JOINT FAO/WHO FOOD STANDARDS PROGRAMME
FAO Headquarters, Rome, 28 June-3 July 1999
1. The Codex Alimentarius Commission held its Twenty-third Session at FAO Headquarters, Rome, from 28 June to 3 July 1999. Professor Dr. Pakdee Pothisiri (Thailand), Chairperson of the Commission presided. The Session was attended by 608 delegates and representatives from 103 Member countries, 1 observer country and representatives from 63 international governmental and non-governmental organizations including UN agencies. A full list of participants is given in Appendix I to this report.
2. The Session was opened on behalf of the Directors-General of FAO and WHO by Mr. Hartwig de Haen, Assistant Director-General, Economic and Social Department, FAO, and Mrs. P. Singh, Executive Director, Sustainable Development and Healthy Environments, WHO respectively.
ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA (AGENDA ITEM 1)1
3. The Commission adopted the Provisional Agenda as its Agenda for the Session. It agreed to discuss the following matters under the relevant Agenda Items:
Establishment of a Database on Importing Country Legislation, under Agenda Item 10 “Consideration of proposals to elaborate new standards and/or related texts”;
Sampling for Aflatoxins in Foods, under Agenda Item 9 “Consideration of draft standards and related texts”;
Draft Codex Standard for Honey, under Agenda Item 9;
Elaboration of a General Standard for Foods Derived from Biotechnology, under Agenda Item 10 “Consideration of proposals to elaborate new standards and/or related texts”;
Language Policies of the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission, under Agenda Items 3 Report by the Chairperson on the 45th and 46th Sessions of the Executive Committee and 13 Other Business; and
Discussion on Dioxins, under Agenda Item 13 “Other Business”.
ELECTION OF OFFICERS OF THE COMMISSION AND APPOINTMENT OF REGIONAL COORDINATORS (AGENDA ITEM 2)2
Election of Officers of the Commission
4. The Commission elected the following persons to hold office from the end of its present Session to the end of its Twenty-fourth Session:
|Chairperson:||Mr. Thomas Billy (USA)|
|Vice-Chairpersons:||- Mr. Gonzalo Ríos (Chile)|
|- Prof. Stuart Slorach (Sweden)|
|- Mr. David Nhari (Zimbabwe)|
1 ALINORM 99/1
2 ALINORM 99/2 and CAC/LIM 18
5. The following Members of the Executive Committee were elected on a regional basis: Tanzania (Africa), Philippines (Asia), France (Europe), Brazil (Latin America and the Caribbean), Saudi Arabia (Near East - see also paras. 63–64), Canada (North America) and Australia (South-West Pacific).
Appointment of regional coordinators
6. The Delegations of Saudi Arabia and Sudan, on behalf of the Codex Member countries from the FAO Near East Region3, indicated the willingness of these countries to set up a new Codex Coordinating Committee for the Near East. Therefore, in the light of the amendments to Rule III.1 of the Rules of Procedure and the desire of the Members of the region of the Near East to appoint a Regional Coordinator in accordance with Rule II.4(a), the Commission agreed to appoint a Regional Coordinator for the Near East. On the basis of the recommendation of the majority of the members of this Region and the nominations put forward by the Regional Coordinating Committees, the Commission appointed the following persons as Regional Coordinators:
|Africa:||Dr. Eve Kasirye-Alemu (Uganda)|
|Asia:||Ms. Kanya Sinsakul (Thailand)|
|Europe:||Mr. Felipe Mittelbrun García (Spain)|
|Latin America and the Caribean:||Mr. Luis Emilio Feliz Roa (Dominican Republic)|
|Near East:||Prof. Ali A. El-Naggar (Egypt)|
|North America and South-West Pacific:||Mr. Geoff Gorrie (Australia)|
7. The Delegation of Morocco expressed its willingness to host the next Session of the Codex Coordinating Committee for Africa. The Commission noted that this issue should be discussed among Member countries of the Region at the next session of the Committee.
REPORT BY THE CHAIRPERSON ON THE FORTY-FIFTH AND FORTY-SIXTH SESSIONS OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE (AGENDA ITEM 3)
8. The reports of the 45th and 46th Sessions of the Executive Committee were provided in accordance with Rule III.5 of the Commission's Rules of Procedure. The Commission noted that most of the Executive Committee's recommendations had been dealt with by the relevant Codex Committees or were included for discussion under the present Agenda.
9. The Commission noted that the 45th Session of the Executive Committee had requested the Codex Secretariat to provide a description and an estimate of the support and activities undertaken by FAO and WHO in developing countries on food control in general and that this had been provided for in its Session for discussion under Agenda Item 4 (ALINORM 99/5 - Addendum). It was pointed out that FAO and WHO had convened a Joint Expert Consultation on Risk Assessment of Microbiological Hazards in Foods in March 1999 and that the report of this Consultation would be available within a month.
10. The Commission was informed of the unanimous decision of the 116th Session of FAO Council regarding Languages and Document Policies of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. In regard to the extension of languages services to include Arabic and Chinese, the Commission expressed its support for the proposal of the 46th Session of the Executive Committee that efforts should be made for the provision of the limited services4 for Arabic and Chinese by the time of the next (24th) Session of the Commission in 2001, resources permitting. It recognized that the provision of additional languages services would take a longer time but almost complete services could be envisaged by 2005, resources permitting. It concurred with the view that any shift or re-allocation of resources to provide for these services should not be detrimental to the work of the Commission.
3 Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates.
4 Limited services means interpretation and main working documents in all languages at sessions of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, Executive Committee and Regional Committees as appropriate; translation of the Commission's final report, Procedural Manual, and information documents.
11. The Delegation of Saudi Arabia, speaking on behalf of the Near East countries, proposed the establishment of a new Regional Coordinating Committee within the framework of Codex at its current Session based on consensus among the potential members of such a region. Many delegations supported the idea of establishing a new Regional Coordinating Committee for the Near East, while several delegations were of the opinion that more time was needed to evaluate all of the implications of such a new body and that a document should be prepared for discussion at its next Session. The Delegation of Saudi Arabia also proposed an amendment to Rule III.1 of the Commission's Rule of Procedure to provide for the election of a seventh Regional Representative, representing the Near East. (See also Agenda Items 8 and 12.)
12. In response to the recommendation of the 46th Session of the Executive Committee to establish an ad hoc Intergovernmental Task Force on Foods Derived from Biotechnology, the Delegation of Japan expressed its concurrence with the recommendation and its willingness to host such a Task Force if established by the Commission. The Delegation stressed the importance of establishing such a Task Force as it would provide an open forum for governments to discuss “safety and nutritional aspects” of foods derived from biotechnology in a step-by-step manner within the specific mandate and timeframe given by the 46th Session of the Executive Committee. The Commission agreed to discuss this matter under Agenda Item 12.
REPORT ON THE FINANCIAL SITUATION OF THE JOINT FAO/WHO FOOD STANDARDS PROGRAMME FOR 1998/99 AND 2000/01 (AGENDA ITEM 4)5
13. The Commission noted the Secretariat report on the status of the operating budget for the current biennium and expressed its support for the proposed budget for the biennium 2000/01. It was noted that the presentation of information used for the 2000/01 biennium was different from the preceding biennium and would facilitate comparisons in the future.
14. In reply to a question, the Secretariat indicated that the difference in the documentation costs for 1998/99 and 2000/2001 originated in the increase in the rates of documentation services, especially translation, and the underestimated expenditure reported for the 1998/99 biennium. The Commission also noted that the “FAO only” section included the activities carried out by the FAO Regional Offices with funding from the Programme. The Representative of WHO indicated that corresponding expenditure of WHO to support the Programme was not included in the report, but would be made available in the future.
15. Several delegations stressed the importance for the Programme of the contribution made by host countries, which had increased in the current biennium, especially for the translation and distribution of documents. The Commission expressed its appreciation of the generous voluntary support provided by the Host Governments for Codex Committees.
16. Some delegations called on Member countries to maintain their support to FAO and WHO. The Delegations of the United States and Australia, in supporting the increased level of the Codex budget provided by FAO, expressed the view that equivalent savings should be made in other programme areas of FAO in order to achieve zero nominal growth. The Delegation of France expressed the view that these budget difficulties were due to the stagnation of the FAO and WHO budgets over several years. The Commission expressed its satisfaction with the Programme's budget for 2000/01 and the continuous support of FAO and WHO for the Programme, while noting the financial constraints of the parent Organizations.
17. The Commission noted the discussions held at the Executive Committee regarding the funding of the scientific advisory bodies, JECFA and JMPR and ad hoc consultations and expressed its concern that inadequate resources would seriously impair the work of the Programme6. The Commission expressed the view that the independence and the scientific integrity of these bodies should continue to be strengthened and noted that FAO and WHO were considering issues related to the transparency of the selection process for experts; resolution or avoidance of conflicts of interest; expression of minority opinions by experts; and enlarging the basis of expert advice in the scientific bodies. The Commission considered the resolution proposed by the Executive Committee (CAC/LIM 17) in order to draw the attention of the parent Organizations to the importance of these issues and agreed to make the following amendments.
5 ALINORM 99/5, CAC/LIM 17
6 ALINORM 99/4, paras. 5–6
18. The Commission agreed with the proposal of the Delegation of the United Kingdom and the Observer from Consumers International to include a reference to the transparency of the opinion given by the expert bodies, in addition to their independence and scientific integrity. The Commission had an exchange of views on the concept of “risk-based” scientific advice and recognized that the advice provided by JECFA and JMPR was risk-based but that scientific advice was required in other areas such as nutrition, where the main objective was not to address risk, and the general reference to “scientific advice” was therefore retained.
19. The Commission adopted Resolution 99/1 as follows:
The Codex Alimentarius Commission:
Recognizing the importance of Codex work in providing recommendations to Member countries at the international level on food safety and quality and the need to ensure the scientific basis of Codex standards and related texts;
Recognizing the importance of Codex standards and related texts for food safety and quality in the protection of consumers' health and for ensuring fair practices in the food trade;
Having regard to the status of Codex standards and related texts as a reference in international trade in the framework of the WTO SPS and TBT Agreements;
Recognizing the essential support provided to the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standard Programme by the ongoing Joint FAO/WHO Expert bodies (JECFA and JMPR) and the expert or technical consultations convened on an ad hoc basis to address specific food safety and quality issues and in particular the importance of the advice of these Expert bodies for the protection of consumers' health and public health in general;
Recognizing the importance of the transparency, independence and scientific integrity of the opinions of these bodies;
Expresses its concern at possible real reductions in the budget allocated to the operation of the FAO/WHO expert bodies and consultations;
Draws the attention of its parent organizations, FAO and WHO to the need for continued financial support for the FAO/WHO expert bodies in order to provide regularly updated scientific advice to the Codex Alimentarius Commission and its subsidiary bodies;
Welcomes the continuing efforts by the Directors-General of FAO and WHO to maintain and strengthen the transparency, independence and scientific excellence of this advice.
Support to developing country members7
20. The Commission recalled that the 45th Session of the Executive Committee had requested the Secretariat to provide an estimate of the support provided by FAO and WHO to developing countries and welcomed the report prepared by the Secretariat. In addition to the information included in the document, the Representative of WHO/PAHO/INPPAZ presented an update of the major activities carried out in the Americas Region with emphasis on the Latin American and Caribbean countries in the following areas: integrated food protection programmes; strengthening of analytical capacity through a regional laboratory network, surveillance of foodborne diseases; training in GMP and HACCP; consumer information and participation; street-vended foods, and pointed out the importance of cooperation with FAO/WHO/PAHO in carrying out many of these activities.
7 ALINORM 99/5-Addendum
21. Many countries expressed their appreciation to FAO and WHO for the assistance provided in the following areas: strengthening of the National Codex Committees and Codex activities at the national or regional level; risk analysis; application of the HACCP system; updating of food legislation and improvement of food control systems. They stressed the need for continued support from FAO and WHO as well as donor countries to strengthen the infrastructure and technical capacities in these areas, and for improving their participation in Codex work.
22. Some countries pointed out that an evaluation of these technical cooperation activities should be carried out and that there should be a mechanism for assessing the practical results of the assistance and training provided to member countries. The Representative of FAO informed the Commission that the FAO Technical Cooperation Programmes (TCP) on food control had been subjected to an independent systematic evaluation and that the results of this evaluation were contained in the Programme Evaluation Report to be presented to the forthcoming FAO Conference8. The Representative of WHO indicated that in the area of public health, the reduction of the incidence of foodborne disease was an essential indicator to assess programmes concerning food safety. The Commission also noted that the Regional Coordinating Committees considered on a regular basis the outcome of the technical assistance programmes in the area of food legislation and food control at the national and regional levels, and had an important role in assessing the needs of member countries in each Region. The Commission noted that several countries had become members of the Commission following the workshops held in those countries and supported further development of Codex-related activities to promote and facilitate the involvement of developing country members in Codex work.
23. Some delegations, referring to the Special Report : Fisheries included in the document, expressed their appreciation to FAO for the programmes carried out in this area, especially concerning HACCP training, and stressed the need for continued training and assistance in view of the importance of this sector for developing countries. The Commission recalled that requests for support in this sector should be directed to the FAO Fisheries Department and that in general, requests for technical assistance from FAO and WHO should be presented by governments through the usual procedures for such requests.
24. The Commission expressed its appreciation to FAO and WHO for the information contained in the document and for the technical assistance provided to developing countries and strongly supported the continuation of such assistance, while recognizing the need to evaluate the impact of these programmes on a regular basis.
CONSIDERATION OF THE DRAFT MEDIUM-TERM PLAN 1998/2002 (AGENDA ITEM 5)9
25. The Commission considered the Draft Medium-Term Plan, which had been revised by the 45th Session of the Executive Committee in the light of the comments received from governments, at the request of the 22nd Session of the Commission.
26. The Commission noted that the criteria for the establishment of ad hoc Task Forces had been submitted for adoption by the current Session and therefore agreed to delete the reference to this work in the Medium-Term Plan (see also para. 67).
8 FAO document C99/4
9 ALINORM 99/6, CL 1997/14-EXEC, ALINORM 99/3, paras 16–20
27. The Delegation of India, supported by that of China and other delegations, stressed that small and medium-scale enterprises provided the major part of the food supply in developing countries, and that their specific needs should be taken into account, especially when considering risk analysis. The Commission recognized that this should be achieved through technical assistance and should not result in lowering the standards of health protection established at the international level. The Commission recognized the increased need for FAO and WHO support and technical assistance to developing countries in areas such as risk analysis, HACCP and Codex related activities and supported the continuation of such cooperation programmes.
28. The Delegation of India urged a graduated approach for the development and adoption of standards by committees. In the context of the world's food security needs, the Indian Delegation proposed that Codex should put emphasis on community food production programmes with greater participation of women. Horticultural interventions for raising nutrition standards also needed emphasis.
29. Under Production and Processing Systems, the Commission reasserted that high priority should be given to the consideration of foods derived from biotechnology and agreed to discuss further how to proceed in this area under Agenda Item 12. Recognizing that the Medium-Term Plan focused on general objectives and without prejudging the form that these considerations might take, the Commission agreed to refer to “standards, guidelines or other recommendations as appropriate”. The Commission also agreed that this matter should be considered “on the basis of scientific evidence and risk analysis and having regard, where appropriate, to legitimate factors other than science relevant for the health protection of consumers and the promotion of fair trade practices in food trade”, as proposed by the Delegation of the Netherlands.
30. The Commission recognized the importance of proceeding with work in the area of Equivalence and Mutual Recognition and Quality Assurance of Food Control Systems, as proposed by the Delegation of Peru and other delegations in order to facilitate import and export control.
31. Under Nutrition and Consumer Information, the Commission agreed with the proposal of the Delegation of Norway to refer to “relevant” labelling requirements and to include a reference to “consumer information” in the section on labelling, as it was noted that although some requirements were established on a scientific basis, especially as regards nutrition, the actual decision to require labelling reflected the need for adequate consumer information. The Delegation of China proposed that labelling requirements should focus on issues related to food safety and nutrition and that other labelling issues should be decided by Member countries. The Delegation of the United States, supported by others, stated that “legitimate factors relevant for the health protection of consumers and for the promotion of fair practices in food trade” included “consumer information”.
32. The Delegation of Algeria, supported by other delegations and observers, expressed the view that the participation of national NGOs in the work of Codex and related matters was important, especially in developing countries, and should be supported. The Commission recognized that this question should be addressed at the national level and agreed that member countries should be encouraged to provide support to NGOs while protecting their independence.
33. As regards the areas of Publication and Administration, the Commission expressed its appreciation to the Secretariat for the use of electronic means of communication, especially the availability of Codex documents on the Internet and on the Codex-L list, as this facilitated work and improved transparency. The Secretariat indicated that the traditional distribution of documents would be maintained especially for those countries with limited access to email or the Internet, and would be reduced only with the agreement of the countries concerned.
34. The Commission adopted the Medium-Term Plan 1998-2002 with the amendments indicated above, as presented in Appendix II to this report. The Commission agreed with the proposal of the Delegation of Republic of Korea that the preparation of the subsequent Medium-Term Plan should be initiated rapidly and noted that a Circular Letter to this effect would be sent to governments, with a view to considering this matter in the next Session of the Executive Committee.
CONSUMERS' INVOLVEMENT IN THE WORK OF THE CODEX ALIMENTARIUS COMMISSION10 (AGENDA ITEM 6)
Introduction and Background
35. The Commission recalled that the involvement of consumer and other International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) in the work of Codex had been discussed at the 20th and 21st Sessions of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. It welcomed the cooperation between the Secretariat and Consumers International in preparing the working paper and the inputs from FAO and WHO.
10 ALINORM 99/8; CAC/LIM 6 (Comments of Consumers International in response to ALINORM 99/8); CAC/LIM 11 (Comments of the International Association of Consumer Food Organizations).
36. The Observer from Consumers International expressed appreciation for the level of cooperation with the Commission and noted that the clear progress made in enhancing consumers' participation in the Codex work. However, the Observer noted that more work needed to be done to improve the situation in coordination particularly at the national level and in sharing experiences in training, as indicated in the survey of members of Consumers International as reported in CAC/LIM 6. The Observer noted that significant training initiatives on National Codex Committees and Codex Contact Points and risk analysis were taking place11 and asked, where possible, for Members to consider including consumer groups and representatives in these programmes in the future. The Observer stated that Consumers International had initiated a new regional training programme in addition to its ongoing training on Codex and was eager to cooperate further with the Commission at national and international levels in order to ensure participation of consumer organizations in this high profile area.
37. The Observer from the International Association of Consumer Food Organizations also welcomed the paper presented to the Commission and indicated that the presence of the Association may be considered as one example of the increased openness of the Commission to the participation of consumer organizations in its work.
38. The Commission expressed full support for efforts to enhance the participation of consumer organizations' in the development of food standards and also in relation to Codex at the national level. It agreed that it was highly desirable for consumers and their organizations to participate in training activities designed to establish or strengthen Codex Contact Points or National Codex Committees.
39. The Commission noted the outcome of the FAO/PAHO/CI Regional Workshop on the Integration of Consumer Interests in Food Control and Food Production (Quito, 1996) - outlined in Appendix B of the working paper. Nevertheless, the Commission recognized that several of the recommendations of this Workshop could be interpreted as calling for the participation of consumers in official food control activities. Several delegations stated that whereas consumers, their organizations and other interested parties could be involved in the development of standards, official food and control activities to determine compliance with standards and regulations were the responsibility of government authorities and the legal system. The Commission noted that it had already accepted that, “while respecting legitimate concerns to protect confidentiality, the principles and operations of food inspection and certification should be open to scrutiny by consumers and their organizations and other interested parties”.12
40. Several delegations reported that consumer participation at the different stages of development of food legislation, standard setting and decision making processes was authorized by legislation. However, some delegations expressed the need to arrive at a better understanding of what constituted a legitimate “consumers' organization”, stating that such an understanding was needed if organizations were to be involved in the food standards development and Codex processes at the national level. The Observer from Consumers International noted that CI had prepared and published guidance on this matter.
41. The Commission noted that in some developing countries consumer organizations were not well established, the educational level of consumers was low, scientific or technical expertise was unavailable, and resource constraints and communication problems did not allow consumers to participate effectively in the process. The need for training was especially highlighted.
42. Several delegations expressed concern that some consumer organizations tended to reflect only the views, interests and culture of consumers in industrialised countries and that a wider basis of opinions, especially from consumers in developing countries, would be useful and welcome. The Observer from Consumers International noted that this organization had a world-wide membership and regional offices located in developing countries to encourage the development of the widest possible consensus on issues of concern to consumers.
11 See ALINORM 99/5-Addendum.
12 Principles for Food Inspection and Certification, CAC/GL 20-1995.
43. The Commission considered the recommendations addressed to it in the paper. The Commission:
Agreed to consider the development of a “checklist” of measurable objectives to assess consumer participation in Codex work at the national and international levels and asked the Committee on General Principles to review the proposal contained in the document.
Noted the recommendations of the Quito Workshop without endorsing them (see para. 39, above);
Recommended that consideration be given by FAO and WHO, in co-operation with consumer organizations, to the development of guidelines or models for enhancing consumer participation in Codex and food standards work at the national and international levels;
Noted that there was little support for the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme and related FAO and WHO programmes to identify funds to support expanded participation of consumer International Non-Governmental Organizations in Codex, stating that any resources available to Codex should be directed first to developing Member countries of the Commission;
Recommended that FAO, WHO and national governments work with national and international consumer organizations to improve the dissemination of Codex information to consumers;
Recommended that FAO, WHO and national governments invite consumer organizations to participate in national, sub-regional or regional workshops and seminars relevant to Codex matters; and
Proposed that Regional Coordinating Committees continue to take the opportunity to provide a forum for the exchange of experience on the ways and means of developing consumer input into National Codex Committees and Contact Points.
44. The Commission noted the recommendation that the Codex Committee on General Principles develop proposals that would allow for a limited number of representatives of the INGOs in Observer Status with the Codex Alimentarius Commission to be invited as observers to Sessions of the Executive Committee. Several delegations indicated that the Executive Committee was an executive organ of the Commission and that according to the Rules of Procedure of the Commission, its composition was strictly limited. It was stated that it would be unfair to Member countries of the Commission to extend “observer status” to INGOs at Sessions of the Executive Committee when Members themselves were not invited to attend as observers. Other delegations favoured the proposals, but noted that there were a number of issues that had to be considered carefully, including the assurance of a fair representation of all of the INGOs contributing to the Codex process; the rights of such organizations as observers; how such organizations would be selected; and how to ensure that the Executive Committee would continue to function as an effective and efficient body under the Commission.
45. It was noted that three broad classes of INGOs had been identified in the working document, namely consumers and other public interest groups; the food industry, trade and marketing organizations; and professional and scientific international non-governmental organizations. It was noted that all of these groups had made valuable contributions to the Codex process and therefore consideration could be given to enhancing the transparency and credibility of Codex decisions by also involving these groups in the work of the Executive Committee. Without prejudice to any decision that might be taken at a later stage, the Commission agreed to ask the Committee on General Principles to develop proposals for its consideration on this matter.
46. Some delegations expressed the opinion that the composition of the Executive Committee as set out in Rule III.1 of the Rules of Procedure required reconsideration, as the basic Rule had been in place since the First Session of the Commission in 1963. The Delegation of Japan pointed out that clarification was needed regarding the participation, as observers, of Member countries. Proposals included the enlargement of the Executive Committee with the possibility of electing several Members from the different Regions as was the case with FAO Council and other bodies. The Secretariat was requested to consult the Legal Counsels and Offices of the Directors-Generals of FAO and WHO on these matters, taking into account the status of the Executive Committee as described in the Commission's Statutes, and to report to the Committee on General Principles.
PRINCIPLES OF RISK ANALYSIS (AGENDA ITEM 7)13
47. The Representative of WHO introduced the document, which presented a progress report on the work undertaken so far to implement the Action Plan approved by the 22nd Session of the Commission. The Commission expressed its appreciation to FAO and WHO for the organization of expert consultations and noted that most of the recommendations included in the document had been developed by these expert consultations. The Commission noted that the recommendations in Annex 2 and 3 of the discussion paper had formed the basis of the recommendations considered and revised by the Executive Committee. The Commission considered the recommendations in the working paper as amended by the Executive Committee.
48. The Commission recalled that the proposal for possible attendance of observers at the Executive Committee had been considered under Agenda Item 6 - Consumer's Involvement and the Commission agreed to delete this proposal from the recommendations for adoption on risk analysis (see also para. 44–45).
49. The Commission had an extensive exchange of views on the recommendation calling on governments to incorporate risk analysis in their legislation. Some delegations opposed this proposal since risk analysis was a relatively new discipline and enough time should be allowed for developing countries to integrate these principles in their legislation in view of difficulties, such as lack of resources and trained personnel. Other delegations, while recognizing the need to allow for flexibility, supported the general recommendation included in the document, especially in view of the provisions of the WTO SPS Agreement concerning risk assessment. The Commission agreed that governments should be encouraged to integrate risk analysis in their legislation, and noted that the difficulties of developing countries were addressed in other recommendations.
50. Several delegations expressed the view that many useful training programmes had been developed, especially as regards the application of HACCP, but that the differences between such programmes might create confusion, and they stressed the importance of harmonizing the training programmes on risk analysis. The Commission agreed to amend the relevant recommendation accordingly. The Representative of FAO indicated that a Training Manual on HACCP had been published and was currently used as the basis for FAO training in several regions, and that a training manual on risk analysis was under development in cooperation with WHO and ILSI.
51. As regards the report on FAO and WHO training initiatives, technical assistance and support, many delegations expressed their appreciation for the technical training and assistance provided by the parent organizations and stressed the need for continued assistance with specific focus on the risk analysis needs of developing countries. The Commission agreed to include additional recommendations to this effect.
52. The Commission agreed with the proposal of the Delegation of the Netherlands to emphasize the need for increased interaction and communication between expert bodies, such as JECFA and JMPR, and Codex Committees along the principles of risk analysis and a recommendation to this effect was introduced. The Observer from Consumers International stated that it was necessary to provide risk assessment clear and unequivocal policy to JECFA and JMPR.
13 ALINORM 99/9, ALINORM 99/4, paras. 9–16, CAC/LIM 2 (Comments of Consumers International), CAC/LIM 9 (comments of India)
53. The Observer from the Global Crop Protection Federation noted the recommendation from the FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on the Application of Risk Communication to identify and involve experts with a wider range of scientific perspectives in the work of international advisory bodies (such as JECFA and JMPR) and expert consultations. The Observer expressed concern about considering the presence of observers during the meetings of the JMPR, due to the proprietary nature of the data being discussed.
54. The Delegation of India, referring to its comments made during the Committee on General Principles, and reproduced in the document, stressed the importance of taking into account the situation prevailing in developing countries since primary production was largely through small and medium-scale enterprises, and to include data from those countries in the risk assessment process. The Delegation also proposed that the economic consequences and feasibility of risk management options should be considered in the risk management process. This position was supported by several delegations and the Commission, recognizing the need to take into account the specific situation of developing countries, introduced new recommendations to address these concerns.
55. The Delegations of Denmark and Sweden, supported by other delegations, proposed to reiterate the request of the 22nd Session of the Commission for the establishment of an FAO/WHO expert committee on microbiological hazards, as risk assessment and scientific advice were an essential basis for the work of the Committee on Food Hygiene. The Commission agreed to add a recommendation to this effect.
56. The Commission then adopted the following recommendations to be applied in the framework of Codex:
Programmes that contribute to risk analysis should have high priority;
Relevant Codex Committees should continue to develop and to apply risk analysis principles and methodologies appropriate to their specific mandates within the framework of the Action Plan and report their progress to the Commission on a regular basis;
Proposals for new or amended definitions for use within the framework of risk analysis, as appropriate, should be considered by the Codex Committee on General Principles;
To overcome confusion about the usage of the terms “risk analysis” and “hazard analysis”, the Commission should reiterate its definitions for these concepts and explain how they apply in practice;
The Commission should continue and expand its efforts to increase the participation of those national governments and NGOs that are members or observers but that are not presently active participants in Codex matters;
Relevant Codex committees should appoint a co-author from a developing country for position papers, where the main author(s) is from a developed country;
Relevant Codex committees should consider developing quality criteria for data used for risk assessment. To the extent possible such criteria should be consistent with one another, taking into account the technical differences in the disciplines covered;
Relevant Codex committees should consider the acute aspects of dietary exposure to chemicals in food;
Recognizing that primary production in developing countries is largely through small and medium enterprises, risk assessment should be based on global data, including that from developing countries. This data should particularly include epidemiological surveillance data and exposure studies;
Risk management should take into account the economic consequences and the feasibility of risk management options in developing countries. Risk Management should also recognize the need for flexibility in the establishment of standards, guidelines and other recommendations, consistent with the protection of consumers' health.
57. The Commission also endorsed the following recommendations addressed to governments:
Member governments should participate actively in Codex work. Governments should also consider, to the extent possible, the views of all interested parties when formulating the national position on a Codex matter. Further, governments are encouraged to communicate and explain the basis of the decisions of Codex to those same interested parties and to the public at large;
Governments should adopt organizational structures and procedures that assure transparency and that allow National Codex Committees to consider consumer and private sector opinions. Cooperation should be developed with the consumer and private sectors in risk communication -especially in developing simple messages concerning food quality and safety;
Governments are encouraged to incorporate principles of risk analysis when establishing or updating national legislation on food safety matters;
58. The Commission endorsed the following recommendations addressed to FAO and WHO:
FAO and WHO should develop harmonized training or other programmes designed to increase the understanding of the risk analysis process and the role of risk communication, both for member countries and for international organizations active in Codex work;
FAO and WHO should continue to assist, on a priority basis, developing countries by providing training at regional, sub-regional or national levels in introducing and applying different aspects of risk analysis, HACCP and good manufacturing, agricultural and hygienic practices and development of ways to apply risk-based good practices in small businesses;
FAO and WHO should take greater steps to strengthen their work in assisting developing countries to undertake dietary/nutrition studies, monitoring programmes and intake/exposure assessment;
FAO and WHO should strengthen transparency in scientific risk assessment. This includes transparency in the choice of experts and the advice being given including how uncertainties are addressed;
FAO and WHO, as parent organizations, should emphasize the need for increased interaction and communication between expert bodies, such as JECFA and JMPR, and the Codex Committees, such as CCFAC, CCRVDF and CCPR, and should request the expert advisory bodies and the subsidiary committees to cooperate along the principles of risk analysis;
The Commission reiterated its request to FAO and WHO to convene an international expert advisory body similar to JECFA and JMPR on the microbiological aspects of food safety to address particularly microbiological risk assessment.
CONSIDERATION OF AMENDMENTS TO THE PROCEDURAL MANUAL OF THE CODEX ALIMENTARIUS COMMISSION (AGENDA ITEM 8)14
Proposed Amendments to The Rules of Procedure
59. The Commission determined that the quorum specified in Rule IV.6 for the amendment of the Rules of Procedure had been constituted.
60. The Commission agreed to amend Rule II - Officers and Rule IX.7 and IX.10 on the appointment of Regional Coordinators as proposed by the Committee on General Principles.
61. The Commission considered the proposal to amend Rule X - Elaboration of Standards to stress that every effort should be made to reach consensus. The Delegation of India, supported by China, Malaysia and other delegations expressed the view that, when decisions could not be reached by consensus and voting was required, a two-third majority should be introduced, in view of the importance of Codex texts as a reference in international trade. The Chairperson recalled that the question of majority was not under discussion at the present session and that only the proposal concerning the importance on consensus had been submitted to the Commission. The Commission noted that this question was currently under consideration in the Committee on General Principles, where no conclusion had been reached so far, and agreed that the Committee should proceed with its work on this issue as a matter of priority.
14 ALINORM 99/10 Part I and II ; CAC/LIM 16
62. The Commission noted the proposal from the Delegation of Australia to refer to “all reasonable efforts” rather than every effort to take into account the practical aspects of the decision process. The Commission however recalled that the amendment had been discussed thoroughly in the Committee on General Principles and adopted the amendment to Rule X as proposed.
63. The Commission also considered the proposed amendment to Rule III.1 which provided for an additional member of the Executive Committee, representing the Near East Region, and which had been submitted at the current session in accordance with Rule XIII (see para. 6). Following questions from some delegations on the membership of the Region, the Commission noted that questions relating to the establishment of the new Coordinating Committee would be considered under Agenda Item 12 -Designation of Host Governments.
64. The Commission adopted the proposed amendment to Rule III.1 concerning the membership of the Near East in the Executive Committee. The Delegations of Saudi Arabia and Egypt expressed their appreciation to the Commission, as the establishment of the new Region and Regional Committee would offer an opportunity for the countries of the Near East to develop their involvement in the work of Codex.
65. The Commission was informed that the amended Rules would be submitted to the Directors-General of FAO and WHO for approval as required by Rule XII.1 of the Rules of Procedure. The FAO Legal Counsel informed the Commission that, following the adoption of the amendment to Rule III.1, it was possible to proceed with the election of the Representative for the Near East Region, with the understanding that the result of the election would be confirmed when the amended Rule entered into force.
66. The Commission noted the proposal of the Delegation of Republic of Korea to increase the membership of the Executive Committee and recalled that all relevant aspects pertaining to the composition and role of that Committee would be considered by the Committee on General Principles, as agreed earlier.
Criteria for the Establishment of Work Priorities and Criteria for the Establishment of Subsidiary Bodies of the Codex Alimentarius Commission
67. The Commission adopted the amendments separating the criteria for work priorities from the criteria for establishing subsidiary bodies, which include provisions for the establishment of ad hoc Intergovernmental Task Forces operating for a limited period of time under closely defined terms of reference, but functioning in the same manner as established Codex Committees.
Relations Between Commodity and General Committees: Draft Amendment to the Food Hygiene Provisions
68. The Commission adopted the amendment concerning the food hygiene provisions to be used in the commodity standards as proposed.
Terms of Reference of the Codex Committee on Milk and Milk Products
69. The Commission adopted the Terms of Reference as proposed.
Definitions for the Purpose of Codex: Definitions of Risk Analysis Terms Related to Food Safety (Risk Communication - Risk Management)
70. The Commission agreed to amend the definition of Risk Communication as suggested by the Delegation of Canada, deleting the reference to “hazard” in order to avoid any confusion between risk and hazard. The Commission adopted the revised definitions of Risk Communication and Risk Management as proposed.
Draft Principles Concerning the Participation of International Non-Governmental Organizations in the Work of the Codex Alimentarius Commission
71. The Commission adopted the Draft Principles as proposed.
Core Functions of Codex Contact Points
72. The Commission adopted the Proposed Core Functions, and noted that the structure and operation of Codex Contact Points was the responsibility of governments, as reflected in the introductory paragraph.
73. The amendments and additions to the Rules and other amendments to the Procedural Manual are presented in Appendix III and IV to this report, respectively.
CONSIDERATION OF DRAFT STANDARDS AND RELATED TEXTS (AGENDA ITEM 9)
74. The Commission considered a number of draft standards and related texts that had been developed by its subsidiary bodies. It considered standards and related texts submitted at Step 8 of the Uniform Procedure for the Elaboration of Codex Standards and Related Texts and texts submitted at Step 5 where, in certain cases, the subsidiary body had recommended the omission of Steps 6 and 7. It also considered texts submitted at Step 5 of the Accelerated Procedure. The results of the Commission's consideration of these standards and related texts are presented in tabular form in Appendix VII of the present report. The following paragraphs of this report provide additional information concerning the discussions that took place on certain items or contain additional decisions taken by Commission in regard to the adoption of certain texts.
Matters pending from the Twenty-Second Session of the Commission
Consideration of Draft Maximum Residue Limits for Bovine Somatotropins (BST)15
75. The Commission recalled that it had decided at its 22nd Session to suspend the consideration of the adoption of the MRLs for Bovine Somatotropins (BST) pending the re-evaluation of scientific data by JECFA and the Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods and the examination of the application of the “other legitimate factors” in relation to BST by the Committee on General Principles. The Chairperson of the Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods reported that the Fiftieth Meeting of JECFA had re-evaluated BST and that the previous MRLs “not specified” for BST were confirmed when the substance was used in accordance with good veterinary practice. The Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods, however, had been unable to reach a consensus on the adoption of the MRLs and the Chairperson had advanced them to Step 8 in order to submit them to the Commission for consideration. The Chairperson of the Committee on General Principles noted that the application of “other legitimate factors” in the case of BST had been considered twice by the Committee, and also that this Committee had been unable to reach a consensus on the issues at hand.
76. The Delegation of the United States stated that in its opinion, the scientific evaluation should be the only determining factor for the adoption of the MRLs, and that on the basis of these evaluations the MRLs should be adopted. Nevertheless, the Delegation noted the lack of consensus on this issue and proposed that the MRLs be held at Step 8 with a view to resuming their consideration in the future at such a time as it appeared that it might be possible to arrive at a consensus.
77. The Delegation of Germany, speaking on behalf of the Members of the European Union present at the Session, referred to the written comments submitted to the Commission (ALINORM 99/21, Part I, Addendum 3 and re-stated that the adoption of the MRLs would not be appropriate. The Delegation supported the proposal to retain the MRLs at Step 8.
78. No other views being presented by Members, the Commission therefore decided to hold the MRLs at Step 8 in accordance with the provisions contained in the introductory paragraphs of the Uniform Procedure for the Elaboration of Codex Standards and Related Texts.
79. The Representative of COMISA expressed the disappointment of that Organization at the Commission's decision, and expressed the hope that a consensus on these matters would emerge at a future session.
15 ALINORM 99/37, paras. 68–69; ALINORM 99/21 - Part I, Addendum 2; ALINORM 99/31, paras. 65–70 and Appendix II; ALINORM 99/33, paras. 59–64; ALINORM 99/33A, paras. 77–85. See also comments in ALINORM 99/21 - Part I, Addendum 3 (France, Germany/EC, South Africa, United States of America, Consumers International).
80. The Commission noted the views of the Delegation of Indonesia that as long as the question of defining the scope of the expression “other legitimate factors” remained unresolved, these factors could act as disguised restrictions to trade.
Draft Standards and Related Texts at Step 8 or Steps 5/8 of Normal Procedure, or at Step 5 of Accelerated Procedure
Milk and Milk Products
Draft General Standard for the Use of Dairy Terms16
81. The Commission noted that in the course of the revision of the Code of Principles Concerning Milk and Milk Products, the Codex Committee on Milk and Milk Products had redrafted the Draft Revised Code in the format of a Codex Standard following the recommendations of the Commission made at its 22nd Session.
82. The text had been thoroughly discussed by the Committee as well as the Codex Committee on Food Labelling. The latter Committee had endorsed the labelling provisions of the Draft General Standard with the amendments to the following sections17:
Sections 4.2, 4.3, 4.4 and 4.5 (for clarification of section titles and objectives of these sections);
Section 4.2.3 (for mandatory declaration of protein standardization); and
Section 4.6.3 (for addition of a footnote for clarification).
83. The Delegation of Malaysia strongly expressed its reservation to the adoption of the standard and proposed to amend Section 4.6.2 concerning the use of dairy terms for other foods, in order to allow the marketing and trade of recombined products, such as filled milk, in which the milk components had been substituted wholly or partially with non-milk components as well as deletion of Section 4.6.4. The Delegation stated that these products had a long history of use in developing countries and were necessary to allow technological innovation, to address specific consumer problems, such as allergies, and to provide greater choice to consumers thus offering greater market opportunities for milk components. This proposal was supported by a number of delegations from Southeast Asia and Egypt. The Delegation of the Philippines also stated that the prohibition of the use of dairy terms for these products might lead to restrictions in international trade. These Delegations also suggested that the draft be returned to the Committee on Milk and Milk Products for further deliberation.
84. The Chairperson of the Committee on Milk and Milk Products stated that such changes would significantly alter the nature of the standard and the Commission was informed that Section 4.6.2 of the Draft General Standard as currently drafted allowed the use of dairy terms for traditional products, such as coconut milk.
85. The Commission adopted the Draft General Standard as amended by the Codex Committee on Food Labelling to replace the existing Code of Principles Concerning Milk and Milk Products. It agreed to request the Committee on Milk and Milk Products to consider, as a matter of urgency, the necessity to elaborate a standard for recombined products such as filled milk and derived products where the milk components had been substituted wholly or partially by non-milk components. Since these type of products appeared to be wide-spread in Asia, it also requested the Coordinating Committee for Asia to consider this issue in parallel to the Committee on Milk and Milk Products.
16 ALINORM 99/11, Appendix II; ALINORM 99/21, Part I; ALINORM 99/21, Part I-Add. 3 (comments from Malaysia, Norway, Spain & United Kingdom); ALINORM 99/21, Part I Addendum 4 (Status of Endorsement); LIM 10 (comments from Thailand); LIM 16 (comments from China).
17 ALINORM 99/22A, paras 7–13.
Draft Revised Standard for Butter18
86. In relation to the maximum level for lead, the Commission noted that this level had been endorsed by the Codex Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants and that the Committee had been considering general maximum levels of lead in foods. It was agreed that when these general maximum levels were finally agreed by the Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants, it might be necessary for the Committee on Milk and Milk Products to revisit the maximum lead level in butter.
87. The Commission agreed to amend Section 7.2 Declaration of Milkfat Content as proposed by the Codex Committee on Food Labelling. This decision is applicable to all other Draft Standards for milk products except for that for milkfat products. It also agreed to delete the term “or volume” from the same Section as it was not possible to express milkfat content as percentage by volume for non-liquid products. This decision is also applicable to other Draft Standards covering non-liquid milk products. The Commission adopted the Draft Revised Standard with the above amendments to replace the existing Standard for Butter and Whey Butter.
Draft Revised Standard for Milkfat Products19
88. The Commission adopted the Draft Revised Standard to replace the existing Standard for Butteroil and Anhydrous Butteroil and Anhydrous Milkfat. It was pointed out that the use of local names for ghee was allowed by the General Standard for the Labelling of Prepackaged Foods.
Draft Revised Standard for Evaporated Milks20
Draft Revised Standard for Sweetened Condensed Milks21
89. The Commission adopted the Draft Revised Standards with the amendment in Section 7.2 Declaration of Milkfat Content (see para. 87) to replace the respective existing Standards.
Draft Revised Standard for Milk Powders and Cream Powders22
90. The Commission adopted the Draft Revised Standard to replace the existing Standard for Whole Milk Powder, Partly Skimmed Milk Powder and Skimmed Milk Powder and the Standard for Cream Powder, Half Cream Powder and High Fat Milk Powder with the following amendments:
Replacement of the term “Cream Powders” with “Cream Powder” in the Title, Scope and Description;
Deletion of polydimethylsiloxane and potassium aluminium silicate from the list of permitted food additives as they had not been endorsed by the Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants; and
Amendments to Section 7.2 Declaration of Milkfat Content (see para. 87).
18 ALINORM 99/11, Appendix IV; ALINORM 99/21, Part I; ALINORM 99/21, Part I-Add.3 (comments from Czech Republic, Egypt, Poland & Spain); ALINORM 99/21, Part I Addendum 4 (Status of Endorsement); LIM 10 (comments from Thailand); LIM 11 (comments from International Association of Consumer Food Organizations); LIM 12 (comments from India); LIM 16 (comments from China).
19 ALINORM 99/11, Appendix V; ALINORM 99/21, Part I; ALINORM 99/21, Part I-Add.3 (comments from Egypt & Spain); ALINORM 99/21, Part I Addendum 4 (Status of Endorsement); LIM 10 (comments from Thailand); LIM 11 (comments from International Association of Consumer Food Organizations); LIM 12 (comments from India).
20 ALINORM 99/11, Appendix VI; ALINORM 99/21, Part I; ALINORM 99/21, Part I-Add.3 (comments from Czech Republic, Egypt & Poland); ALINORM 99/21, Part I Addendum 4 (Status of Endorsement); LIM 10 (comments from Thailand); LIM 11 (comments from International Association of Consumer Food Organizations).
21 ALINORM 99/11, Appendix VII; ALINORM 99/21, Part I; ALINORM 99/21, Part I-Add.3 (comments from Czech Republic, Egypt & Poland); ALINORM 99/21, Part I Addendum 4 (Status of Endorsement); LIM 10 (comments from Thailand); LIM 11 (comments from International Association of Consumer Food Organizations).
22 ALINORM 99/11, Appendix VIII; ALINORM 99/21, Part I; ALINORM 99/21, Part I-Add.3 (comments from Czech Republic, Egypt & Poland); ALINORM 99/21, Part I Addendum 4 (Status of Endorsement); LIM 10 (comments from Thailand); LIM 11 (comments from International Association of Consumer Food Organizations).
Draft Revised Standard for Cheese23
91. The Delegation of Japan, while not opposing the adoption of the Draft Revised Standard, proposed that the Commission request the Committee on Milk and Milk Products to consider the inclusion of a minimum level of protein in the Standard to provide for better guidance on product classification/identification, and to ensure that the coagulation was the key factor in the production of cheese. Many delegations supported this proposal. The Delegation of Australia expressed the view that the inclusioon of a minimum protein level as a definitional criterion was unnecessary.
92. The Delegation of Norway, also not opposed to the adoption of the Draft Standard, proposed to reconsider Section 3.1 Raw Materials because the change made at the 3rd Session of the Committee as a consequential amendment was, in effect, a substantial one and would require further consideration.
93. Some delegations expressed concerns about chlorophylls and titanium dioxide permitted for use in cheese when they were used as decolorants. The Commission noted that these uses had been endorsed by the Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants. The Delegation of Switzerland pointed out that the use of pimaricin in sliced, cut, shredded or grated cheese was still a matter pending and required further discussion by the Committee on Milk and Milk Products.
94. The Committee adopted the Draft Revised Standard with the following amendments to replace the existing Standard for Cheese:
Insertion of the term “Codex” before term “Standard” in the preamble part of Section 4 for clarification;
Deletion of four food additives not endorsed by the Codex Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants; and
Amendment to Section 7.2 Declaration of Milkfat Content (see para. 87)
95. The Commission requested the Committee on Milk and Milk Product to consider; (1) inclusion of a minimum level for protein; and (2) raw materials. It also requested that Committee to give priority in the revision of individual cheese Standards.
Draft Revised Standard for Whey Cheese24
96. The Commission adopted the Draft Standard with amendment in Section 7.2 Declaration of Milkfat Content (see para.. 87) to replace the existing Standard for Whey Cheese.
23 ALINORM 99/11, Appendix IX; ALINORM 99/21, Part I; ALINORM 99/21, Part I-Add.3 (comments from Czech Republic, Egypt, Japan, Norway, Poland & Spain); ALINORM 99/21, Part I Addendum 4 (Status of Endorsement); LIM 5 (comments from Australia; corrigendum); LIM 9 (comment from International Dairy Federation); LIM 10 (comments from Bangladesh, Japan and Thailand); LIM 11 (comments from International Association of Consumer Food Organizations); LIM 12 (comments from India).
24 ALINORM 99/11, Appendix X; ALINORM 99/21, Part I; ALINORM 99/21, Part I-Add.3 (comments from Czech Republic, Egypt, Poland & Spain); ALINORM 99/21, Part I Addendum 4 (Status of Endorsement); LIM 9 (comment from International Dairy Federation); LIM 10 (comments from Thailand); LIM 11 (comments from International Association of Consumer Food Organizations).
Draft Group Standard for Cheeses in Brine25
97. The Delegation of Cyprus proposed to delete the second paragraph in Section 4 Food Additives. It was recognized that this paragraph had been included to allow for the development of new possibilities to draw up new individual standards for varieties of cheeses in brine. As there had been no such Standard yet, the Commission agreed to delete the paragraph with the understanding that if the Committee on Milk and Milk Products developed an individual Standard(s) to cover varieties of cheeses in brine it would consider the need for additional food additives for these varieties and reinstatement of this paragraph in this Standard.
98. The Commission adopted the Draft Standard with the following amendments in addition to the above:
Insertion of the term “Codex” before the term “standards for individual varieties” in the Scope; and
Amendment to Section 7.2 Declaration of Milkfat Content (para. 87).
99. The Commission requested that for the final publication of these Standards, the Spanish and French versions should be corrected taking into consideration editorial comments provided by Spain and Argentina, and France, respectively.
Food Additives and Contaminants
Draft Maximum Level and Sampling Plans for Total Aflatoxins in Peanuts Intended for Further Processing26
100. The Observer of the European Community and other delegations suggested an alternative sampling plan to more thoroughly address sample selection, sample preparation and analytical methods for the detection of aflatoxins. These delegations suggested that the proposed sampling plan should either be held in abeyance or adopted on an interim basis so that the Codex Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants could consider alternative sampling proposals in collaboration with the Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling.
101. Other delegations supported the adoption of the draft level and sampling plan as proposed because the Committee had discussed the issue over many years, and the importance of linking the maximum level with the applied sampling plan was consistently recognized. It was noted that the maximum level and sampling plans were developed on the basis of expert advice arising from an FAO Consultation27 and an extensive risk assessment was recently conducted by the 49th Session of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives28. It was also stated that further processing significantly reduced the level of contamination and that in any case, a further reduction in the draft maximum level or significant modification in the sampling plan could create severe negative impacts on trade with no significant increase in health protection for consumers.
102. The Commission adopted the maximum level of 15 μg/kg for total aflatoxins in peanuts intended for further processing. The Commission also adopted the draft sampling plan on an interim basis, with the understanding that the issue would be further considered by the Committee and the Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling on the basis of proposals to be developed by an electronic working group prior to their next Sessions.
25 ALINORM 99/11, Appendix XI; ALINORM 99/21, Part I; ALINORM 99/21, Part I-Add.3 (comments from Czech Republic, Norway, & Spain); ALINORM 99/21, Part I Addendum 4 (Status of Endorsement); LIM 9 (comment from International Dairy Federation); LIM 10 (comments from Thailand); LIM 11 (comments from International Association of Consumer Food Organizations).
26 ALINORM 99/12, Appendix X and comments from South Africa, Uruguay and the European Community (ALINORM 99/21, Part 1 - Add. 3).
27 FAO Consultation on Sampling Plans for Aflatoxin Analysis in Peanuts and Corn (FAO Food and Nutrition Paper 55, 1993).
28 49th Meeting of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives, Rome, 17–26 June 1997, WHO Technical Reports Series, No. 884, 1999.
Draft Maximum Level for Aflatoxin M1 in Milk29
103. Many delegations expressed opposition to the adoption of the draft level of 0.05μg/kg for various reasons. These delegations noted that the availability, application and costs associated with methods of analysis for the determination of aflatoxins at the lower level were significant. They noted that adoption of the lower level would result in severe disruptions to trade in feeding stuffs and that liquid milk for direct consumption was not widely traded internationally. The Commission noted that the risk assessment conducted by the 49th JECFA had shown that the potential carcinogenicity of Aflatoxin M1 was approximately ten times less than that of Aflatoxin B1.30
104. Many other delegations supported the level of 0.05μg/kg as proposed. These delegations noted that the lower level was needed to protect high intake milk-drinkers and vulnerable populations such as infants and young children, and that the level was set as low as reasonably achievable. They pointed out that this low level could be easily detected analytically.
105. As the Commission could not reach a consensus, it agreed to return the Draft Maximum Level for Aflatoxin M1 in Milk to Step 6 for additional comments and further consideration by the Codex Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants. This decision was taken with the understanding that information should be provided on the public health and the potential economic implications of a higher level or a lower level as proposed, and the levels of aflatoxin contamination found in milk.
Draft Amendments to the Food Additive Provisions in the Codex Standard for Food Grade Salt31
106. The Commission agreed with the endorsements32 of the Codex Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants, including the removal of specific provisions for the use of Salts of Myristic, Palmitic or Stearic Acids (aluminium, magnesium) from the Standard. The Commission confirmed that the maximum level for tricalcium orthophosphate should be 20 g/kg. The Delegation of Italy pointed out that a number of editorial amendments to the text were required as indicated in CAC/LIM 9.
Codex General Standard for Food Additives: Draft Provisions for Additives Permitted for Use Under Specified Conditions in Certain Food Categories or Individual Food Items (Table One)33
107. The Commission agreed to the adoption of the Committee's recommendation to add a footnote to Section 1.1 (Permitted Food Additives) of the Preamble to the General Standard for Food Additives to clarify that the Standard was being developed gradually.34 In view of the Committee's previous agreement to collaborate with the Office International de la Vigne et du Vin (OIV)35, especially on the matter of harmonization of provisions for additives, the Commission removed those provisions for the use of alpha-amylase, dimethyl dicarbonate, polydimethysiloxane and polyvinylpyrrolidone in wines.
108. The Commission noted that the Committee had previously agreed that numerical levels would be retained in preference to levels for additives based on good manufacturing practice for additives with numerical Acceptable Daily Intakes.36 In view of this decision, the Commission decided that the draft maximum use levels of “good manufacturing practice” for additives with a numerical Acceptable Daily Intake should include a note indicating that the elaboration of specific use levels was subject to future consideration.
109. The Commission confirmed that, prior to its publication, the General Standard should take into account the endorsed food additives provisions contained in Codex Commodity Standards.
110. The Commission adopted the draft provisions for the additives proposed with the deletions mentioned in para. 107, above, and agreed that these provisions should be updated on a regular basis.
29 ALINORM 99/12, Appendix X and comments from the United Kingdom and Uruguay (ALINORM 99/21, Part 1 - Add. 3).
30 Safety Evaluation of Certain Food Additives and Contaminants, Food Additives Series No. 40, pp. 359–468, WHO, Geneva, 1998.
31 Codex Standard for Food Grade Salt (CODEX STAN 150-1985).
32 ALINORM 99/12, Appendix VII.
33 ALINORM 99/12A, Appendix II and comments from Brazil (ALINORM 99/21, Part I - Add. 3).
34 ALINORM 99/12A, Appendix V and CL 1999/4-FAC.
35 ALINORM 99/12, para. 37; ALINORM 99/24A, para. 51; CAC/LIM 10.
36 ALINORM 99/12, para. 28.