OPENING OF THE SESSION (Agenda Item 1)
1. The Codex Committee on Fish and Fishery Products held its Twenty-second Session in Bergen, Norway, from 6–10 May 1996, by courtesy of the Government of Norway, under the Chairmanship of Mr. John A. Race, National Food Control Authority. The session was attended by 116 delegates from 36 member countries and 2 international organizations. A complete list of participants is included as Appendix I to this report.
2. The session was opened by Mr. Viggo Jan Olsen, Director-General of Fisheries, who recalled that Norway had always strongly supported the work of Codex, especially as host country for the Committee on Fish and Fishery Products. He emphasized the importance of Codex standards and related texts in the context of the World Trade Organization Agreements on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures and Technical Barriers to Trade, and the need for committees to ensure that their decisions were based on scientific evidence and regularly reviewed. This also contributed to develop consumer confidence with respect to food safety.
3. Recalling that member countries had constantly demonstrated their active commitment to the work of the Committee, as evidenced by successful revision of the standards, he wished participants all success in their discussions.
ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA (Agenda Item 2)1
4. The Committee adopted the Provisional Agenda as proposed, and agreed that an informal Working Group chaired by the Delegation of the United Kingdom would consider general aspects of the revision of the Codes of Practice, in order to facilitate the discussion of Agenda Item 7, which would also include the Proposed Draft Code of Practice for Frozen Surimi (Agenda Item 9).
1 CX/FFP 96/1
MATTERS REFERRED TO THE COMMITTEE BY THE CODEX ALIMENTARIUS COMMISSION AND OTHER COMMITTEES (Agenda Item 3)2
5. The Committee was informed that the 10th Session of CCASIA had agreed to forward the Proposed Draft Standard for Fish Crackers and the Proposed Draft Standard for Dried Salted Anchovies to the Executive Committee for adoption at Step 5, following which the drafts would be circulated for comments at Step 6 and submitted to the next CCFFP Session for consideration at Step 7.
Certification of fishery products
6. It was recalled that following earlier consideration of this matter by CCFFP and CCFICS, the 4th Session of CCFICS had considered a document prepared by Canada proposing essential requirements to be included in certificates for fish and fishery products and decided to refer it to CCFFP for further elaboration. It was also agreed that CCFICS would consider the feasibility of developing general guidelines concerning official certificates at its next session. In this perspective, the Committee discussed the opportunity of undertaking specific work on fish certificates and had an exchange of views on the document, presented for information only at this stage.
7. Several delegations and the Observer from the EC stressed the importance of certification for the facilitation of international trade in fishery products and the need to develop international guidelines, while allowing for enough flexibility, especially according to the hazards involved and the import requirements. While recognizing harmonized certification alone would not address all the issues relating to import/export control, the Committee generally agreed on the need to proceed with this work. It was also noted that specific consideration should be given to the following aspects: the requirements for identification of the processing establishment, whether that should be by name or by code, and the exporter; the reference to destination; the identification of a lot including different species if processing and presentation were identical.
8. The Committee agreed that, subject to approval by the CCEXEC, a proposed draft model certificate would be prepared by Norway and Canada in the light of the discussions of the present session, and circulated at Step 3 for consideration by the next session, with the understanding that CCFICS would be kept informed of this work.
2 CX/FFP 96/2 (including the Draft Model Certificate as Annex 1)
METHODS OF ANALYSIS FOR FISH AND FISHERY PRODUCTS (Agenda Item 4)3
9. The Committee noted that the Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling (CCMAS) at its 20th Session had decided to recommend to the Commission the deletion of CAC/RMs (Codex Methods of Analysis and Sampling) and to encourage Commodity Committees to replace them with the original references (ALINORM 97/23, para. 52).
Determination of Salt Content in Salted Fish and Dried Salted Fish of the Gadidae Family
10. The Delegation of Germany explained the method elaborated by Germany and Norway and stated that it had the lowest standard deviation among all methods considered that were simple and available in literature. The Committee was informed on-going collaborative studies in Germany on this method.
11. The Committee decided to accept the method and to forward it for endorsement by the CCMAS along with performance characteristic data4 which would become available in August.
12. In response to the request by the CCMAS of information on possible problems in indirect determination, the Committee agreed that the indirect determination of salt would not raise problems.
Estimation of Proportion of Fish Fillet and Minced Fish Flesh
13. The Committee noted that the WEFTA method to determine the proportion of fish fillet and minced fish flesh in quick frozen fish sticks (fish fingers) had been tested with cod, pollack and hake.
14. The Delegation of South Africa pointed out possible problems when using this method for soft-textured fish, such as certain hakes, and proposed to submit data on its application to various species of hake in the Southern Hemisphere. The Delegation of India also expressed its willingness to study the applicability of the method to tropical fish species.
15. The Committee decided to reintroduce the method into the standard and to forward it for endorsement by the CCMAS along with performance characteristic data after the completion of collaborative studies ongoing in Germany and the United Kingdom.
3 CX/FFP 96/3 (methods proposed by Germany and Norway); CRD 1 (comments from South Africa); CRD 18 (comments from USA: “A Status Report on the Weight Determination Methods for the Codex Committee on Fish and Fishery Products”)
4 The following instructions should be followed when forwarding data to CCMAS: “Recommendations for a Checklist of Information Required to Evaluate Methods of Analysis Submitted to the CCMAS” (Volume 13, Part III)
Determination of Net Weight of Products
16. Following the decision made at the last session to study net weight determination in all standards, the Delegation of the United States presented the review of methods they had carried out for both canned products and frozen products covered by glaze in comparison with methods used in several countries, and pointed out the differences found in the review: description of definitions (frozen products) versus procedures (canned products), sieve, temperature, etc. It was more difficult to select appropriate and consistent methods for frozen products than for canned products where little difference existed between methods. It was also stated that these methods needed performance characteristics in order for the Committee to determine their adequacy.
17. The Committee encouraged Member countries to perform comparative studies on the methods of net weight determination prescribed for existing Codex Standards for quick frozen and canned products to obtain performance characteristics and also to compare them with nationally used methods with the understanding that quick frozen shrimps and prawns should be given the highest priority (see next paragraph). The results should be sent to the USA for collation and consideration by the next session.
18. The Committee decided to reinstate as Section 7.3.2 of the Codex Revised Standard for Quick Frozen Shrimps and Prawns, the method for determination of net weight of products covered by glaze (Section 7.6 of the original standard, CODEX STAN 92-1981) as the Committee did not recall any decision to delete it.
FOOD ADDITIVES IN FISH AND FISHERY PRODUCTS (Agenda Item 5)5
19. The Committee recalled that the 27th Session of the Committee on Additives and Contaminants had not endorsed the additives provisions in the revised standards as they did not adequately follow the General Principles for the Use of Food Additives and the Preamble of the General Standard for Food Additives (GSFA); they had therefore been circulated for further comments and consideration. The Committee was also informed of further developments concerning the clarification of relations between the CCFAC and commodity committees in the framework of the GSFA.
20. The Committee agreed that the additives provisions should be amended according to the request of the CCFAC, as follows: additives with no ADI allocated by JECFA should be deleted from the list; when the ADI was “not specified (NS)”, the additives should be allowed under conditions of “Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)”. These changes would be incorporated into a revised paper which would be forwarded for endorsement to the next CCFAC session.
21. The Committee agreed that technological justification, as provided earlier to CCFAC when the provisions were endorsed, was still valid for the revised standards. Notwithstanding the extensive comments received on the inclusion of other additives in the standards, the Committee noted that no relevant technological justification had been put forward to support these proposals, and consequently reasserted its earlier decision to leave the additives provisions otherwise unchanged.
22. While recalling its earlier decision to allow the use of thickening agents for canned products when applicable, the Committee agreed to add the phrase “other than oil, water or brine” after “for use in packing medium only,” for further clarification.
5 CX/FFP 96/4, Add.1 (comments of Czech Republic, Russia, Japan, Poland) and Add.2 (Spain), CRD 2 (USA), CRD 15 (Sweden), CRD 16 (France), CRD 19 (Slovak Republic), CRD 12 (International Food Additives Council)
INCLUSION OF ADDITIONAL SPECIES IN FISH STANDARDS (Agenda Item 6)6
23. The Committee noted that the Commission at its 21st Session had invited countries wishing to include additional species to the Definitions for Shrimps and Prawns; Tuna and Bonito to submit relevant data on taxonomy, resources and processing technology to the Committee and agreed that the Accelerated Procedure should be used for the addition of species to the relevant standards.
24. The Committee decided to reinstate the two species, Sardinella fimbriata and Sardinella srim in the Revised Standard for Canned Sardines and Sardine-Type Products as these had been accidentally omitted. The Committee also decided to add Etrumeus whiteheadi in the same standard as Etrumeus teres, already included in the standard had been reclassified in 1983 as the former and since had been used as its synonym.
25. After some discussion on the proposals for species to be included in the Standards, the Committee reconfirmed that the current procedure7 should be applied. As it was pointed out that these proposals did not meet all of 4 requirements, especially the fourth one, the Committee decided to request organoleptic testing of the proposed species by 3 laboratories which would reported back to the next session, while acknowledging the desire of the Commission to proceed as quickly as possible. Proposing countries were requested to provide samples of the proposed species and other countries were asked to provide comparison samples to lead countries upon request. The Delegations of Germany (lead country), Finland and France offered to test the products of the following species against the products of species currently included in the relevant standards:
|Standard||Proposed species||Proposed by|
|Canned Sardines and Sardine Type Products||Clupea bentincki||Chile|
|Canned Tuna and Bonito||Allothunnus fallai |
26. The other proposals of Chile, Cervimunida johni and Pleuroncodes monodon, for inclusion in the Standards for Quick Frozen Shrimps and Prawns and for Canned Shrimps and Prawns were also considered. The Committee discussed whether the proposed species should be compared to shrimps and prawns or to lobsters and could not reach a conclusion. The Delegation of Chile stated that it would present the results of studies carried out in Chile on the classification of these species for consideration by the next session. It was pointed out that as the family Galatheidae was not included in the current standards for lobsters or for shrimps and prawns, amendment of the Product Definition would be required if this family was added to the standards. The Observer from the EC indicated that the term “shrimp” could not be used to designate these species in the EC.
27. The Delegation of the United States informed the Committee that Pleuroncodes monodon was called “langostino” in that country and that the use of the terms “lobster”, “shrimp” or “prawn” was not allowed.
6 CX/FFP 96/5-I (comments from South Africa); CX/FFP 96/5-II (Chile); CRD 3 (USA); CRD 6 (Morocco); CRD 10 & 10-Add. 1 (Thailand).
7 ALINORM 79/18, para. 111, ALINORM 79/13, para. 339 & CL 1995/30-FFP
Status of “Inclusion of Additional Species in Fish Standards”
28. The Committee agreed to return the proposals for additional species to Step 3 of the Accelerated Procedure pending a report of organoleptic testing.
REVISION OF THE CODES OF PRACTICE FOR FISH AND FISHERY PRODUCTS (Agenda item 7)8
PROPOSED DRAFT CODE OF HYGIENIC PRACTICE FOR FROZEN SURIMI (Agenda Item 9)9
29. The Committee recalled that its last session had agreed to undertake the revision of the following codes under the direction of lead countries responsible for coordinating the work: Frozen Fish and Minced Fish (Canada), Fresh Fish (United Kingdom and Ireland), Canned Fish (France), Frozen Shrimps and Prawns (Mexico), Molluscan Shellfish (Netherlands), Smoked Fish (Denmark), Salted Fish (Norway). As agreed by the last session, those countries had held a Working Group in London in September 1995 in order to coordinate the revision of the codes, and to agree on a harmonized approach. The Committee expressed its appreciation to the Delegation of the United Kingdom, which presented the conclusions of the WG (CRD 7), and all countries involved for their efforts and the significant progress achieved in this considerable task. It further agreed to focus the discussions on major issues which would determine the future development of the codes: terminology used for definitions; layout of the codes; simplification of existing texts; relevance of risk assessment; possible merging of certain codes.
30. The Observer from the EC expressed the view that, following the revision of the General Principles of Food Hygiene, specific codes of practice should be limited to aspects which were not covered by the GPFH. The Chairman recalled that this option had received significant support at the last session of the Committee on Food Hygiene, although some delegations were in favour of retaining both general and specific hygiene requirements.
31. Some delegations felt that it should be clarified whether the codes were destined primarily to be used by governments or the industry, as the requirements to be included might be different. The Representative of FAO, while emphasizing the involvement of FAO/FII in the implementation of HACCP training programmes, stressed that the codes were of great value as guidance to the industry, especially in developing countries; simplification should therefore be carried out while taking into account those needs. He also noted that HACCP based systems were used not only to ensure safety but also in relation to quality and trade requirements. It was however recalled that the Codes were recommended to governments, as indicated in the Introduction.
32. The Committee had an exchange of views on the inclusion of non-essential requirements removed from the standards, and reasserted its earlier view that they should be included in the codes; the Committee agreed that consideration should be given to the development of additional standards where these would assist in the development of the codes (see also paras. 81–83)
33. The Committee considered the conclusions of the informal Working Group (CRD 20)10 held during the session to discuss the issues indicated above and made the following recommendations, on the basis of the example proposed (Code of Practice for Frozen Fish).
8 CX/FFP 96/6-A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H and Add.1 (comments of New Zealand, Russia, Spain), CRD 4 (Morocco), CRD 5 (Chile), CRD 6 (New Zealand)
9 CX/FFP 96/8 (prepared by Japan and USA), CRD 21 (additional comments of Japan)
10 The WG included Brazil, Canada, China, Cuba, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, Uruguay, USA
34. The Representative of WHO proposed to make a clear distinction between the use of the HACCP system to ensure food safety and the application of a similar system to ensure compliance with non-safety mandatory requirements. After detailed discussion of this issue and in order to avoid repetition of definitions, section 3. was redrafted as follows:
The Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) is a science-based system which identifies specific hazards and measures for their control to ensure the safety of food. HACCP is a management system (see Figure 1) which identifies specific hazards and control measures rather than relying on end-product testing.
This section looks at the application of HACCP to the production of frozen fish meeting health and safety requirements. Similar principles can also be applied to non-safety mandatory requirements (defect action point analysis).
Principles: delete first sentence
In order to clarify the introduction, the following definition was included:
Non safety mandatory requirements means the requirements contained in the Codex Standards for Fish and Fishery Products, which cover description, essential quality and composition, and labelling of the products, but do not include optional product specifications.
35. While considering the use of a HACCP based system for such requirements, the Committee discussed the name of the point where control should be exercised to correct defects. It was agreed that, as the use of “control point” would create confusion with the Critical Control Point of the HACCP system, reference should be made to “Defect Action Point” (DAP) in the decision tree. Some delegations however were of the view that the concept of “control” applied in both cases and the term “Defect Control Point” should be used. It was pointed out that in any event, the definitions in the Codes amply clarified the issue.
36. It was agreed to align the definitions applying both to CCPs and DAPs with those in the GPFH, and to add to the relevant definitions “for the purpose of this code this also applies to a DAP”.
37. The definition of glazing (including the use of clean sea water) was aligned on the definition included in the relevant standard. The definition of disinfection was aligned with the revised GPFH. As regards the definition of Decomposition, it was agreed to add a reference to texture as the revised standard referred to odour, flavour and texture, whereas colour was taken into account in the Proposed Draft Code for Sensory Evaluation.
Layout of the Codes
38. In the perspective of the revision of the GPFH, the Committee agreed to introduce a Prerequisite Programme, including essential hygiene requirements to be complied with before the actual HACCP system was implemented. This section would not include summary boxes relating to CCPs.
39. The introduction of the section concerning Fishing Vessel Hygiene was amended to indicate that the requirements applied “as appropriate”, as several delegations pointed out that small traditional fishing vessels, accounting for a large part of their fish supply, could not comply with them.
40. The Committee had an exchange of views on the flow chart and some delegations felt that it should be put in an annex to clarify that it was not prescriptive but intended as an example; it was also pointed out that in the codes elaborated by CCFH, HACCP examples were presented in an annex. Notwithstanding, the Committee agreed that the flow chart should be included within the section on Operating Practices as an example, since the CCPs and DAPs referred directly to the process presented in the diagram.
Simplification of the codes
41. The Committee agreed that simplification should be carried out carefully, allowing for flexibility of use both by governments and industry, as the text should be of practical use to facilitate trade, while detail should be removed and presentation improved. The Committee also clarified that records keeping would apply only to the HACCP system and not to DAPs.
42. The Committee agreed that it would be premature to undertake risk assessment work at this stage, as this issue was currently under consideration by general subject committees, and could be further considered in the future.
Merging of Codes
43. The Committee agreed that the Codes of Practice of Fresh Fish, Frozen Fish and Minced Fish would be combined under the direction of the Delegations of Canada and the United Kingdom, special attention being given to the articulation between general prerequisite programmes and operation requirements. The Representative of FAO pointed out as regarded Fresh Fish, consideration should be given to the hazards associated with parasites other than nematodes in view of the implications for public health.
44. The Committee considered the other codes and noted the aspects that should be taken into consideration in the revision process.
FROZEN SHRIMPS AND PRAWNS
45. The Delegation of Mexico indicated that while the initial revision had focused essentially on the incorporation of the HACCP approach, they intended to proceed with the simplification and redrafting of provisions, especially relating to quality, and interested countries were invited to participate in the revision. The Delegation also confirmed that the Code was general in scope and would cover fresh shrimps and fresh water shrimps.
46. The Committee agreed to delete the definition of “shrimps” referring to families in the Scope for consistency, as the definition of products was included in the standards, not in the codes. The Committee noted that when shrimps were washed with chlorinated water, consideration should be given to residual levels and recommended levels for use in processing; it was agreed that the advice of the CCFH would be sought to address this concern.
47. The Delegation of Japan asked for clarification on the reference to histamine only as a safety hazard, as more emphasis should be put on bacterial contamination. The Delegation of France indicated that this question was addressed in general terms in the Essential Health and Hygiene Requirements and it was noted that further comments could be addressed to France, as it would proceed with the revision of the code.
48. The Delegation of the Netherlands highlighted the specificity of this code which dealt only with safety issues. No standard existed for molluscs and consideration should be given to the development of such a standard (see also para 81). The format of the Code was slightly different from the other codes; in particular, growing area requirements had been included before general hygiene requirements, which would be presented as a Prerequisite programme, as decided earlier.
49. As the monitoring of the growing area was the main issue in the revision of the code for molluscan shellfish, the systems applied in the EC and in the USA had been presented in an annex as examples of good monitoring systems. The Observer from the EC pointed out that a scientific review of both systems was underway, for consideration by the Scientific Committee for Foods, and that countries may choose to apply one or the other if they were found to be equivalent. He also stressed the differences between various types of molluscan shellfish with respect to the possibilities of decontamination. The Committee agreed to limit the Scope of the Code to bivalves molluscs at this stage.
50. The Representative of WHO informed the Committee that a Red Tide Task Force had been formed in Eastern Asia and invited concerned countries to submit data and participate in its activities. The Delegation of the Philippines indicated that in the framework of this programme, monitoring was carried out in certain growing areas with an especially high risk and the areas closed for production when necessary. The Delegation of Thailand also noted that in the case of PSP, contaminated areas had to be abandoned altogether if the toxin could not be eliminated. The Committee agreed that specific consideration should be given to biotoxins in the revised code.
51. The Delegation of Norway pointed out that the scope of the code was general whereas the standard applied only to heavy salted fish, which created some difficulties in the revision. The Committee confirmed that the code should apply to all salted fish and noted that further information would be required, especially on anchovies and herring. The Committee noted that some light salted herring products required freezing in view of nematode contamination, and this question should also be addressed.
52. As regarded the salting process, the Committee noted the practical difficulties of complying with the temperature requirement of 10°C in tropical and temperate conditions; in the wet salting process, at the salting stage, the need to control the hazards (defects) of “pink” and “dun” should be further investigated.
53. The Delegation of Denmark highlighted some of the issues to be addressed by the revised code, especially the differences between the hot-smoking and cold-smoking processes, the evolution of processing technology and safety concerns, and the need to incorporate information concerning smoked fish production in tropical areas. The Committee considered the opportunity of combining the Smoked Fish and Salted Fish Codes since certain aspects of processing were similar, and agreed to continue with two separate codes at this stage.
54. The Delegation of Morocco suggested that, instead of referring to the absence of parasites, for inspection purposes, it would be preferable to refer to the processing (freezing) time and temperature.
55. The Committee confirmed that this code should also be redrafted following the general principles decided for the revised codes. The Committee accepted the offer of Japan and the United States to continue the work and encouraged other countries to comment on a revised draft.
56. The Committee considered the feasibility of undertaking the revision of other codes, as discussed at the last session. The Delegation of Brazil informed the Committee that, although they were currently working on the development of a code for lobsters as a matter of high priority, and developing the application of the HACCP system, they needed more time to consider the implications which the amendments decided at this meeting might entail for their national industry, and could not undertake a comprehensive revision.
Status of the Draft Revised Codes of Practice for Fish and Fishery Products and Proposed Draft Code of Hygienic Practice for Frozen Surimi
57. The Committee agreed that the codes should be returned to Step 3 to be redrafted according to the above recommendations for circulation and consideration by the next session, and welcomed the offer of the following countries to proceed with the revision of the codes, with the participation of all interested countries:
|Canada/UK||:||Frozen Fish, Minced Fish, Fresh Fish|
|Mexico||:||Shrimps and Prawns|
The combined Fresh Fish/Frozen Fish/Minced Fish Code would be forwarded to coordinating countries to serve as a template for the revision of the other codes. The Chairman thanked the responsible countries and all delegations for their constructive approach and active participation, while noting that significant progress had been achieved.
PROPOSED DRAFT CODE OF PRACTICE FOR THE PRODUCTS OF AQUACULTURE11 (Agenda Item 8)
58. The Representative of FAO introduced the draft which had been revised by FAO Fisheries Utilization and Marketing Service (FIIU) in the light of the discussions held at the last session of the Committee and information received from Canada, Japan, USA and WHO. He stressed the importance of obtaining more comments from member countries, particularly from major aquaculture producing countries in Asia, and informed the Committee of the programmes developed by FAO to implement HACCP and ensure the safety of small-scale aquaculture products.
59. The Representative of WHO indicated that a number of producing countries were currently examining their food safety regulations concerning aquaculture, in view of considerable health problems due to trematodes as a result of eating raw or inadequately cooked fish or aquaculture products; all health and safety issues should therefore be thoroughly reviewed in the revision process. It was noted that FAO and WHO were planning to organize a joint consultation on food safety issues associated with products from aquaculture in the Spring of 1997, the conclusions of which would assist in the redrafting of the code.
60. The Committee discussed whether the document should cover all aquaculture products or only those intended for international trade. Some delegations felt that the document did not apply to small scale fish farming common in their countries. Other delegations indicated that the document should cover aquaculture in general and the Committee agreed to proceed with a single code, while recognizing that extensive work was needed to address these issues.
61. The Observer from the EC expressed the view that certain sections of the Code related to animal health, which was the competence of the Office International des Epizooties (O.I.E.), and should be deleted. The Chairman noted that OIE would be informed of the work of the Committee.
Status of the Proposed Draft Code of Practice for the Products of Aquaculture
62. The Committee agreed that the Proposed Draft should be returned to Step 3 for further comments on the issues raised, redrafted by FAO and WHO in the light of those comments and circulated for consideration by the next session.
11 CX/FFP 96/7; CRD 13 (comments from USA); and Comments from Japan.
PROPOSED DRAFT GUIDELINES FOR THE SENSORY EVALUATION OF FISH AND SHELLFISH (Agenda Item 10)12
63. The Committee recalled that following earlier discussions on inspection procedures, its last session had considered a comprehensive code of practice for Sensory Evaluation13 and agreed that the paper be redrafted by the Secretariat as Guidelines, focusing on criteria for the interpretation of the standards and for inspection purposes, taking into account the comments received.
64. While discussing the general orientation of the Guidelines, the Committee agreed that they should not be too prescriptive and that some sections needed to be amended accordingly. There was general consensus on the necessity to include specific provisions on training, especially with a view to harmonizing inspection procedures and the Committee welcomed the offer of the Delegation of the United States to draft a section on standard training procedures.
65. The Observer from the EC expressed the view that this work was of great importance to facilitate international trade and informed the Committee that sensory evaluation was required for fish and shellfish by Directive 91/493/CEE, while evaluation criteria defined by Regulations 103/76 and 104/75 were currently under revision. The Observer, supported by the Delegation of France, also pointed out that in view of the difficulties inherent to such training, intercalibration tests should be carried out for fish inspectors, and the Committee agreed that this aspect should be taken into account while developing training recommendations. The Committee considered the document section by section and made the following amendments.
66. In Section I. Scope, the Committee had an extensive discussion on the objectives of the Guidelines, as some delegations felt that only provisions relating to existing standards should be included, while others noted that the initial purpose of the Guidelines was of a more general nature. The Committee agreed to indicate that the guidelines also included provisions for requirements not covered by current standards but used for fish inspection purposes. A footnote was added to the effect that additional criteria might be included if new recommendations were made by the Committee.
67. In Section 2.2.2 Preparation Area, a reference to the light box for detection of parasites (initially in 2.2.3) was included as it related to sample preparation rather than evaluation. The list of equipment in Section 2.2.5 was modified accordingly.
68. In Section 2.2.3 Evaluation Area, the Committee agreed to include only a general statement concerning the hygienic condition of the area and to delete specific provisions in this respect. The Committee discussed the opportunity to require separate rooms for the evaluation of cooked and raw products, and agreed that this was not necessary if adequate measures were taken to minimize disturbing sensoric stimuli, and specific recommendations were included to this effect. Reference to the neutral colour of the area (walls, etc.) was also added, and the section on lighting was retained.
69. The figure illustrating sections 2.2.2 and 2.2.3 was deleted, as the text was sufficiently explicit. In Section 2.2.4, the Committee deleted a reference to ventilation and noted that water should not contain substances likely to interfere with sensory evaluation.
70. In Section 3.1 Collecting and transporting samples, the Committee agreed that sampling according to the Codex Sampling Plans for Prepackaged Foods may not be applicable for examining wholesomeness (para. 2). It was also agreed to allow some frozen fish assessment to be done on site (para. 4); to specify that temperature during transport to the laboratory should not exceed 2°C (para. 5); that temperature control may be necessary (para. 8); and that fresh and chilled products should be examined on the day they were received (para. 9).
71. In section 3.3 Cooking, some delegations felt that products presented with a coating or in sauce should be evaluated as consumed, whereas current provisions applied only to the evaluation of fish. The Committee however did not come to a conclusion on this point and, while leaving the section unchanged, agreed that further comments would be requested on this issue.
72. In Section 3.4, it was agreed that assessment should take into account the characteristics of species.
73. The Committee had an exchange of views on some of the criteria included in the Table and retained them as currently drafted, with the understanding that further work would be needed to define them more accurately for inspection purposes.
74. In Section 3.4.2, the reference to hot smoked products was deleted as this example might create confusion and these products were not covered in the Guidelines at this stage, while Section 3.4.3 was amended to make it less prescriptive for assessors (para. 4).
Status of the Proposed Draft Guidelines for the Sensory Evaluation of Fish and Shellfish
75. The Committee agreed to forward the Proposed Draft Guidelines, as included in Appendix II, to the Commission for adoption at Step 5, with the understanding that the section on training would be drafted later by the United States and circulated later for comments at Step 3.
12 CX/FFP 96/9, CRD 8 (comments of New Zealand), CRD 14 (USA)
13 CX/FFP 94/10, prepared by Mr. P. Howgate (UK), FAO consultant
DEFINITION OF PREDATORY SPECIES OF FISH TO WHICH THE HIGHER LEVEL OF METHYLMERCURY APPLIES (Agenda Item 11)14
76. The Committee recalled that it had been requested to establish a list of predatory fish, following the adoption by the Commission of Guideline Levels for Methylmercury in Fish of 0.5 mg/kg for non-predatory fish and 1 mg/kg for predatory fish, and that the last session had agreed to proceed with the establishment of a list on the basis of information provided by member countries.
77. As some delegations were in favour of one Guideline level, namely 1 mg/kg, while others supported a level of 0.5 mg/kg for most fish species and 1 mg/kg for fish at the end of the food chain, no consensus could be reached on this issue. However, the Committee agreed that the concept of predatory and non-predatory was not viable as most fish species traded were “predatory” but only a limited number of “predatory” fish species contained levels higher than 0.5 mg/kg. It was noted that in some cases, levels would exceed 1 mg/kg.
78. The Committee noted that the major difficulties met in the establishment of a list were due to the lack of definition for the term “predatory”. The Committee stressed that all Codex texts including guideline levels should be based on sound science, and that health and safety implications for consumers should be taken into consideration.
79. The Committee decided to compile a list of fish families containing naturally high levels of methylmercury for circulation at Step 3, while emphasizing that accidental or industrial contamination must be clearly separated from natural accumulation. The Committee further agreed that the CCEXEC, the Commission and the CCFAC should be informed of its conclusions and of the difficulties identified in the development of a list. Countries were encouraged to submit new data, especially on intake and monitoring of methylmercury in fish, such as presented at the last session by FAO15, to the CCFAC for review of the Guideline Levels.
14 CL 1995/19-FFP; CX/FFP 96/10 (comments from Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Japan, South Africa, Spain, USA and New Zealand); CRD 4 (Morocco); CRD 5 (Chile); CRD 10 & 10-Add.1 (Thailand).
15 CX/FFP 94/15
OTHER BUSINESS, FUTURE WORK, AND DATE AND PLACE OF NEXT SESSION (Agenda Item 12)
80. The Delegation of Canada presented CRD 11 which considered possible future work on new standards. In view of its heavy workload the Committee agreed that priority should be given to those products for which codes of practice were being revised, and proposed to undertake the following new work in order to facilitate the revision of the codes, subject to the approval of the Executive Committee.
Standard for Molluscan Shellfish
81. The Committee agreed to develop a standard for molluscan shellfish and accepted the offer of the Netherlands to prepare a draft. Member countries were requested to provide comments on what type of products and what shellfish should be covered by the standard.
Standard for Smoked Fish
82. The Committee agreed to develop a standard for cold-smoked fish, the inclusion of other products to be considered at a later stage. Denmark, in collaboration with France and Norway, would prepare a draft for circulation before the next Session.
Standard for Salted Atlantic Herring
83. The Committee noted the increasing resources and expanding market of Atlantic herring, with greatly diversified and new products. Recognizing the complexity of herring products, the Committee decided for the time being to focus on the newly developed light-salted herring. Norway, in collaboration with Iceland and Germany, would prepare an information document on light-salted herring as well as a proposal for a draft for the next session, which would decide whether to proceed with the standard.
84. The Committee noted that FAO had published a book16 presenting updated information on the influence on fresh fish quality of handling practices on board, including catching methods, especially trawling. The Representative of FAO would undertake to compile information provided by member countries on the incidence of catching methods on fish quality for the next session.
85. The Committee reiterated the importance of greater participation of developing countries, especially those in tropical area where different conditions prevail, in developing codes and standards.
16 “Fresh Fish Quality and Quality Changes” (H.H. Huss, FAO, 1996)
DATE AND PLACE OF NEXT SESSION
86. The Committee was informed that its next Session would be held in the Spring of 1998, the exact date and place to be determined between the Host Government and the Codex Secretariat.
SUMMARY STATUS OF WORK
|Subject Matter||Step||Action by||Document Reference in ALINORM 97/18|
|Guidelines on the Sensory Evaluation of Fish and Shellfish||5||CAC|
Revision of the Codex of Practice:
- Frozen Fish
- Minced Fish
- Fresh Fish
- Canned Fish
- Frozen Shrimps and Prawns
- Molluscan Shellfish
- Salted Fish
- Smoked Fish
|3||Canada and United Kingdom|
|Code of Hygienic Practice for Frozen Surimi||3||Japan/USA Governments|
|Code of Practice for the Products of Aquaculture||3||FAO/WHO|
|Inclusion of Additional Species||3||Germany, France|
|Food Additives in Standards||CCFAC||para. 20|
|Methods of Analysis in Standards||CCMAS|
|paras. 11, 15|
|Model Certificate for Fish and Fishery Products||CCEXEC|
|List of Predatory Species to which the
higher level of methylmercury applies
|Proposals for New Standards||CCEXEC|