Codex General Standard for Food Additives: Additives Permitted for Use in Food in General, Unless Otherwise Specified, in Accordance with Good Manufacturing Practice (Table 3) and Food Categories or Individual Food Items Excluded from the General Conditions of Table 3 (Annex to Table 3)37
111. The Commission agreed to the suggestion of the Observer of the European Community, supported by other delegations, to include specific food categories for Concentrates (liquid and solid) for fruit juices (188.8.131.52), Canned or bottled (pasteurized) fruit nectar (184.108.40.206) and Concentrates (liquid and solid) for fruit nectar (220.127.116.11) to the Annex to Table 3.
112. The Delegation of the United States noted that the Preamble to the General Standard made clear that food categories were not necessarily synonymous with Codex Standards, nor were they intended for labelling purposes. As the delegation felt that this issue could best be resolved directly by the Committee, the United States reserved its position concerning the Commission's decision.
Committee on Food Hygiene
Draft Code of Hygienic Practice for Refrigerated Packaged Food with Extended Shelf-Life38
113. The Commission adopted the Draft Code at Step 8.
Draft Principles and Guidelines for the Conduct of Microbiological Risk Assessment39
114. The Commission adopted the Draft Principles and Guidelines at Step 8.
Draft Amendment to the Recommended International Code of Practice: General Principles of Food Hygiene (Cleaning Procedures and Methods)40
115. The Commission adopted the Draft Amendment at Step 5 of the Accelerated Procedure.
FISH AND FISHERY PRODUCTS41
Draft Guidelines for the Sensory Evaluation of Fish and Shellfish in Laboratories
116. The Commission noted the comments from the Delegations of Peru and Egypt on the nature of histamine and the factors affecting its levels in fish. The Commission adopted the Draft Guidelines at Step 8, with the understanding that editorial comments would be taken into account when publishing the final text.
Draft Amendment to the Standard for Canned Sardines and Sardine-Type Products
117. The Chairman of the Committee on Fish and Fishery Products recalled that the 21st Session of the Commission had requested that the Accelerated Procedure should be generally used for the inclusion of additional fish species to the Standards, with a view to facilitating trade, and especially the exports from developing countries. The procedure specific to the Committee, whereby three independent laboratories examine samples provided by interested countries, was applied to Clupea bentincki (proposed by Chile) and as the results indicated that this species could be added to the list of sardine-type product covered by the Standard, the Committee had reached consensus on this amendment.
37 ALINORM 99/12A, Appendix III and comments from Brazil (ALINORM 99/21, Part I - Add. 3) and the European Community (LIM 9).
38 ALINORM 99/13, Appendix III
39 ALINORM 99/13A, Appendix II.
40 ALINORM 99/13A, Appendix III.
41 ALINORM 99/18, ALINORM 99/21 Part 1-Add.3 (comments of Canada, France, Norway), CAC/LIM 5 (Morocco)
118. The Delegation of Morocco expressed its opposition to the adoption of the amendment and pointed out that as a major exporter of sardines (Sardina pilchardis), especially to the European market, the competition from sardine-type products seriously affected its economic interests. The Delegation recalled that it had not been involved in the procedure carried out by the Committee and was unable to provide and evaluate such samples, and proposed that the Committee should consider this matter further before reaching a decision. This position was supported by several delegations.
119. The Delegations of Chile and Peru supported the adoption of the amendments proposed by the Committee and referred to the scientific data provided by their technical institutes concerning the characteristics of Clupea bentincki.
120. The Commission recognized that there was no consensus on the inclusion of the new species and agreed to return the Proposed Draft Amendment to Step 3 of the Procedure for further consideration by the Committee on Fish and Fishery Products.
Regional Coordinating Committee for Asia42
Draft Asian Regional Guidelines for Codex Contact Points and National Codex Committees
121. The Commission was informed that the Coordinating Committee for Asia at its 11th Session had decided to advance the Draft Guidelines to Step 8 for adoption as Asian Regional Guidelines to serve as reference examples and had proposed core functions of Codex Contact Points for further development by the Committee for General Principles (see also para. 72). It was also informed that due to different governmental systems, the Guidelines may not be applicable in other regions.
122. The Delegations of the Republic of Korea was opposed to the adoption of the Draft Guidelines on the basis that the structure described in the Guidelines was too rigid and that the Core Functions of Codex Contact Points43 as adopted by the Commission provided better and more general guidance. The Commission decided to incorporate the Preamble from the Core Functions of Codex Contact Points into the Draft Guidelines to cover these concerns.
123. The Commission adopted the Draft Asian Regional Guidelines at Step 8 and agreed to distribute them to the Member countries in the Asian Region for information when establishing Codex Contact Points and/or National Codex Committees.
Draft Guidelines for the Production, Processing, Labelling and Marketing of Organically Produced Foods
124. The Commission noted the proposals from the Delegations of Malaysia and Chile to include additional products in the list of Permitted Substances for the Production of Organic Foods and recalled that the lists were not all inclusive nor exclusive but rather provided advice to governments on internationally agreed inputs, and that Criteria for the Development of Lists of Substances by Countries were included in Section 5.1, proposed for adoption as part of the Draft Guidelines.
125. The Observer from the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) recalled its participation in the development of the Guidelines and informed the Committee that the IFOAM standards also covered animal production and aquaculture. The Observer from Rural Advancement Foundation International stressed the importance of organic production and expressed its appreciation to the Committee on Food Labelling for its considerable work on difficult issues and its constructive approach due to the participation of all stakeholders in the decision process. The Observer expressed the view that the Guidelines would need to be reviewed regularly, especially to achieve greater involvement of developing and Eastern European countries.
42 ALINORM 99/11, Appendix II; ALINORM 99/21, Part I, Table 1.
43 Annex 4 of ALINORM 99/10, Part II.
44 ALINORM 99/22 and 99/22A, ALINORM 99/21 Part 1-Add.3 (comments of Brazil, Denmark, United Kingdom, International Peanut Forum, International Federation of Margarine Associations-IFMA, European Dairy Association-EDA) CAC/LIM 5 (Spain, Association des Amidonneries de Céréales de l'UE-AAC, Seed Crushers and Oils Productors' Association-FEDIOL), CAC/LIM 10 (Malaysia), CAC/LIM 11 (International Association of Food Consumers' Associations-IACFO) CAC/LIM 14 (Italy).
126. The Commission adopted the Draft Guidelines at Step 8, including Section 5.1 Criteria for the Development of Lists of Substances by Countries. It noted that the Committee would review from time-to-time, proposals to include or delete substances in or from the Permitted List. It also noted that provisions for livestock and livestock products were still under development by the Committee.
Draft Amendment to the Standard for Quick Frozen Fish Sticks (Fish Fingers), Fish Portions and Fish Fillets, Breaded and in Batter (Declaration Of Fish Core)
127. The Commission recalled that the Committee on Fish and Fishery Products had asked the advice of the Committee on Food Labelling concerning the requirement to declare the proportion of fish core, and that the Committee had proposed to introduce a requirement for such a declaration in order to provide clear information to the consumer on the quality of the product.
128. The Delegation of Canada expressed its objection to the adoption of the draft amendment at this time, recalling that since the initial proposal had been made, additional issues had been put forward in the Committee on Fish and Fishery Products, especially the definition of fish core and fish content and the methodology for the determination of fish flesh. This position was supported by some countries. The Delegation of France supported the adoption of the amendment as it would provide information on the proportion of fish as compared with batter, and therefore allow the consumer to make an informed choice.
129. There was no consensus on this issue and the Commission agreed to return the Draft Amendment to Step 6 for further consideration by the Committee on Food Labelling to determine the need for labelling requirements and by the Committee on Fish and Fishery Products as regards the technical aspects such as the definition of fish core/fish content and the methodology.
Draft Recommendations for the Labelling of Foods that can Cause Hypersensitivity (Draft Amendment to the General Standard for the Labelling of Prepackaged Foods)
Draft Amendment to the General Standard for the Labelling of Prepackaged Foods (Composite Ingredients)
130. The Chairperson of the Committee recalled that work on these recommendations had been initiated to address an important public health issue and expressed its appreciation to FAO and WHO for the consideration given to hypersensitivity in the framework of JECFA, which had considered the criteria for the inclusion of foods and food ingredients in the list at its 53rd Meeting. The Commission noted that these two amendments were presented separately but should be read in conjunction as an amendment to Section 4 of the General Standard.
131. The WHO Joint Secretary of JECFA informed the Commission that the 53rd Meeting of JECFA had considered the criteria for the addition or exclusion of foods from the list and that there was not enough scientific information to reach a conclusion at this stage on the potential allergenicity of highly refined peanut and soybean oils. However, JECFA did not detect any health problems associated with these oils.
132. The Delegation of Argentina, supported by Brazil and other delegations, expressed its objection to the inclusion of highly refined peanut and soybean oils as the allergenic protein fraction was not present in those oils after processing and there was no scientific evidence that they caused allergic reactions. Other delegations and observers pointed out that the categories of foods in the list were too broad and proposed to exclude specific processed products which did not cause hypersensitivity (especially refined oils, starch hydrolysates and milk fat).
133. The Observer from the International Dairy Federation pointed out that there was a special situation in regard to lactose, since lactose could trigger intolerance reactions above a certain level, but it was not an allergenic substance. The Observer requested that this should also be considered.
134. The Delegations of Canada and Norway, supported by other delegations, stressed the importance of this amendment to ensure adequate information to consumers affected with hypersensitivity, while recognizing the dynamic nature of the list which would be reviewed in the light of the scientific advice provided by JECFA. The Commission noted the proposal from the Delegation of Australia to add sesame seeds to the list.
135. The Commission agreed to include an amendment proposed by the Secretariat, to the effect that the foods and ingredients concerned “shall always be declared”, without specifying “declared as such”, as this would make it clear that these ingredients should be declared by their names but without any reference to allergenicity.
136. The Delegation of France proposed to include a footnote to specify that the foods which corresponded to the criteria for exclusion defined by JECFA could be excluded from the list; after an exchange of views and taking into account additional wording proposed by the Delegation of Canada and the Observer from Association of European Coeliac Societies, the Commission agreed to append the following footnote to the list:
“Future additions to and/or deletions from the list will be considered by the Committee on Food Labelling taking into account advice received from JECFA”
137. The Commission encouraged governments and other interested parties to submit to JECFA data related to the inclusion or exclusion of items on this list and asked that JECFA give high priority to the consideration of such submissions. It requested JECFA to proceed on a priority basis with the evaluation of the potential of allergic reactions from highly refined peanut and soybean oil so that the Committee on Food Labelling could consider this at the earliest opportunity.
138. As regards the amendment to the General Standard on Composite Ingredients (25% Rule), several delegation expressed their support to the reduction of the percentage to 5% as it would represent a significant improvement for affected consumers, especially for allergens not included in the list of ingredients that should always be declared, although it would not solve all problems. The Delegation of Italy expressed its objection to the amendment since it had no scientific justification and would not actually benefit consumers. Some delegations expressed the view that no percentage should be specified and the Commission noted that this question would be further considered in the Committee on Food Labelling.
139. The Delegation of Singapore pointed out that allergenic food ingredients at levels below 5% still constituted a serious health hazard to hypersensitive individuals and suggested that Section 18.104.22.168 of the General Standard for the Labelling of Prepackaged Foods be amended to require the labelling of all food ingredients known to cause allergic reactions. The Delegation of Norway noted that the proposal to include a reference to the list in the first part of Section 22.214.171.124 had been omitted as a result of these two amendments being discussed as separate issues.
140. The Commission adopted the Draft Amendments to the General Standard at Step 8 as follows: the Draft Recommendations (List of Food and Ingredients) with the addition of the footnote, and the Draft Amendment on Composite Ingredients (25% Rule amended to 5%) as proposed by the Committee on Food Labelling.
Draft Maximum Residue Limits at Step 845 and Proposed Draft Maximum Residue Limits at Step 5/846
141. The Commission noted that the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues had been using chronic dietary exposure estimation in its decision making on MRLs since 1989 following the methodology contained in the Guidelines for Predicting Dietary Intake of Pesticide Residues47, which were revised in 199748. It also noted that there had been close and effective cooperation and interaction between the Committee and JMPR.
45 ALINORM 99/24, Appendix II; ALINORM 99/24A, Appendix II; ALINORM 99/21, Part I, Table 1; ALINORM 99/21, Part I Addendum 1, Table 1; LIM 9 (comments from Consumers International); LIM 13 (comments from European Community).
46 ALINORM 99/24, Appendix IV; ALINORM 99/24A, Appendix IV; ALINORM 99/21, Part I, Table 2; ALINORM 99/21, Part I Addendum 1, Table 2; LIM 9 (comments from Consumers International); LIM 13 (comments the European Community).
47 Guidelines for Predicting Dietary Intake of Pesticide Residues, WHO, Geneva (1989).
142. The Observer from the European Community, in commenting on the Draft MRLs for acephate, methamidophos, methidathion and phorate, expressed the view that until acute dietary intake assessments demonstrated that risks were acceptable, these MRLs should not be adopted. Several delegations requested that acute reference doses be established by JMPR for all organophosphates as well as for carbamates.
143. The Observer from Consumers International referring to vulnerable populations, such as infants and children, and issues related to common mechanisms of toxicity, stated that until such time as a methodology for short-term exposure assessment was developed, MRLs for organophosphates should not be adopted, and expressed particular concern regarding chlorpyrifos in citrus and methidathion in grapes and pears.
144. The Commission was informed that the Committee on Pesticide Residues had already been aware of the concerns about potential acute risks of these compounds and about potential adverse effects on infants and children, and taken notice of national and regional initiatives in these areas. The Committee had agreed in 1998 that since there was no internationally agreed methodology for acute dietary exposure assessment, its decisions should be based on chronic dietary exposure assessment. It would consider methodologies for assessing acute risk at its next Session.
145. The Commission noted that JMPR was elaborating guidelines for establishing acute reference doses and had recommended acute reference doses for certain pesticides. JMPR would also consider acute risk assessment methodologies this year.
146. The Delegation of Singapore was opposed to the adoption of the Draft MRLs for dithiocarbamates as, in its view, the Draft MRLs were too widely varied and did not properly reflect public health concerns. The Commission noted that Codex MRLs for pesticides were based on trial data following good agricultural practices authorized by national governments but not initially on public concerns; however, proposed MRLs were evaluated for potential exposure and compared against the Acceptable Daily Intake to ensure that they were suitable for the protection of the health of consumers.
147. The Observer from the European Community expressed the view that these MRLs should not be adopted since there was no appropriate method of analysis for ziram to enable effective monitoring and establishment of separate MRLs for two groups of compounds, that were of different toxicological characteristics but currently included in the combined list of dithiocarbamates. The Commission was informed that dithiocarbamates had been fully reviewed by JMPR in a step-wise manner since 1992, and the consensus had been reached on these MRLs at the Session of the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues in 1999 after three years of extensive discussions. The Committee and JMPR would continue to review dithiocarbamates as new data became available including specific methods of analysis.
148. The Observer from the European Community expressed the view that until the residue definition for animal products were reconsidered, the MRL for poultry meat should not be adopted.
149. The Observer from the European Community was of the opinion that as the residue data and their review had not been satisfactorily reported in the JMPR publications and as intake concerns in particular on cereals had not properly been addressed, the MRLs for diquat should not be adopted.
150. The Commission adopted the MRLs at Step 8, omitting Steps 6 and 7 where necessary, and noting reservations of Singapore on the MRLs for dithiocarbamates.
48 Guidelines for Predicting Dietary Intake of Pesticide Residues, WHO, Geneva (1997).
Draft Revised Recommended Methods of Sampling for Pesticide Residues for Determination of Compliance with MRLs49
151. The Commission adopted the Draft Revised Recommended Methods of Sampling at Step 8 to replace the existing Methods of Sampling.
Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses
Guidelines for the Use of Nutrient Claims: Draft Table of Conditions for Nutrient Contents (part B)50
152. Several delegations expressed reservations on the expression of nutrient content as a percentage of the Nutrient Reference Value (NRV) and in relation to the use of “serving sizes”. It was also pointed out that there had been no evident consensus on the expressions “source” or “high source” of nutrients at the level of the Committee. The Commission noted, however, that Nutrient Reference Values were defined in the adopted Guidelines on Nutrition Labelling (CAC/GL 2-1985, Rev.1-1993).
153. The Commission agreed to return Part B of the Draft Table of Conditions for Nutrient Contents of the Guidelines for the Use of Nutrient Claims to Step 6 for further comments and consideration by the Committee.
Regional Coordinating Committee for Africa
Draft Revised Guidelines for the Design of Control Measures for Street-Vended Foods in Africa51
154. The Commission adopted the Draft Revised Guidelines at Step 8 as proposed.
Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods
Draft Maximum Residue Limits at Step 8, and Proposed Draft Maximum Residue Limits at Step 5/852, 53
155. The Commission noted that in response to the request of the Codex Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods made at its 11th Session, a meeting between experts of the JECFA and JMPR had been convened in February 1999 to resolve differences in residue definitions, commodity definitions and related matters, including cypermethrin/α-cypermethrin MRLs, to ensure harmonization and consistency between the JECFA and JMPR when considering chemicals that were used both as veterinary drugs and pesticides. Based on the outcome of that meeting, the Chair of the Codex Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods proposed not to consider the Draft MRLs at Step 8 for cypermethrin and α-cypermethrin at this Session. The Commission also noted the need for a uniform approach to the treatment of chemicals that were isomers or mixtures of isomers.
156. The Commission adopted the Draft MRLs at Step 8 except those for cypermethrin and α-cypermethrin, and the Proposed Draft MRLs at both Steps 5 and 8 with omission of Steps 6 and 7. The Commission agreed not to consider the MRLs for cypermethrin and α-cypermethrin pending their review by JECFA in February 2000. It noted that the full MRLs for moxidectin in deer tissues replaced their respective temporary MRLs adopted at the 22nd Session of the Commission.
157. The Commission requested the JECFA and JMPR to give further consideration on discrepancies between their recommendations on MRLs, residue definitions, and related matters as these problems were rather of a generic nature.
49 ALINORM 99/24A, Appendix III; ALINORM 99/21, Part I, Table 1; LIM 16 (comments from China).
50 ALINORM 99/26, Appendix II; ALINORM 99/21 Part 1-Add.3 (Comments of Japan, Republic of Korea, Spain).
51 ALINORM 99/28, Appendix II; ALINORM 99/21 Part 1-Add.3 (comments of Egypt).
52 ALINORM 99/31, Appendices II & III; ALINORM 99/21, Part I, Tables 1 & 2; ALINORM 99/21, Part I-Add.3 (comments from South Africa and Spain); LIM 5 (comments from Australia); LIM 13 (comments from European Community).
53 Except the MRLs for bovine somatotropins (see paras. 75–80).
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables54
Draft Standard for Guavas
Draft Standard for Chayotes
Draft Standard for Longans
158. The Commission adopted the Draft Codex Standards at Step 8 as proposed.
Draft Standard for Limes
Draft Standard for Pummelos (Citrus grandis)
Draft Standard for Grapefruits (Citrus paradisi)
159. The Commission adopted the Draft Codex Standards for Limes, Pummelos (Citrus grandis) and Grapefruits at Step 8, with the understanding that the sections into square brackets (Section 2.1.2 - Minimum Juice Content and Section 3 - Provisions concerning Sizing for Limes and Section 3 - Provisions concerning Sizing for Pummelos (Citrus grandis) and Grapefruits (Citrus paradisi) would be returned to Step 6 for further consideration and finalization at the next Committee's Session. With regard to the Draft Codex Standard for Pummelos, the Commission had an exchange of views on the divergences related to the common name of this produce in different regions of the world and that an acceptable compromise for all countries concerned should be reached in order to allow them to market this produce while preventing confusion in international trade. The Delegation of Spain noted that the Codex Standard for Canned Grapefruits (CODEX STAN 15-1981), ISO Standard 1990-1: 1982 Fruits - Nomenclature, First List, Trilingual Edition and the UN/ECE Standard FFV-14 Citrus Fruit all provided guidance in the scientific nomenclature of these products.55 In view of this, the Commission agreed to make reference to the scientific name of the fruit Citrus grandis in the title of the Standard.
Draft Standard for Pineapples
160. The Delegation of Malaysia, supported by a number of delegations, proposed to reduce the current level of total soluble solids from 12° Brix to 10°, as this corresponded to certain varieties marketed in international trade as well as satisfying consumer's preferences. However, several delegations stressed that a value of 12° Brix was a minimum to ensure the maturity of the fruit.56 The Delegation of the Philippines proposed that a footnote be inserted to indicate that 10° Brix was acceptable for certain varieties. The Commission agreed to retain the value of 12° Brix and therefore, it adopted the Draft Codex Standard for Pineapples at Step 8 as proposed, on the understanding that the Brix level would be further discussed at the next Session of the Committee.
54 ALINORM 99/21-Part I, ALINORM 99/21 Part I-Corrigendum, ALINORM 99/21 Part 1-Add.4, ALINORM 99/21-Add.3 (Comments from Cameroon, Germany, Guinea and Spain), CAC/LIM 5 (Comments from Spain), CAC/LIM 10 (Comments from Thailand and Malaysia)
55 Secretariat note: The Codex, ISO and UN/ECE Standards define Grapefruits (Pomelos in Spanish) as Citrus paradisi Macfarlane.
56 Letter from the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire
Proposed Draft Standard for Mexican Limes
Proposed Draft Standard for Ginger
161. The Commission agreed to adopt the Proposed Draft Codex Standards for Mexican Limes and Ginger at Step 8, with the omission of Steps 6 and 7.
Proposed Draft Standards for Tiquisque (White and Lilac), Yellow Pitahayas and Papaya
162. The Commission decided not to omit Steps 6 and 7 in the case of the Proposed Draft Codex Standards for Tiquisque (White and Lilac), Yellow Pitahayas and Papaya and adopted these texts at Step 5 only, advancing them to Step 6. It was noted that these produce were relatively new in countries of temperate zones and time was needed to consider all the aspects of the Standards and therefore, it was preferable to follow all the steps of the Procedure and to consider them further at the next Session of the Committee since there was no particular urgency to finalize them. The Delegation of Mexico pointed out that the Proposed Draft Standard for Papaya was a revision of an existing text.
Fats and Oils57
Draft Standard for Named Vegetable Oils
163. The Delegation of the Philippines expressed the view that certain values in Table 3 of the Draft Standard (Levels of Desmethylsterols) should be revised, as recent data obtained in the Philippines showed lower levels of cholesterol. The delegation also referred to the point raised by the Delegation of Malaysia during the last session of the Committee concerning the inconsistencies in the expression of desmethylsterols as compared with tocopherols and tocotrienols58. The Chairman of the Committee on Fats and Oils indicated that these questions could be discussed further in the Committee as part of the regular updating of the Standard. The Commission adopted the Draft Standard at Step 8.
Draft Standard for Named Animal Fats
Draft Revised Standard for Fats and Oils not covered by Individual Standards
164. The Committee adopted the Draft Standards as proposed by the Committee on Fats and Oils.
Draft Revised Code of Practice for the Storage and Transport of Edible Fats and Oils in Bulk
165. The Commission adopted the Draft Code at Step 8.
166. The Chairman of the Committee on Fats and Oils expressed his appreciation to the Committee for its considerable work and constructive approach, which had allowed the Committee to achieve consensus in the updating of the Standards and the Code of Practice.
Draft Revised Standard for Sugars59
167. The Commission noted that the Draft Revised Standard had been elaborated through correspondence. Since the maximum levels for arsenic and lead had not been endorsed by the Codex Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants on the basis that this Committee had not finalized its work on developing general maximum levels for these elements, the Chair of the Committee on Sugars proposed to delete the values of maximum levels for arsenic and lead pending the completion of this work. He also proposed to add the term “on a dry basis” in the description of lactose for clarification. These proposals were agreed to by the Commission.
168. The Delegation of Mauritius, while supporting the adoption of the Draft Standard, proposed amendments to the descriptions of raw cane sugar and soft sugars to increase clarity of these descriptions. A number of countries supported these proposals. However, since these amendments were substantial and would require further and thorough consideration, the Commission agreed to circulate them to Member countries for comments.
57 ALINORM 99/17, ALINORM 99/21 Part 1-Add.3 (comments of UNEGA), CAC/LIM 5 (Spain), CAC/LIM 15 (Philippines)
58 ALINORM 99/17, para. 60
59 ALINORM 99/25; ALINORM 99/21, Part I, Table 1; ALINORM 99/21, Part I-Add.3 (comments from France, India, Mauritius, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, Association des amidonneries de cereales de l'UE, Comité européen des fabricants de sucre, International Dairy Federation, International Federation of Glucose Industries, and World Sugar Research Organization); ALINORM 99/21, Part I Addendum 4 (Status of Endorsement); LIM 5 (comments from Brazil, Ireland, Jamaica); LIM 10 (comments from European Community).
169. Other issues raised include: inclusion of new methods for arsenic, colour, sulphur dioxide and inverted sugars; reduction of the maximum levels of sulphur dioxide in white sugar, powdered sugar, dextrose anhydrous, dextrose monohydrate, powdered dextrose and fructose from 15 mg/kg to 10 mg/kg; lack of a method of analysis for determining polarization of powdered sugar to which starch had been added; and discrepancies in Table 1. Those countries proposing new methods for inclusion in this Standard were invited to send them directly to the Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling for consideration for endorsement.
170. Noting that the existing Standards for sugars were rather obsolete and did not address those concerns expressed at this Session, the Commission adopted the Draft Revised Standard with the following amendments:
Insertion of the term “on a dry basis” after the term “99.0%” in the description of lactose;
Deletion of the values for maximum levels for arsenic and lead;
Insertion of the term “or to powdered sugar (icing sugar) to which starch has been added” at the end of footnote “a” in Table 1.
This Standard would replace the existing Standards for White Sugar, Powdered Sugar (Icing Sugar), Soft Sugars, Dextrose Anhydrous, Dextrose Monohydrate, Powdered Dextrose (Icing Dextrose), Glucose Syrup, Dried Glucose Syrup, Lactose, and Fructose. It was noted that maximum levels for arsenic and lead would be considered by the Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants as a matter of priority.
171. The Commission agreed that the proposed amendments of Mauritius and other relevant comments be circulated for comments and consideration for amendments to the adopted Standard.
Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems
Draft Guidelines for the Development of Equivalence Agreements regarding Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems60
172. The Commission noted that the 21st Session of the Commission (1995) had approved the elaboration of the Guidelines and that there had been a consensus at the 7th Session of the Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems to advance the Guidelines to Step 8.
173. The Commission noted problems in the Spanish version of the text raised by the Delegations of Chile and Spain and the Delegations of China, Indonesia and the Republic of Korea expressed their concern that lack of infrastructure in developing countries should be taken into account in developing equivalence agreements.
174. The Observer from International Association of Consumer Food Organizations (IACFO) was of the opinion that the text regarding “an opportunity to comment at an appropriate time” as described in paragraph 37 of the draft text could be misinterpreted to prevent the public from having sufficient time to comment.
175. The Commission adopted the draft Guidelines at Step 8.
Proposed Draft Standards And Related Texts At Step 5
176. The Commission considered a number of Proposed Draft Standards and related texts that had been developed by its subsidiary bodies at Step 5 of the Uniform Procedure for the Elaboration of Codex Standards and Related Texts. The results of the Commission's consideration of these Proposed Draft Standards and related texts are presented in tabular form in Appendix VII - Part II 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 the Commission in regard to the adoption of certain texts at Step 5.
60 ALINORM 99/30 A, Appendix II and Comments from Malaysia, USA, Chile, (ALINORM 99/12, Part I -Add.3) IACFO (CAC/LIM 11)
Proposed Draft Maximum Residue Limits for Pesticides61
177. The Delegation of France stated that the Proposed Extraneous Maximum Residue Limit for DDT in meat was not acceptable. The Observer from European Community supported this view and also requested that an acute risk assessment for chlormequat be performed and that the residue definition for thiobendazole be revised.
178. The Commission adopted the Proposed Draft Extraneous Maximum Residue Limits at Step 5.
Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses
Proposed Draft Revised Standard for Processed Cereal-Based Foods for Infants and Young Children62
179. The Delegations of Bolivia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, and Tanzania supported by many other delegations, expressed their concern at the introduction of “starchy roots and stems” in the composition of cereal-based foods for infants and young children and also about the age of introduction of these foods as “four to six months”. They desired deletion of “starchy roots and stems” and wanted the age of introduction to be “about six months” so that the interests of infants and young children in the developing world could be protected. The Delegation of Ghana stated that the inclusion of the words “about six months” would support the efforts of the developing countries to promote exclusive breast-feeding. The Indian Delegation drew attention to the World Health Assembly Resolution of 1994 and the recent WHO publication “Complementary Feeding of Young Children in Developing Countries: a review of current scientific knowledge” (WHO/NUT/98.1) where the age was recommended to be “about six months”.
180. The Representatives from WHO stated that the issue of appropriate duration of exclusive breast feeding and the introduction of complementary feeding was of critical importance for the health and nutritional well-being of infants and children. There had been some misunderstanding about the WHO recommendation in this regard. The current WHO recommendation was that complementary feeding should start at between four and six months of age for most infants. The WHO Representatives stated therefore, that the references to the age range of four to six months in the proposed Draft Revised Standard for Processed Cereal-based Foods for Infants and Young Children (ALINORM 99/26, Appendix IV) were consistent with the current WHO recommendation. The statement of WHO on the recommended age for the introduction of complementary feeding is attached to this report in Appendix V.
181. The Commission decided to return the Proposed Draft Revised Standard to Step 3 for further discussion in the Committee.
182. The following Delegations expressed their opposition to returning the text to Step 3: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States.
Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods
Proposed Draft Maximum Residue Limits for Veterinary Drugs63
183. The Commission noted that the Committee on Pesticide Residues had supported the Maximum Residue Limit for cyfluthrin in milk as recommended by the Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in order to promote harmonization.
184. The Commission adopted the Proposed Draft Maximum Residue Limits as proposed at Step 5.
61 ALINORM 99/24, Appendix V
62 ALINORM 99/26, Appendix IV
63 ALINORM 99/31, Appendix V
Food Additives and Contaminants
Proposed Draft Maximum Level for Tin64
185. The Commission noted that there had been diverse opinions at the Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants and that JECFA had been requested to re-evaluate the acute toxicity of tin. Noting that Codex Standards should be based on available scientific evidence, the Commission decided to hold the Proposed Draft Maximum Level for Tin at Step 5 pending JECFA recommendations.
186. The Delegation of India was of the opinion that there was inconsistency in the decisions on the Proposed Draft Maximum Level for Tin where the draft was held at Step 5 pending the JECFA reevaluation, and the adoption of a limit for lead in the Standard for Butter (see para. 86) where the JECFA reevaluation of lead was also pending.
Proposed Draft Amendment to the General Standard for the Labelling of Prepackaged Foods : Class Names65
187. The Delegation of Spain suggested to utilize a single category for all dairy products in the labelling of prepackaged foods considering current commercial practices and to provide easier understanding for consumers.
188. The Commission adopted the Proposed Draft Amendment at Step 5.
Proposed Draft Amendment to the Guidelines on Nutrition Labelling66
189. Several delegations expressed the view that there had been significant difference of opinion at the Committee level and it would be difficult to implement the Guidelines in their jurisdiction especially with regard to mandatory labelling requirements.
190. The Observer from International Association of Consumer Food Organizations (IACFO) was of the view that nutritional labelling should be mandatory and the decision of the application of such a guideline should be determined by the national authorities, considering regional differences in eating habits and dietary patterns.
191. The Commission agreed to return the Proposed Draft Amendment back to Step 3 for further consideration.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Proposed Draft Codex Standard for Oranges including Guide for Use in Scoring Freezing Injuries67
192. The Delegation of Spain expressed its concern that two type of oranges were in the market based on different marketing systems rather than different climates, as the conditions in some areas of the Mediterranean and other zones were similar to those in the tropics, with no significant variations of the temperature. It was stated that green oranges were not marketed for direct human consumption and any change in the current requirements would cause serious trade problems in different regions. This view was supported by Greece, but the Commission noted that there was production and trade of mature green oranges in other regions.
193. The Commission noted that the matter had been discussed at the Codex Committee on Fresh Fruits and Vegetables and decided to adopt the Proposed Draft Codex Standard at Step 5 with the square brackets on the provisions concerning colour and sizing.
64 ALINORM 99/12A, para. 138
65 ALINORM 99/22A, Appendix V
66 ALINORM 99/22A, Appendix VI
67 ALINORM 99/35A, Appendix X
Revocation of existing standards68
Revocation of Individual Cheese Standards69
194. The Commission, following the recommendation of the Committee on Milk and Milk Products, revoked the following individual cheese standards:
Individual Cheese Standard for Cheshire (C-8)
Individual Cheese Standard for Limburger (C-12)
Individual Cheese Standard for Svecia (C-14)
Individual Cheese Standard for Butterkäse (C-17)
Individual Cheese Standard for Harzer Käse (C-20)
Individual Cheese Standard for Herrgårdsost (C-21)
Individual Cheese Standard for Hushållsost (C-22)
Individual Cheese Standard for Maribo (C-24)
Individual Cheese Standard for Fynbo (C-25)
Individual Cheese Standard for Romadur (C-27)
Individual Cheese Standard for Amsterdam (C-28)
Individual Cheese Standard for Leidse (C-29)
Individual Cheese Standard for Friese (C-30)
Individual Cheese Standard for Edelpilzkäse (C-32)
Revocation of Certain Obsolete Maximum Residue Limits for Pesticides70
195. The Commission revoked certain obsolete MRLs as proposed by the Committee on Pesticide Residues following its regular review of MRLs.
Revocation of Maximum Residue Limits for Veterinary Drugs in Foods71
196. The Commission revoked the Codex Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for benzylpenicillin, noting that they would be replaced by the MRLs for benzylpenicillin/procaine benzylpenicillin, and confirmed the decision of the Executive Committee at its 45th Session to revoke the MRLs for oxytetracycline in fat of cattle, sheep, pig, chicken and turkey.
CONSIDERATION OF ENDORSEMENTS TO ADOPTED STANDARDS72
Codex Standard for Natural Mineral Waters: Limits for Health Related Substances
197. The Commission recalled that the levels for health-related substances in the Standard for Natural Mineral Waters had been sent for endorsement to the Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants after the adoption of the Standard and that the Committee had decided at its 31st Session that these levels should be aligned with the levels in the WHO Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality.73
68 ALINORM 99/21, Table 4
69 ALINORM 99/11, para. 81
70 ALINORM 99/24, Appendix VI, ALINORM 99/24A, Appendix VI
71 ALINORM 97/31, para. 28, ALINORM 99/31, para. 32
72 ALINORM 99/12A, paras. 89–92 and Appendix VI, CAC/LIM 5 (comments of Groupement d'Intérêt des Sources d'Eaux Minérales - UNESEM/GISEM), CAC/LIM 9 (Germany), CAC/LIM 11 (International Association of Food Consumers Associations - IACFO)
73 Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality, Volume 1, Recommendations, WHO, Geneva, 1993
198. The Observer from the European Community expressed the view that the levels for arsenic, barium, manganese and selenium included in the current Standard should be returned to the Committee on Natural Mineral Waters, which should have the opportunity to consider the matter further and provide all relevant scientific data to the Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants in order to justify the specific levels for mineral waters. This position was supported by several delegations.
199. The Delegation of the United States, supported by the Delegations of Canada and Malaysia, supported the alignment of the levels with the WHO Guidelines in order to ensure the protection of consumers' health, and stressed that consumers would expect mineral waters to provide at least the level of protection of tap water, especially for substances which pose serious hazards to health such as arsenic. These delegations proposed that in the meantime the WHO levels of contaminants should apply.
200. The Commission recognized that there was no consensus on the endorsement of levels for arsenic, barium, manganese and selenium and agreed that they should be returned for further consideration to the Committee on Natural Mineral Waters as a matter of priority, following which they would be submitted to the Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants for endorsement. Except those for arsenic, barium, manganese and selenium, the Commission adopted the limits for health related substances. The Commission noted that WHO was currently preparing a monograph on arsenic and encouraged governments to submit relevant scientific data on these substances. The Commission noted that the published Standard for Natural Mineral Waters would specify that the levels for the above-mentioned elements had not been endorsed by the Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants.
CONSIDERATION OF PROPOSALS TO ELABORATE NEW STANDARDS AND RELATED TEXTS (AGENDA ITEM 10)
ELABORATION OF NEW STANDARDS74
Establishment of a data base on importing country legislation75
201. The Delegation of India asked the Commission about the feasibility of the work currently undertaken by the Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems on the establishment of a data base on importing country legislation. The opinion of Legal Council was that the proposed activity did not fall within the mandate of the Commission as expressed in its Statutes and, consequently, was excluded from the Terms of Reference of the said Committee. It was noted that such an activity would fall within the mandates of the parent organizations or WHO.
Standard on Quantitative Ingredient Declaration76
202. The Commission noted the recommendation of the International Association of Consumer Food Organizations (IACFO) that the Committee on Food Labelling undertake to revise section 5.1 of the Codex General Standard for the Labelling of Prepackaged Food, concerning Quantitative Ingredient Declaration. The Commission agreed that the recommendation be examined by the Committee.
Proposed Draft Guidelines for the Judgement of Equivalence of Sanitary Measures Associated with Food Inspection and Certification Systems77
203. The Commission noted the observation made by the Delegation of Germany and other countries that it was still premature to bring the work on these Guidelines under the formal Codex Step Procedures and agreed that the Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems should continue to study this item as a discussion paper. As concepts in this area fell within the mandates of other Committees, the discussion paper would need to be circulated to these Committees for their comments.
74 Proposals were summarised in Table 1 of ALINORM 99/21, Part II
75 ALINORM 99/30A, paras 94–99
76 CAC/LIM 11, pages 5–7
77 ALINORM 99/30A, para. 81
204. The Delagation of Australia, supported by that of New Zealand, was of the view that having regard to the work priorities of the Commission, work on developing the Guidelines should be started in the Step Procedure and stated that the Step Procedure allowed for adequate consultation.
Proposed Draft Guidelines for the Utilisation and Promotion of Quality Assurance Systems78
205. The Commission noted the general support for the elaboration of the Guidelines and agreed for a substantive working paper to be presented to the Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems for further examination, noting the comments of several delegations concerning the inadequacy of the paper that was presented at the Committee's last session and concerns regarding the implications of its implementation. The Delegation of Chile expressed concern that such Guidelines could present technical barriers to trade.
Codex Standards for Apples, Table Grapes and Tomatoes79
206. The Commission, approving the new work for the Committee on Fresh Fruits and Vegetables to elaborate Codex Standards for Apples, Table Grapes and Tomatoes, encouraged the Committee, to perform this task in closes collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) which had elaborated their own Standards on these products. While avoiding any unnecessary duplication of work, the collaboration would also benefit UNECE by giving international recognition to its Standards.
207. In regard to the work on apples, the Delegation of Switzerland proposed that the Committee should await the revision of the UNECE Standards for Apples to avoid confusion and prevent duplication of work. The Commission felt it appropriate to initiate this work in cooperation with the UNECE during the revision of the UNECE standard.
Codex Standard for Dried Figs80
208. The Committee noted that the work on the Codex Standard for Dried Figs would be handled by the Committee on Processed Fruits and Vegetables.
Codex Standard for Instant Noodles
209. The Delegation of Japan. supported by that of Indonesia, asked about the possibility of reopening the Codex Committee on Cereals, Pulses and Legumes that had been adjourned sine die, to develop a Codex Standard for Instant Noodles. The Commission agreed that the FAO/WHO Coordinating Committee for Asia should first examine the feasibility of such a Standard and elaborate a formal proposal to the Commission.
210. The list of approved new work is contained in Appendix VIII of this report.
Standard for Honey
211. The Delegation of the United Kingdom, Host Government of the Codex Committee on Sugars stated that a meeting would be convened either at the end of 1999 or at the beginning of 2000, to discuss the completion of the Draft Revised Standard for Honey.
Discontinuation of New Work Items81
212. The Commission decided to discontinue the new work items listed below:
Broader Issues on the Application of Microbiological Risk Evaluation in International Food and Feed Trade82;
Application of Quality Tolerance at Import83;
Use of Objective Indices of Maturity in Commercial Transaction of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables84.
78 ALINORM 99/30A, para. 93
79 ALINORM 99/35A, para. 186
80 ALINORM 99/28, para. 77
81 Proposals were summarised in Table 2 of ALINORM 99/21, Part II
82 ALINORM 99/13A, para. 95
213. The Commission noted the observation of the Delegation of Norway that although the work item of Broader Issues on the Application of Microbiological Risk Evaluation in International Food and Feed Trade would be discontinued, the individual work involved therein would be continued in other work items.
MATTERS ARISING FROM REPORTS OF CODEX COMMITTEES (AGENDA ITEM 11)85
CODEX COMMITTEE ON MILK and MILK PRODUCTS
Use of Hydrogen Peroxide for the Preservation of Raw Milk86
214. The Commission noted that the direct addition of hydrogen peroxide for preserving raw milk was included in List C of CAC/FAL 5-1979, which contains those substances the use thereof should be restricted to certain specified uses, and this had caused confusion in the international trade of milk. It further noted that the Commission had adopted at the 19th Session in 1991 the Guidelines for the Preservation of Raw Milk by Use of the Lactoperoxidase System87 which includes a substance that generates hydrogen peroxide at a much lower level than in the case of direct addition. At the time of the adoption at the 19th Session, the Commission had emphasized that the lactoperoxidase system should not be used for products intended for international trade and should only be used when refrigeration was not available88.
215. The Commission agreed that the direct use of hydrogen peroxide was inconsistent with the above Guidelines and was no longer acceptable.
216. The Commission confirmed: (a) that the most preferred method of the preservation of raw milk was refrigeration; (b) its approval of the use of the enzymatic activators of the lactoperoxidase system in accordance with the Guidelines for the Preservation of Raw Milk by Use of the Lactoperoxidase System and based on the advice of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives, where refrigeration was not possible; and (c) that the lactoperoxidase system should not be used for products intended for international trade.
Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems
Judgement of Equivalence89
217. The Commission agreed with the recommendation of the Executive Committee that the Committee should proceed to develop guidance on the judgement of equivalence of systems for inspections and certification in relation to technical regulations other than sanitary measures in parallel with food safety issues.
218. The Commission could not discuss other matters arising from Codex Committees due to time constraints. However, it agreed to endorse the recommendations and decisions of the Executive Committee made at its 46th Session on these matters as contained in ALINORM 99/4.
83 ALINORM 99/35, para. 79
84 ALINORM 99/35, para.82
85 ALINORM 99/21, Part III; ALINORM 99/21, Part III Addendum 1; and ALINORM 99/4, paras 17–27.
86 ALINORM 99/11, para. 96.
87 CAC/GL 13-1991 (ALINORM 91/13, Appendix X).
88 ALINORM 91/40, paras 232–234.
89 ALINORM 99/30A, paras 69–84.
DESIGNATION OF HOST GOVERNMENTS FOR CODEX COMMITTEES AND AD HOC INTERGOVERNMENTAL TASK FORCES (AGENDA ITEM 12)90
Review of Subsidiary Bodies
219. The Commission confirmed the abolition of the Joint UNECE/Codex Groups of Experts on the Standardization of Fruit Juices and on the Standardization of Quick Frozen Foods. It decided that revision of the Codex Standards for quick frozen fruits and vegetables be transferred to the responsibility of the Committee on processed Fruits and Vegetables. It also decided that any revision of the Recommended International Code of Practice for the Processing and Handling of Quick Frozen Foods that might be required should be undertaken by the Committee on Food Hygiene.
220. The Commission agreed to the abolition of the Committee on Meat and Poultry Products as suggested by the Host Government, Denmark. It noted that the Committee on Vegetable Proteins (Canada) had been requested to undertake a revision of the Codex Standard for Wheat Gluten, upon completion of which the Committee would be abolished. Other Codex Committees adjourned sine die were retained for the time being.
Establishment of New Subsidiary Bodies
Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Codex Task Force on Fruit Juices
221. In accordance with its authority contained in Rule IX.1(b)(i), the Commission agreed to establish an ad hoc Intergovernmental Codex Task Force on Fruit Juices with the Terms of References set out in Appendix VI to this report. It agreed to designate the Government of Brazil to be responsible for appointing the Chairperson of the Task Force in compliance with Rule IX.10 of its Rules of Procedure. It was noted that the establishment of such Task Forces would lead to a more flexible structure to handle specific issues for a time-limited period under closely defined terms of reference, but functioning in the same manner as established Codex Committees.
FAO/WHO Regional Coordinating Committee for the Near East
222. The Commission recalled its earlier decision concerning the membership of the Codex Near East Region in the Executive Committee and considered the modalities for the establishment of a Regional Coordinating Committee and the appointment of a Coordinator for that Region (see paras. 6 and 60, above).
223. The Delegation of Nigeria expressed concern that some countries might have the possibility to exercise their voting rights in two different regions, which might not be consistent with equal treatment of all member countries, and proposed that the status of members and observers should be clarified before the new Coordinating Committee become operational.
224. The FAO Legal Counsel indicated that FAO Member countries could participate as members in more than one regional group, but that they had to chose to which region they belonged as members for the purposes of participation in FAO Council; they could not stand for election in two groups and the same principle should apply to the Codex Coordinating Committees. The Legal Counsel proposed that the Commission adopted the proposed Terms of Reference with the understanding that Member countries could not be eligible for Representatives or appointed as Coordinator in two Regions at the same time. The Commission noted that participation in different regional groups was a general question which could be considered by the Committee on General Principles at a later date.
225. The Commission agreed to establish, under Rule IX.1 (b) (ii) a Regional Coordinating Committee for the Near East under the Terms of Reference presented in Appendix VI, for inclusion in the Procedural Manual.
90 ALINORM 99/16, ALINORM 99/16-Add.1, ALINORM 99/4 paras. 28–32, CAC/LIM 18 and CAC/LIM 20.
Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Codex Task Force on Foods Derived from Biotechnology
226. The Delegation of Japan introduced draft Terms of Reference for the Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Codex Task Force on Foods Derived from Biotechnology91 elaborated by a drafting group that had met during the Commission Session.
227. The Commission agreed to establish the Task Force to develop standards, guidelines or other recommendations on foods derived from biotechnology. It agreed also to designate the Government of Japan to be responsible for appointing the Chairperson of the Task Force in conformity with Rule IX.10 of the Commission's Rules of Procedure. The Delegation of Japan informed the Commission that the first meeting of the Task Force would be convened during the first half of the year 2000, its precise date and venue being decided following consultations with the Codex Secretariat. It was recalled that the Task Force would be open for all members and observers of the Commission.
228. Under the discussions on the Terms of Reference, some delegations mentioned that the objectives should be broadly defined while others were of the opinion they should be restricted to safety and nutrition aspects in order to meet the timeframe set down for the Task Force. The Commission decided to adopt the Terms of Reference as drafted by the drafting group on an interim basis with the understanding that the Task Force might review them at its first meeting if required. The Terms of Reference are given in Appendix VI.
229. The Representative of WHO informed the Commission that a Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation would be convened prior to the first session of the Task Force to support the work of the Task Force.
Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Codex Task Force on Good Animal Feeding
230. The Commission noted the recommendation of the 46th Session of the Executive Committee concerning the urgent need for the Commission to develop international guidelines or recommendations which addressed all the issues relating to animal feeding and that the new mechanism of an hoc Intergovernmental Codex Task Force would be an appropriate means of achieving this goal. Several delegations supported the establishment of such a Task Force in view of the great importance attached to consumers' health and practices in international trade. In consequence, the Commission agreed to establish an ad hoc Intergovernmental Codex Task Force on Good Animal Feeding under Rule IX.1(b)(i) of its Procedure. The Secretariat presented draft Terms of Reference prepared by the Delegation of Denmark as set out in Appendix VI of the present Report. The Commission agreed to designate the Government of Denmark to be responsible for appointing the Chairperson of the Task Force in compliance with Rule IX.10 of its Rules of Procedure.
Confirmation of Chairmanship of Codex Committees
231. In accordance with the Rule IX.10 of the Rules of Procedures, the Commission confirmed the chairmanship of the Codex Committees hosted by Member governments as listed in Appendix IX.
OTHER BUSINESS (AGENDA ITEM 13)
Language Policies of the Codex Alimentarius Commission
232. The Commission noted the earlier discussions held on this matter (see paras. 10). It also took note of the provisions of Rule XII of its Rules of Procedure. On this basis, it agreed as a first step that, subject to availability of resources, beginning with the biennium 2000/2001, future Sessions of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, the Executive Committee and Regional Coordinating Committees as appropriate, would be held in Arabic, Chinese, English, French and Spanish. Working papers and reports for these Sessions, the Procedural Manual, information documents, and final Codex texts would also be made available in all five languages.
233. The Commission noted the view of the FAO Council that the availability of resources should not act as a restraint on the implementation of equal treatment of all languages in FAO and its statutory bodies, which included the Codex Alimentarius Commission.
91 CAC/LIM 20
234. The Delegations of Spain and Chile referring to the Spanish language, and the Delegation of Senegal referring to the French language, drew attention to current difficulties in providing timely distribution of Codex documents in these languages and to the quality of translation of some of these documents and called upon the Secretariat to give urgent attention to addressing these problems.
235. The Delegation of Belgium provided the Commission with information concerning the incident that had resulted in wide-spread concern among consumers and disruption in international trade, due to the contamination of poultry, cattle and pigs and derived products with dioxin and dioxin-like PCBs. It was noted that the contamination was due to a single incident and that measures had been taken to withdraw contaminated produce from the market and prohibit the marketing or export of foods from affected farms.
236. The Delegations of the Republic of Korea and The Philippines stated that the incident had drawn attention to the lack of adequate Codex guidance on an acceptable limit for the presence of dioxin in foods and called on the Codex Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants to give urgent and priority consideration to this work. The Chairperson of the Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants noted that work on dioxins had been re-commenced in 1999, and requested Members to provide the Committee with data that would allow the establishment of an appropriate guideline or maximum level.
237. The Commission noted that the incident also drew attention to the lack of suitable Codex guidance on the nature of measures to be applied at import and export under such circumstances. It noted the Codex Guidelines for the Exchange of Information in Food Control Emergency Situations (CAC/GL 19-1995). The Secretariat suggested that the Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems might consider what guidance could be developed to assist Member countries in the event of similar future unforeseen emergencies.
238. The Representative of WHO noted that risk communication was of particular importance during times of crisis and drew attention to the need for all countries to be prepared for such situations. He noted that Strategies for Risk Communication during a food safety crisis were provided in the Report of a Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation in “Application of Risk Communication to Food Standards and Safety Matters”.92
92 See FAO Food and Nutrition Paper no. 70.