontroversial MRLs at Step 5 where the CCPR had recommended the omission of Steps 6 and 7 (ALINORM 89/24 - Add 1 and Add 3; ALINORM 89/24A - Add 1). The Commission also had before it comments from some Governments included in ALINORM 89/32 - Part V and in Conference Room Documents LIM 1 and LIM 15.
239. The Chairman of the CCPR indicated that the nature of the comments received were not such as to prevent advancing the MRLs in the Codex Procedure, but that they should be referred to the CCPR and JMPR for information.
240. The Delegation of France was of the opinion that those draft MRLs which were based on data older than ten years should be reconsidered. The Chairman of the CCPR recalled that a review of pesticides evaluated ten or more years ago was in progress in collaboration with the JMPR.
Status of Draft MRLs
241. The Commission (a) adopted MRLs at Step 8 as Codex MRLs; (b) agreed to the omission of Steps 6 and 7 where this had been recommended by the CCPR for proposed Draft MRLs at Step 5 and adopted them at Step 8 as Codex MRLs; and (c) Advanced Proposed Draft MRLs at Step 5 to Step 6 of the Procedure as Draft MRLs.
Proposed substantive and non-substantive Amendments to Codex Maximum Residue Limits
242. The Commission had before it proposed amendments to Codex MRLs contained in ALINORM 89/24 - Add 2 and in ALINORM 89/24A (identified by means of notes). A correction was made to document ALINORM 89/24 - Add 2 by adding carbaryl to paragraph 1.
243. The Commission noted that all changes were non-substantial except for the withdrawal of the MRLs for chlordimeform as a result of the withdrawal of the ADI of this pesticide by the JMPR. It adopted the proposed amendments and agreed to withdraw all Codex MRLs for chlordimeform. On the suggestion of the Chairman of the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues, it also agreed to change the commodity description 'chicory' to chicory leaves' for thiometon.
244. The Delegation of Switzerland was of the opinion that the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues should examine modern trends in agriculture involving minimal use of pesticides. The Chairman of the Commission expressed the view that a paper might be prepared for the Committee on the subject of integrated pest management insofar as residues are concerned. The Chairman of the Committee stated that Good Practices in Agriculture were continuously changing, and that the Committee would not be in a position to influence practices in individual countries. The Committee could only consider changing or withdrawing MRLs in the light of changes in Good Agricultural Practices. The Delegate from Austria indicated that the question of current practices in the use of pesticides would be discussed by the Coordinating Committee for Europe in relation to the question of 'organically produced foods' (para 111, ALINORM 89/19). A report would be submitted to the next session of the Commission.
245. The commission noted that the Committee would continue to monitor changes in Good Agricultural Practices as part of its ongoing review and would consider any reports on the subject from governments and various organization on this subject.
Confirmation of Chairmanship
246. 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 RESIDUES OF VETERINARY DRUGS IN FOODS (Agenda Item 22)
247. The Commission had before it working papers ALINORM 89/31 and 89/31A, which summarized matters of interest arising from the second and third sessions of CCRVDF. These reports were introduced by the Committee's Chairman, Dr. Gerald B. Guest (USA).
248. The Commission reconfirmed its adoption of the definitions for “Maximum Residue Limits for Veterinary Drugs” (MRLVD) and “Good Practice in the Use of Veterinary Drugs” (GPVD), (see paras. 210-214 above). The Commission also reconfirmed the adoption of both the elaboration procedures (see paras. 215-216 above) and the acceptance procedure (see para. 217 above) for the establishment of maximum residue limits for veterinary drugs. The Chairman of the Committee thanked the Commission for its efforts and cooperation in approving these items.
Consideration of Recommended Maximum Residue Limits for Veterinary Drugs at Step 5 (paras. 66–81 and Appendix V, ALINORM 89/31A)
249. The Chairman of CCRVDF indicated that the Committee, at its third session, had agreed to advance the recommended MRLs for Chloramphenicol, Estradiol 17-beta, Progesterone, Testosterone, and Zeranol to step 5 of the Codex Procedure for consideration by the Commission. The Commission noted that no action was required concerning trenbolone acetate, as it was re-evaluated at the 34th JECFA Session and was currently being circulated for comments at Step 3.
250. The Commission also noted that the member states of the EEC present at the third session of the CCRVDF did not find it appropriate to examine further in the Codex system recommendations for proposed draft Codex MRLs for residues resulting from the use of those substances used for fattening purposes. The Committee had noted the position of the EEC member states, but had also recognized the use of these substances in other Codex member countries and therefore, decided to advance the MRLs to step 5 for the Commission's consideration.
251. The Delegations of Tanzania and France sought clarification concerning the significance of the ADI and MRL evaluation of “not allocated” for Chloramphenicol. The WHO Joint Secretary of JECFA noted that these levels were established as not allocated because it was not possible to give an assurance that residues of this substance would be safe for sensitive subjects who could develop aplastic anaemia. However, it was recognized that new and relevant data could be considered in the future. The Delegation of Norway was also reassured that CCRVDF concerns regarding the use of the term “unnecessary” when establishing MRLs was thoroughly discussed at the 34th JECFA Session, where it was decided that the current footnote explaining the definition of this term was thought to be appropriate for clarification purposes.
252. The Commission also agreed with the Delegation of Nigeria, who stressed the importance of providing training to developing countries in the establishment of methods for the determination and detection of these residues. The Delegation also drew attention to the interaction of residues of pharmacologically-active substances in foods with the same or similar substances being taken by humans for therapeutic or prophylactic purposes. It was noted that these were important ongoing activities of FAO, WHO and the Committee.
253. The Committee adopted the proposed recommended maximum residue limits as submitted by the Committee at Step 5 of the Codex procedure.
Confirmation of the Chairmanship of the Committee
254. The Commission confirmed under Rule IX.10 that the Codex Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods should continue to be under the Chairmanship of the Government of the United States of America.
CODEX COMMITTEE ON FOOD LABELLING (Agenda Item 23)
255. The Chairman of the Codex Committee on Food Labelling Mr. R.H. McKay (Canada), introduced the report of the Twentieth Session of the Committee (ALINORM 89/22) which had been held in Ottawa, in April 1989.
Consideration of the Draft Revised General Guidelines on Claims at Step 5 (ALINORM 89/22, Appendix V)
256. The Chairman of the Committee recalled that in the Committee's discussion of this topic, attention had been drawn to the Commission's decision at its 16th and 18th sessions that there was no need to initiate work on a Code of Practice on Advertising. The Commission had, however, concurred with the opinion of the Legal Counsels of FAO and WHO that problems related to advertising could be discussed by the Committee.
257. The Delegation of the United States reaffirmed its opinion that references to advertising should not be included in the Guidelines on Claims, as the opinion of the Legal Counsels did not extend to the Committee the authority to elaborate standards or other texts related to advertising.
Status of the Draft Revised Guidelines
258. The Commission adopted the Draft Revised Guidelines at Step 5.
Proposed Amendment, at Step 5, of Section 5.2.1 (Irradiated Foods) of the General Labelling Standard and Section 7.2 (Irradiated Food Additives) of the General Standard for the Labelling of Food Additives when Sold as Such (ALINORM 89/22, paras. 15–24)
259. The Commission was informed that the Committee had debated, at considerable length, proposals to amend the General Standard for the Labelling of Prepackaged Foods (CODEX STAN 1-1985) to provide for the use of clear text to indicate whether or not a food had been irradiated, and the optional additional use of a logo if desired. The Committee had advanced the Amendment to Step 5 and had proposed the omission of Steps 6 and 7.
260. The Delegation of India stated that the use of a logo or symbol should be compulsory in the labelling of irradiated foods.
261. The Delegation of the Federal Republic of Germany, supported by those of Austria, Denmark and Sweden, and the Representative of IOCU, stated that the amendment required further discussion, especially in the light of Section 22.214.171.124 of the General Standard which allowed that the ingredients of composite foods need not be specifically listed where the composite food itself was an ingredient of the final food at a level less than 25 per cent. The Representative of IOCU stated that this section required reexamination, not only in relation to irradiated foods. The Delegation of the United Kingdom expressed the view that the proposed amendment represented a pragmatic solution to a long-standing problem. Contrary to this view, the Delegation of the Federal Republic of Germany expressed the view that the “25 per cent rule” did not provide full information and therefore could mislead the consumer.
Status of the Proposed Draft Amendments
262. The Commission adopted the Draft Amendments at Step 5 only.
Proposed Draft List of Class Titles for Food Additives (ALINORM 89/22, paras. 9–11)
263. The Committee had proposed that the List of Class Titles for Food Additives, prepared at the 21st Session of the Codex Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants should be used to replace the present list contained in Section 126.96.36.199 of the General Standard.
264. The Commission approved the initiation of the amendment procedure as requested by the Committee.
Proposals Concerning the Endorsement of Labelling Provisions in Codex Standards (ALINORM 89/22, paras. 25–30)
265. The Committee had recommended that the proposals of the Executive Committee (ALINORM 89/3, para. 29) to simplify and facilitate the endorsement procedures used by the Committee, should be adopted by the Commission. These procedures requested Commodity Committees to:
incorporate, by reference, the general texts adopted by the Commission in relation to food labelling and food hygiene into Codex standards, and consider only requests for exemptions or exclusions on an ad hoc basis;
establish comprehensive, general texts which also could be incorporated by reference in other areas, in preference to endorsing provisions on an individual basis;
make exclusions or exemptions to the general requirements only where adequately justified.
266. The Commission approved the revised endorsement procedures.
Proposals for Amendments to the Codex Guidelines on Labelling Provisions in Codex Standards (ALINORM 89/22, Appendix IV)
267. The Committee had agreed that most sections of the current Guidelines repeated those contained in the General Standard and in only a few cases provided additional relevant guidance to the Codex Committees. The Committee agreed to withdraw the majority of current labelling guidelines and to retain relevant sections for inclusion into the section of the Procedural Manual addressing relations between other Codex Committees and CCFL. This proposal was intended to replace the current “Guidelines on Food Labelling” in the Procedural Manual. The proposal had been transmitted to the Ninth Session of the Codex Committee on General Principles, which had noted these proposals (paras. 103-104 of ALINORM 89/33) and had agreed that the revision of the Procedural Manual section dealing with relations between Codex Commodity Committees and General Subject Committees should also include a reference to the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses in regard to endorsement.
268. The Commission adopted the amended Procedural Manual Section concerning “Relations Between Commodity Committees and General Committees”, and agreed that they should include a reference to the CCNFSDU.
Proposed Draft Standard for Labelling of and Claims for Low-Energy and Reduced-Energy Foods
269. The Commission endorsed the decision of the Executive Committee (paras. 37 and 38, ALINORM 89/4) with respect to the Proposed Draft Standard for the Labelling of and Claims for Low-Energy and Reduced-Energy Foods, which stated that the Codex Committee on Food Labelling should be entrusted with the future elaboration of this standard and emphasized that the CCFL held the primary responsibility for consideration of nutritional claims. It also stated that the Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses should retain the responsibility of advising the CCFL on what levels for reduction or increase of a nutritional component should qualify for the use of an appropriate nutrient descriptor.
Endorsement of Labelling Provisions in Codex Standards
270. The Commission noted, with approval, the endorsement of the Labelling Provisions of 42 Standards by the Committee, in conformity with the revised procedures for endorsement.
Recommended Nutrient Reference Values for Labelling Purposes (ALINORM 89/22, paras. 84–95, Appendix VI)
271. The Committee had received the report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Recommended Dietary Intakes for Labelling Purposes, which had been held in Helsinki in September 1988 (see para. 39 above). The Committee had agreed with the principal conclusions of this report, and had also agreed to amend Section 3.3.4 of the Codex Guidelines on Nutrition Labelling to include the Nutrient Reference Values recommended by the consultation. The Commission noted that this Section had not been finalized at the time when the Guidelines were adopted, but remained under review.
272. Several Delegations including those of Belgium, Federal Republic of Germany, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, were of the opinion that amendment of the Guidelines to incorporate the Nutrient Reference Values was premature, as Governments had not had time to comment fully on the Expert Consultation's report. Other delegations, including those of Denmark, Finland and Switzerland, supported the amendment of the Guidelines as proposed, stating that it was always the intention of the Commission to keep Section 3.3.4 up-to-date by use of the most recent FAO/WHO recommended values, and strongly supported the inclusion of the Nutrient Reference Values in the Guidelines.
273. The Commission, noting that governments had been invited to comment on the report of the Expert Consultation, decided on the one hand to send a Circular Letter to Governments to determine their views on the recommendations of the Expert Consultation, and on the other hand agreed to refer the matter back to the Committee for further consideration.
Confirmation of Chairmanship of the Committee
274. The Commission confirmed the Government of Canada as Chairman of the Committee under Rule IX.10 of the Rules of Procedure.
275. Following the intervention of several delegations, the Delegation of Canada undertook to examine the possibility of convening a full session of the Committee in the period between the present session of the Commission and the Commission's 19th Session. The Delegation of Canada stated that it would advise the Secretariat as soon as possible of the date and venue of the Committee's next session.
CODEX COMMITTEE ON FOOD ADDITIVES AND CONTAMINANTS (Agenda Item 24)
276. The Commission had before it the reports of the 20th and 21st Sessions of the Codex Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants (ALINORM 89/12 and 89/12A). The reports were introduced by Mr. Feberwee (Netherlands), Chairman of the Committee.
277. 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 and Contaminants that were of interest to the Commission.
Consideration at Steps 5 and 8 of Draft Guidelines for Simple Evaluation of Food Additive Intake (ALINORM 89/12A, Appendix IV)
278. The Committee at its 21st Session had finalized the text of the Guidelines for Simple Evaluation of Food Additive Intake. The Guidelines which proposed the use of food consumption data as the basis for determining food additive intake, were prepared in response to requests from governments for simple and inexpensive methods for estimating intakes of food additives.
279. The Commission noted that the Committee did not follow the Codex Step Procedure while elaborating the guidelines. The text had however been submitted twice to governments for their comments and the 21st Sessions of CCFAC considered these as comments at Step 3 and advanced the guidelines to step 5 with a recommendation for omission of Steps 6 and 7.
Status of the Guidelines
280. The Commission adopted the Guidelines for Simple Evaluation of Food Additive Intake at Step 8 as an advisory text and expressed the view that the Guidelines would prove useful to all Member Countries for estimations of food additive intake among their populations.
Consideration at Step 5 of Proposed Draft Guideline Levels for Vinychloride Monomer and Acrylonitrile in Foods and Food Packaging Material and for Methyl Mercury in Fish (ALINORM 89/12A, Appendix X)
Draft Guideline Levels for Vinylchloride Monomer (VCM) and Acrylonitrile (ACN) in Foods and Food Packaging Materials
281. The Delegation of USA informed the Commission that while it had no opposition for the advancement of the guideline levels for VCM and ACN in the Codex Step Procedure, it would not be in a position to accept the guideline levels without suitable sampling plans and validated methods of analysis.
282. The Commission noted that methods for estimation of VCM in packaging material and in food and accepted by the European Economic Community were available in the EEC Directive 80/766/CEE and 81/432/CEE and that the Committee was seeking information on sampling plans as well as alternate methodology for estimation of migrants (ALINORM 89/12A, para. 138) by a circular letter.
Status of the Guideline Levels
283. The Commission adopted the draft guideline levels for VCM and ACN in food and food packaging materials at Step 5 and advanced them to Step 6.
Draft Guideline Levels for Methyl Mercury in Fish
284. The Commission recalled the discussion it had had on the subject at its 17th Session (ALINORM 87/39, paras. 223-224) and noted that the 35th Session of the Executive Committee proposed that guideline levels for total methyl mercury rather than for total mercury in fish should be elaborated (ALINORM 89/3, para. 43).
285. The Committee at its 21st Session noted that most of the mercury in fish was present in the organic form and proposed the same guideline levels that it had proposed at its 19th Session, i.e. 0.5 mg/kg methyl mercury for fish in general and 1.0 mg/kg methyl mercury for predatory fish and advanced the guideline levels to Step 5 of the Codex Procedure (ALINORM 89/12A, para. 134).
286. The Delegation of the USA informed the Commission of the need for a review of the practicality and the scientific basis of the guidelines levels by the Codex Committee on Fish and Fishery Products (CCFFP). The Chairman of CCFFP reminded the Commission of the views of the Committee as contained in ALINORM 87/18 (paras 263–270) and ALINORM 89/18 (paras.18–22) and expressed his view that it would be desirable for CCFFP to consider whether there was a need to establish guideline levels for methyl mercury in fish.
Status of the Guideline Levels
287. The Commission adopted the draft guideline levels for Methyl Mercury in Fish at Steps 5 and advanced them to Step 6 and agreed that these should be reviewed by the Codex Committee on Fish and Fishery Products at its next session.
Consideration at Step 5 of Draft Specifications of Identity and Purity of Food Additives
Status of Specifications
288. The Commission adopted the Specifications of Identity and Purity of Food Additives in Categories I and II of Appendix VII to ALINORM 89/12 as advisory texts not subject to acceptance.
Publication of JECFA/Codex Specifications
289. The Chief of the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme informed the Commission that efforts were being made to avoid duplication of work and the expense of publishing two different sets of specifications. He informed the Commission that efforts were presently underway which would bring together all JECFA specifications into one single publication. It was proposed to have this publication in a loose leaf format which is expected to be available for circulation before the end of 1990. All JECFA Specifications which have been adopted by the Commission as Codex advisory specifications will be so indicated in the publication. Comments from governments and industry as well as from the Codex Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants would be considered by JECFA expeditiously while undertaking revision of specifications which had not been adopted by the CAC. By following such a procedure it was hoped that over the next few years all JECFA specifications would be adopted as Codex Advisory Specifications.
290. The Chairman of CCFAC appreciated the very constructive proposals put forward by the Chief of the Joint Food Standards Programme and proposed that these should be discussed further at the next session of the Codex Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants.
Other Matters Arising from the Reports of the 20th and 21st Sessions of the Committee
Statement on the Use of Food Additives in Food (ALINORM 89/12A, Appendix II)
291. The Commission recalled the discussions on the subject at its 17th Session, at which it requested the Coordinating Committee for Europe to study the various documentation on misleading information on food additives submitted by several governments and to consider a coordinated approach (ALINORM 87/39, paras. 199-201). The Committee at its 21st Session, revised the statement prepared by the Coordinating Committee for Europe and agreed that member governments would be free to use it as an official statement from the Commission, following its adoption.
292. The Delegation of the USA brought the attention of the Commission to (e) of the General Principles for the Use of Food Additives contained in the statement and took the position that the justification for the use of a food additive needed only to be based on justification of technological need and the establishment of its safety. The Delegation of Belgium stated that this was, in fact, already provided for in the General Principles for the Use of Food Additives.
293. The WHO Joint Secretary proposed the addition to the text under General Principles for the Use of Food Additives of (e) “to maintain the safety of food by inhibiting the growth of bacteria or other organisms that may cause disease”.
Status of Statement on the use of Food Additives in Food
294. The Commission adopted the statement on the use of Food Additives in Food with the modifications as proposed by WHO. It agreed that member governments would be free to use it and could interpret or modify the text to suit their national legislation. It stated that every government has the right to modify the text to suit its legislation.
International Numbering System (ALINORM 89/12A, Appendix VI)
295. The Committee, at its 21st Session, agreed to bring to the attention of the Commission the progress that it had made in developing an International Numbering System, the purpose of which was to provide internationally agreed numbers that could be used on food labels to identify food additives in compliance with the Codex General Standard for the Labelling of Prepackaged Foods (CODEX STAN 1-1985). Columns 1 and 2 of the system were final and Column 3 which referred to the technical functions of the food additive was still subject to review. The list will be an open one and proposals for inclusion of further food additives into the system will be considered. A foreword to the system which would also contain definition for functional classes would be prepared.
296. The Delegation of USA informed the Commission that the numbering system should include food additives approved for use by all countries and that the flexibility of the system should be maintained. In its view the numbering system should not become a barrier to trade under any circumstances.
Status of the International Numbering System
297. The Commission adopted the International Numbering System as a Codex Advisory Text noting that the text would be an open one and proposals for inclusion of further food additives into the system would continue to be considered.
Inventory of Processing Aids(ALINORM 89/12A, Appendix VIII)
Status of the Inventory of Processing Aids
298. The Commission adopted the current Inventory of Processing Aids as a Codex Advisory Text bearing in mind that additions to the Inventory would always be possible.
Sampling Plans for Mercury, Cadmium and Lead(ALINORM 89/12, para. 125)
299. The Committee, at its 20th Session, considered that the composite sampling plan adopted for pesticide residues (CAC/PR 5-1984) was appropriate for the environmental contaminants, Mercury, Cadmium and Lead. The Committee agreed to submit the above sampling plan to the Commission for adoption.
Status of the Sampling Plans for Mercury, Cadmium and Lead
300. The Commission adopted the sampling plans for Mercury, Cadmium and Lead, pending its endorsement by the Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling.
Guideline Levels for Aflatoxin B1 in Peanuts(ALINORM 89/12A, Appendix IX)
301. The Committee at its 21st Session, had proposed Guideline Levels for aflatoxin B1 (5 ug/kg) for peanuts for human consumption.
302. Many delegations held the view that while establishing guideline levels for aflatoxins, consideration should be given to the agricultural practices and storage conditions prevailing, especially in the developing countries. They expressed the view that if the guideline levels are too low, it would result in loss of food supply and proposed an increase in the guideline levels for aflatoxin. An equal number of delegations referred to their national tolerances which were lower than the proposed guideline levels and expressed the view that the guideline levels should not be increased especially in view of consumer protection.
303. The Commission also noted the request of the 22nd Session of the Intergovernmental Group on Oilseeds, Oils and Fats held at FAO Headquarters in Rome, 20–23 March 1989 and asked the Committee to hasten its work to establish guideline levels for aflatoxin in food and feed.
Status of the Guideline Levels
304. The Commission agreed with the action of the Committee to submit the guideline levels for aflatoxin B1 for peanuts for human consumption to the governments for comments at Step 3 and stated that the member governments would have many occasions to express their views on the guideline levels while advancing them through the Codex Step procedure.
Guideline Levels for Aflatoxins in Feed (ALINORM 89/12, Appendix VIII)
305. The Committee at its 20th Session proposed guideline levels for aflatoxins in feed.
Status of the Guideline Levels
306. The Commission agreed with the action of the Committee to submit the guideline levels for feed to the governments for comments at Step 3.
Guideline Levels for Cadmium and Lead in Food (ALINORM 89/12A, Appendix IX)
307. The Committee, at its 21st Session, proposed guideline levels for cadmium and lead in food.
Status of Guideline Levels
308. The Commission agreed with the action of the Committee to submit the guideline levels for cadmium and lead in food to the governments for comments at Step 3
Consideration of New Foods and Other Foods of Biotechnological Origin (ALINORM 89/12A, paras. 155–159)
309. The Committee, at its 21st Session, Considered how it should deal with new foods and other foods of biotechnological origin and agreed to seek the advice of the Commission on how to proceed in this area.
310. The Commission discussed the subject under Agenda Item 15 (see paras. 112–118).
Proposals for General Provisions for the Use of Food Additives in Standardized and Non-Standardized Foods (ALINORM 89/12A, Appendix III)
311. Dr. W.H.B. Denner, as a Codex Consultant, introduced his paper (CX/FAC 89/16) which contained recommendations (Recommendations 1, 2, 3, and 7) presented to the Commission for consideration (ALINORM 89/12A Appendix III). He felt that the Codex vision of the free circulation of safe and properly labelled foods was not being fully achieved as judged by the relatively low number of acceptances of Codex Standards. There seemed to be a paradox in that Member Nations who drew up the standards were not apparently prepared to accept them after adoption by the Commission. Hopefully, the special conference included in Recommendation 1 would provide an opportunity to resolve these issues for the future. Recommendation 2 would greatly assist the Codex Secretariat in finding the best way forward.
312. He urged Member Nations to accept Recommendation 3 in order to ensure that everyone was working from a common safety evaluation. Furthermore, Codex should ensure that more, good, varied, safe and wholesome food should be available to more people in more countries. This would require greater recognition of technological needs of individual countries (Recommendation 7). In conclusion Dr. Denner stressed that his paper was a genuine and constructive attempt to improve the operation of Codex.
313. The Commission expressed its high appreciation of Dr. Denner's outstanding and thought-provoking paper.
314. Many delegations stated that they would be unable to support Recommendations 3 and 7 contained in Dr. Denner's paper and put forward before the Commission for adoption. They stated that in their opinion the text of Recommendation 7 as presently worded proposes the liberalization of regulation of additives to promote freer trade and could not be reconciled with the current Codex general principles for the use of food additives in food. On the other hand, the Delegation of the United Kingdom stated that there had to be a flexible approach by all concerned to this issue, if solutions to the problem were ever to be found.
315. There was unanimous support from the delegations for the convening of an international food standards conference as contained in Recommendation 1, at an early date. In the view of the delegations that participated in the discussions, the conference should not only deal with the future of the Codex Food Standards Programme in respect of compositional food standards but should also take into account: i) changing attitudes towards compositional food standards, ii) changing food technology, and iii) changing consumer expectations but also deal with novel foods, philosophy of consumer protection and review of definition of technological need1.
1 The Commission later decided that such a Conference should also consider the matter of risk assessment and risk management associated with contamination of food; see para. 530.
316. The Commission noted that Codex should meet the new challenges and that this could be achieved to a large extent by convening an international food standards conference. The Commission accepted Recommendations 1 and 2 contained in CX/FAC 89/161 and recommended to FAO and WHO to initiate negotiations with Member Nations with a view to obtaining additional resources for a considerable expansion of the role of JECFA and a major acceleration in the rate of safety evaluations made by the Committee each year. In this respect the Delegation of Egypt informed the Commission that JECFA should in the coming years adapt itself to meet more fully the needs of Codex member nations and proposed that this could be attained by i) a more representative, and therefore larger, Committee, ii) a wider scope of studies, evaluating more additives and contaminants in the world market, which would mean that the Committee may need to meet more often; iii) using existing scientific facilities in developing countries and encouraging them to carry out evaluation studies; iv) taking into account differences in nutritional status, the changing attitude to nutritional requirements, consumption patterns, compositional food standards and health profiles.
Confirmation of Chairmanship
317. The Commission confirmed under Rule IX.10 that the Codex Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants should continue under the Chairmanship of the Government of the Netherlands.
CODEX COMMITTEE ON FOOD HYGIENE (Agenda Item 25)
318. The Chairman of the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene, Dr. D.L. Archer introduced the working papers for this Agenda Item (ALINORM 89/13 the Report of the 23rd Session of the Committee and ALINORM 89/32 Part I-FH containing Government comments on draft codes and amendments at Step 8) and presented the Report.
Revised Draft Code of Hygienic Practice for Low Acid and Acidified Low Acid Canned Foods at Step 8 (ALINORM 89/13, Appendix IV)
319. Dr. Archer informed the Commission that the Delegations of France, Canada and Spain had provided new versions of the draft in French and Spanish which accurately reflect the meaning of the original English version.
1 These recommendations are as follows:
Recommendation 1 (to FAO)
FAO should arrange for the Commission at its next Session to consider the future of the Codex Food Standards Programme in respect of compositional food standards taking into account:
it may be that a special conference should be convened to allow a more wide-ranging debate outside the constraints of a formal Commission session.
Recommendation 2 (to governments)
All Member Nations should give comprehensive and constructive responses to requests for comments from FAO. Codex will serve Member Nations best if FAO is in a position to understand fully the various national positions. It is particularly important to identify changes in national food policies or shifts in government thinking so that FAO can plan ahead accordingly.
Status of the Revised Code of Hygienic Practice
320. The Commission adopted the revised draft Code at Step 8.