14 ALINORM 97/21, Part I; ALINORM 97/21, Part I, Supplement 1; ALINORM 97/12, Appendix IV; ALINORM 97/25.
FOOD IMPORT AND EXPORT INSPECTION AND CERTIFICATION SYSTEMS
FOOD LABELLING/NUTRITION AND FOODS FOR SPECIAL DIETARY USES
NUTRITION AND FOODS FOR SPECIAL DIETARY USES
FOOD ADDITIVES AND CONTAMINANTS
METHODS OF ANALYSIS AND SAMPLING
RESIDUES OF VETERINARY DRUGS IN FOODS
COORDINATING COMMITTEE FOR AFRICA
FATS AND OILS
FRESH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
NATURAL MINERAL WATERS
MILK AND MILK PRODUCTS
SUGARS (AND HONEY)
32. Appendix III to this report contains a list of Draft and Proposed Draft Standards and Related Texts for Specific Commodities adopted by the Commission at Steps 8 and 5 respectively. Decisions of the Commission in regard to the adoption of the texts are tabulated in this Appendix. The remainder of this part of the report contains certain specific observations on the texts under consideration.
15 ALINORM 97/25, Part 14 (FH); ALINORM 97/25, Part 14 (FH) Add. 1 (comments from Mexico).
Draft Revised Recommended International Code of Practice: General Principles of Food Hygiene (at Step 8)16
16 ALINORM 97/13, Appendix II; ALINORM 97/25, Part 14 (comments from UK).
33. Some delegations noted that reference to rinsing after disinfection should be made in Section 6 of the Code and that supply of both hot and cold water for personal hygiene facilities as mentioned in Section 4.4.4 was not necessary in certain situations. The Commission requested the Committee to consider these proposals as a possible amendment to the Code, but adopted the Draft Revised International Code of Practice at Step 8.
Draft Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) System and Guidelines for its Application (at Step 8)17
17 ALINORM 97/13A, Appendix II; ALINORM 97/25, Part 14 (comments from Hungary and UK); CAC/LIM 31 (Corrigendum in Spanish only - prepared by the Delegation of Spain).
34. Indonesia and some other delegations expressed their concern that difficulties might be encountered in applying the HACCP system in smaller businesses and in developing countries. The Commission was informed that the Committee on Food Hygiene was proposing to initiate new work on a guidance document for the use of HACCP-like systems in small businesses, with special reference to developing countries, to address this concern. It also noted the importance of providing technical assistance to those countries in need, to facilitate the progressive implementation of the HACCP-based system.
Draft Revised Principles for the Establishment and Application of Microbiological Criteria for Foods (at Step 8)18
18 ALINORM 97/13A, Appendix III; ALINORM 97/25, Part 14 (comments from Hungary and UK).
35. The Commission adopted the Revised Principles at Step 8.
36. The Delegation of India stated that the three aforementioned texts on food hygiene constituted additional quality criteria and should only be applied by commercial partners on a voluntary basis.
37. The Chairperson of the Committee on Food Hygiene pointed out that the three texts referred above all to food safety and that they addressed food safety issues throughout the food chain; they were not exclusive to any one food sector.
Draft Guidelines for the Exchange of Information between Countries on Rejections of Imported Food19
19 ALINORM 97/30, Appendix II.
38. The Commission amended paragraph 4 of the text to make reference to "appropriate" information being provided to the exporter and included references to WHO in addition to the references to FAO in paragraph 10.
39. The Commission adopted the Guidelines as amended.
Draft Guidelines for the Design, Operation, Assessment and Accreditation of Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems20
20 ALINORM 97/30A, Appendix II.
40. The Commission was split into two opinions: (1) in favour of adopting the Guidelines without delay; and, (2) in favour of postponing adoption.
41. Delegations supporting the postponed adoption of the Guidelines expressed the opinion that the text required further examination, review and comment by countries to further clarify its long term consequences. Concerns were expressed as to its status under the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreements on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT). It was also noted that the Guidelines did not include a procedure for the determination of equivalence.
42. Delegations supporting the immediate adoption of the Guidelines noted that the text had been discussed and developed over many years and that the text allowed certain flexibility for governments in their efforts to apply these guidelines. In this regard it was also noted that the CCFICS would be examining a discussion paper related to the process of determining equivalence at its next session. Some delegations proposed a different title to avoid any unexpected WTO consequences.
43. The Representative of the WTO clarified that nuances in titles given to Codex texts would probably not be relevant in the application of the SPS and TBT Agreements. Governments applying stricter measures than Codex texts could be called upon to justify the deviations if challenged. The Representative also noted that even in the absence of relevant Codex texts governments could still be requested to provide justification for their national measures under current WTO procedures when international trade disputes arose.
44. As a result of a vote by show of hands, the Commission adopted the Guidelines (46 votes in favour of adoption, 16 votes against adoption and 7 abstentions) as presented.
45. The United States, supported by Chile, India, the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates, stated that it was highly inappropriate for such broad based and significant Guidelines to be adopted before member countries had the opportunity to consider their legal impact on national legislation in the light of the WTO Agreements. Concerns were also raised because the Executive Committee of the Codex Alimentarius Commission had just proposed that the Commission, through the Secretariat, consult with the WTO on the status of Codex guidelines and recommendations under the SPS Agreement, and that the Commission should await the outcome of these discussions before proceeding further.21
21 ALINORM 97/4, paras. 15-18.
22 ALINORM 97/22, Appendix II, ALINORM 97/26, Appendix II, ALINORM 97725 Part 4, CAC/LIM 14 and 25
Draft Guidelines on Use of Nutrition Claims
46. The view was expressed that the conditions for the claim "free" did not actually ensure that the food was free from the nutrient.
47. The inclusion of definitions relating to nutrient function claims and healthy diets was also questioned. One delegation expressed its disagreement with the footnote concerning trans-fatty acids in the Table. The Delegation of Spain stated that the section of the Table concerning fibre, protein and certain nutrient reference values required further scientific evaluation.
48. It was proposed by some delegations and observers that an exception be made to allow a "low fat" claim for products with a naturally high fat content, especially milk products, when a significant reduction in fat content was made; on the basis that commodity committees should be able to establish provisions deviating from general requirements. Several delegations and the Observer from Consumers International were strongly opposed to any such exceptions.
49. The Commission noted that commodity committees had the possibility to propose specific labelling and/or nutrition provisions in commodity standards which might deviate from the general provisions, provided they were submitted with adequate justification to the general committees for endorsement.
50. The Commission adopted the Guidelines for Use of Nutrition Claims (including Part A of the Table) at Step 8 with the understanding that additional work was needed on the expression of claims per serving and further consideration should be given to the issues raised in government comments when finalizing the Table of Conditions.
23 ALINORM 97/26, Appendices IV and III, ALINORM 97/25 Part 6, CAC/LIM 3 and 13
Proposed Draft Amendment to the Standard for Infant Formula (Vitamin B12) (Step 5 of the Accelerated Procedure)
51. The Commission adopted the Proposed Draft Amendment at Step 5 of the Accelerated Procedure.
Proposed Draft Revised Standard for Food Grade Salt (Salt Iodization) (Steps 5 and 8)
52. The Commission noted comments concerning food additives and, while recalling that the additives section had not been changed as the amendment concerned only iodization, agreed that it should be forwarded to the Committee on Additives and Contaminants for further consideration.
53. In reply to a question on salt iodization technology, the Commission noted that relevant information could be found in the report of the FAO Technical Consultation on Food Fortification.24
24 FAO Food and Nutrition Paper No. 60
54. The Commission agreed to omit Steps 6 and 7 of the Procedure and to adopt the Proposed Draft Revised Standard at Step 8.
25 ALINORM 97/22, Appendix III; ALINORM 97/22A, Appendix II
Draft General Guidelines for the Use of the Term "Halal"
55. The Commission adopted the Draft General Guidelines at Step 8 as proposed.
Proposed Draft Amendment to the Labelling Section of the Standard for Quick Frozen Fish Sticks (Fish Fingers), Fish Portions and Fish Fillets, Breaded or in Batter (Step 5 of the Accelerated Procedure)
56. The Commission agreed that the Accelerated Procedure should not be confirmed and that the Proposed Draft Amendment should be considered at Step 5 of the Procedure.26
26 The Commission subsequently advanced this text to Step 6: see Appendix IV.
General Standard for Food Additives: Draft Schedule of Additives Permitted for Use in Foods in General, Unless Otherwise Specified, in Accordance with Good Manufacturing Practice27
27 ALINORM 97/12A, Appendix IV
57. The Commission adopted the above Appendix at Step 8 with the understanding that the Schedule be kept under constant review by the Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants to ensure that the information was always based on the latest scientific data.
58. Because of the late receipt of the draft, the Delegation of India objected to the adoption of the Appendix.
Food Categories or Individual Food Items Where the Use of Food Additives with Good Manufacturing Practice Limitations on Use are Not Allowed or Restricted28
28 ALINORM 97/12A, Annex to Appendix IV.
59. The Commission adopted the Annex at Step 8 on an interim basis, noting that a number of countries had not had the opportunity to review the proposal in detail. It requested the Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants to review the Annex at its next session in light of comments and report its findings to the Commission.
60. Because of the late receipt of the draft, the Delegation of India objected to the adoption of the Annex.
29 ALINORM 97/23, paras. 37-40 & Appendix II; ALINORM 97/23A, paras. 20-24 & Appendix II; ALINORM 97/21, Part I, Table 1; ALINORM 97/21, Part I Supplement 1, Table 2; ALINORM 97/25 Part 2; and CAC/LIM 7.
Proposed Draft Guidelines for the Assessment of the Competence of Testing Laboratories Involved in the Import and Export Control of Foods
61. The Commission adopted the Proposed Draft Guidelines with deletion of reference to "determining equivalency" pending the development of the definition of "equivalency" by the relevant Codex Committee.
30 ALINORM 97/24, Annex II; ALINORM 97/24A, Annex II; and CAC/LIM 25.
Maximum Residue Limits and Extraneous Maximum Residue Limits
62. The Commission adopted the limits as presented at Step 8 of the Procedure, omitting Steps 6 and 7 where necessary. The Delegation of Germany expressed general reservations on the adoption of MRLs/EMRLs.
63. The Commission requested FAO and WHO to publish the Reports and Evaluations of the Joint FAO/WHO Meetings on Pesticide Residues (JMPR) in a timely manner in order not to hinder deliberations of MRLs; and urged better coordination on the elaboration of MRLs for compounds used both as pesticides and veterinary drugs. The Delegation of the United Kingdom requested an examination of potential implications of large variability of residue levels in certain commodities to intake, especially in relation to extreme consumers, stating, however, that even high level residues did not necessarily imply greater health risk.
Draft Maximum Residue Limits for Bovine Somatotropin (BST)31
31 ALINORM 95/31, Appendix II; comments from Consumers International (ALINORM 97/25-Part 10) and from the European Community (CAC/LIM 17).
64. The 21st Session of the Commission had adjourned debate on the adoption of maximum residue limits for bovine somatotropin until the present Session.32
32 ALINORM 95/37, paras. 47-48.
65. The Commission was split into two opinions: (1) in favour of adopting the draft MRLs at Step 8 without delay; and, (2) in favour of postponing their adoption.
66. Delegations favouring the adoption of the MRLs without delay stated that the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants (JECFA) and the Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods (CCRVDF) had performed a thorough scientific evaluation of the compound and, as additional scientific information had not been provided, a re-evaluation was unnecessary. It was stressed that if new scientific data became available, the JECFA and CCRVDF, as opposed to the Commission, were the appropriate bodies to undertake a new evaluation of the compound. It was noted that BST was used in several countries and that the adoption of the MRLs would confirm the work of JECFA and the CCRVDF while preventing the application of non tariff barriers to international trade.
67. Delegations and the Observer from Consumers International in favour of postponing the adoption of MRLs for BST stressed that new information had become available indicating that the administration of BST could reduce livestock immune defences which could make those animals more susceptible to viral and bacterial infection and an increased incidence of mastitis. This might lead to increased use of antibiotics. Other safety concerns were raised by the Observer from Consumers International. It was noted by the Delegation of the Netherlands expressing the views within the European Union, supported by other delegations and the Observer from Consumers International that the use of BST was opposed by consumers and had no benefit for them, and would not improve milk quality or safety. The importance of taking other legitimate factors than sound scientific analysis and evidence as stated in the Statements of Principle on the Role of Science into consideration was also emphasized.
68. The Delegation of the Netherlands expressing the views within the European Union, presented a proposal to suspend the consideration of the adoption of the MRLs for BST pending the re-evaluation of scientific data by JECFA and the CCRVDF and the examination of the application of the "other legitimate factors" in relation to BST by the Committee on General Principles.
69. A roll-call vote was called with the following results:
Countries in favour of the proposal:
Austria; Belgium; Burundi; Cameroon; Croatia; Cyprus; Denmark; Egypt; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Hungary; India; Ireland; Italy; Kenya; Lebanon; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Mozambique; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Saudi Arabia; Singapore; Slovak Republic; Spain; Sudan; Sweden; Switzerland; Turkey; Uganda; United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom.
Countries opposed to the proposal:
Australia; Canada; Chile; Costa Rica; Dominican Republic; Guatemala; Honduras; Indonesia; Japan; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Nicaragua; Nigeria; Pakistan; Philippines; Republic of Korea; South Africa; Thailand; United States of America; Viet Nam.
Algeria; Argentina; Bolivia; Botswana; Brazil; China; Cuba; El Salvador; Morocco; Peru; Russian Federation; Tunisia; Zimbabwe.
Tally: 38 votes in favour; 21 votes against; 13 abstentions.
Result: The motion passed.
70. The Chairperson of the Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods requested those delegations and observers who indicated that new information existed relevant to the protection of public health resulting from the use of BST in dairy cows to submit such information to the JECFA Secretariat by 30 September 1997 so that such information could be evaluated by the 50th JECFA session in February 1998.
Draft and Proposed Draft Maximum Residue Limits for Veterinary Drugs at Steps 8 and 5/8, respectively33
33 ALINORM 97/31 A, Appendices II and IV; comments from the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (CAC/LIM 5).
71. The draft and proposed draft MRLs for diminazine, doramectin, levamisole, moxidectin, oxytetracycline (only), spiramycin and triclabendazole were adopted at Step 8. The Commission approved the MRL for spiramycin in cattle milk at 200 m g/litre, based on the advice of JECFA.
72. The MRLs for carazolol were returned to Step 7 because of concerns that the concentration of residues at the injection site may exceed the Acceptable Daily Intake.
Draft Guidelines for the Design of Control Measures for Street Vended Foods in Africa34
34 ALINORM 97/28, Appendix II
73. Some delegations questioned the title of the guidelines, especially the use of the term "design". The Commission clarified the term in explaining that those guidelines could be understood as a help in designing a national system of control.
74. Concerning the geographic scope of application of these guidelines, the Commission amended the Scope Section of the Guidelines to indicate that they were intended for use in the African Region.
75. The Guidelines were adopted by the Commission, with the amendment as noted above. The Coordinating Committee for Africa was requested to review this text in order to ensure conformity with the revised General Principles of Food Hygiene adopted by the Commission, so that inconsistency between the two texts would be avoided.
35 ALINORM 97/17, Appendices II, III and IV; ALINORM 97725 - Part 8, CAC/LIM 2
Draft Revised Standard for Named Animal Fats
76. Several countries stated that the proposed peroxide value (5 meq/kg) should be replaced with 10 meq/kg as the lower value had been arrived at without scientific justification and would adversely affect the economic interest of producing countries. It was also proposed to delete the reference to a temperature of 60°C for Premier Jus as this value was not adequate from a safety point of view and such quality requirements should not be included in the standards.
77. The use of colours, BHT, and TBHQ was objected to, but the Commission noted that all provisions for additives in the revised draft standards for fats and oils had been endorsed by the Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants.
78. The Commission returned the Draft Standard to Step 6 for government comments and for further consideration by the Committee on Fats and Oils.
Draft Revised Standard for Fats and Oils not Covered by Individual Standards
79. The Commission noted that similar objections were made concerning peroxide value and additives as in the case of Animal Fats and agreed to return the Draft Standard to Step 6.
Draft Revised Recommended Code of Practice for the Storage and Transport of Fats and Oils in Bulk
80. Several delegations objected to the adoption of the Code as they felt that a number of issues were not addressed, in particular the possibility that installations may diverge from its provisions and the reference to minimum requirements. They also expressed concern that the use of Thermal Heating Fluids was not generally allowed, which represented a serious problem to many exporting countries.
81. Other delegations pointed out that thermal heating fluids were not allowed in their countries and they had accepted a compromise in the Committee on Fats and Oils in order to facilitate international trade, with the understanding that further discussion could take place later in the Committee on this issue.
82. Although several countries supported the adoption of the Code with an amendment to delete the section concerning thermal heating fluids, other countries opposed it as they felt that in view of the implications for international trade and the economic interests of developing countries further discussion was needed on the text as a whole. The Commission agreed to return the Draft Revised Recommended Code of Practice for the Storage and Transport of Fats and Oils in Bulk at Step 6 for further comments and consideration by the Committee.
36 ALINORM 97/35
83. The Commission adopted the Standard at Step 8 as proposed. The Delegation of Spain stated that the drafting of the text should be improved in order to avoid incompatibilities, especially relating to Section 1 and the Annex of this Standard. Other delegations questioned the sizing provisions of the Standard, especially in relation to small fruit varieties.
84. The Commission adopted the Standard at Step 8 as proposed.
Draft Revised Standard for Natural Mineral Waters37
37 ALINORM 97/20
85. The Delegation of Switzerland, as Host Government for the Committee, reported on the main issues discussed at the 5th Session of the Codex Committee on Natural Mineral Waters held in Thun, October 1996. It was reported that the Committee had recommended to the Commission the adoption of the Draft Standard for Natural Mineral Water at Step 8 of the Procedure. Furthermore, the Committee had proposed to the Commission the development of a general standard applicable to bottled or packaged waters other than "natural mineral waters". The Revised Draft Standard had been forwarded to the Commission for adoption after an intense discussion by the Codex Committee on Natural Mineral Waters.
86. The Commission was split into two opinions: (1) in favour of adopting this standard at Step 8; and (2) in favour of returning it to the Codex Committee on Natural Mineral Waters at Step 6.
87. Many delegations favouring the adoption of the Draft Revised Standard stated that the provisions of the standard were in conformity of the long history of production of natural mineral waters in Europe. They emphasized that the European Regional Standard had existed for several years and that it had been decided at the 19th Session of the Commission to convert it to a world-wide one; the draft had proceeded through all of the regular Steps of the Elaboration Procedures. It was pointed out that specific requirements to protect microbiological purity of the products had to be met including the bottling at the emergence of the source without transportation. Under these conditions the use of antimicrobial treatment was not necessary. These requirements indicated that "natural mineral water" was a specific product. They had no objection to the development of a standard for bottled or packaged waters excluding natural mineral water. Some delegations favoured the adoption of the Standard with the understanding that the provisions concerning health requirements should still be considered by the Codex Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants.
88. Japan and other delegations opposed to the adoption of the Draft Revised Standard stated that they did so because the draft standard did not permit antimicrobial treatments and transportation of water in bulk containers which are required to ensure Codex aims taking into consideration various conditions in the world. The Delegation of Japan also stated that there was no consensus at the 5th Session of the Codex Committee on Natural Mineral Waters. Several delegation asked the denomination "natural" should be deleted and that natural mineral waters should be incorporated into a standard encompassing a larger category of bottled water. It was also mentioned that the draft standard did not contain a reference to minimum and/or maximum levels of total dissolved mineral content. Several delegations were opposed to the adoption of the standard because of the process by which the revision was undertaken. All of these delegations proposed to return the draft revised standard to Step 6.
89. A roll-call vote was called for the adoption of the Draft Revised Standard by one Delegation and Japan proposed the use of a secret ballot. The Commission decided, by show of hands, (in favour of the secret ballot - 22, roll-call - 39 countries), to resolve the matter by roll-call vote. The Delegation of Egypt emphasized that on matters such as the one under discussion, issues should be resolved by consensus rather than by a voting procedure.
90. Result of the roll-call vote was:
Countries in favour of adoption
Austria, Belgium, Burundi, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mozambique, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom, Uruguay
Countries opposed to the adoption
Argentina, Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Nigeria, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Viet Nam
Algeria, Cuba, El Salvador, Lebanon, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Senegal, Sudan, Swaziland, Zimbabwe
Tally: 33 votes in favour of adoption of the Standard; 31 votes against; 10 abstentions.
Result: The Standard was adopted at Step 8.
91. The delegation of the United States of America pointed out that it was regrettable that such a decision has been taken by voting and made a statement: "With respect to the decision of the Commission, the US cannot support this Commission action because we object to several provisions of the adopted standard. The standard ignores public health protection by prohibiting any antimicrobial treatments and creates a barrier to international trade by including unnecessary and inappropriately restrictive requirements which are contrary to the General Principles of Codex Alimentarius, adopted by the Commission to protect public health and facilitate international trade".
92. The Delegations of Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, Guatemala, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, Uganda also expressed their reservation to this decision.
93. Several delegations expressed concern at the means by which the Commission had reached a conclusion on this matter and stressed that the Commission should try by all appropriate means to attempt to take such important decisions on the basis of consensus.
94. Several delegations raised their concern that the Health-Related Limits for Certain Substances contain in the Standard had not been reviewed by the Codex Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants. It was also noted that the Spanish and French versions of the Table on Microbiological Requirements needed to be aligned with the English version.
95. The Commission noted that many countries favoured the timely development of a standard for bottled/packaged waters other than natural mineral water (see Item 8). The Commission noted that the Committee on Natural Mineral Waters had now completed the task assigned to it by the 19th Session of the Commission, and decided to allocate the elaboration of the proposed draft standard for bottled/packaged waters other than natural mineral water as defined in the adopted Standard for Natural Mineral Water to this Committee in accordance with its powers under Step 1 of the Codex Elaboration Procedure.
Draft Revised Standards for Butter, Milk-fat Products, Evaporated Milks, Sweetened Condensed Milks, Milk and Cream Powders, Cheese, and Whey Cheese and Draft Standard for Cheeses in Brine38
38 ALINORM 97/11, Appendices II-IX; ALINORM 97/11, Part I, Table 1; ALINORM 97/25, Part 3-1; ALINORM 97/25, Part 3-2; CAC/LIM 9; CAC/LIM 27; and CAC/LIM28.
96. In his presentation of the Draft Standards, the Delegation of New Zealand representing the Chairperson of the Codex Committee on Milk and Milk Products, stated that the existing standards were not suitable for the new trading environment and needed updating. It was noted that the labelling provisions had not been endorsed by the relevant committee. It was also noted that the hygiene provisions were consistent with the recommendations as contained in the Procedural Manual. It was further noted that the 29th session of the Committee on Food Hygiene considered the issue of pasteurization or alternative measures but decided to forward the common hygiene provisions to the Commission without making further additions to them. The Delegation proposed adoption of the Draft Standards for Butter, Milk-fat Products, Evaporated Milks, Sweetened Condensed Milks, and Milk and Cream Powders and to return to Step 5 the Draft Standards for Cheese, Whey Cheese, and Cheeses in Brine, which involved more contentious issues on hygiene and labelling. The Delegation stated that the provisions relating to food hygiene and food labelling could be dealt with in a horizontal manner taking into consideration the work which would be initiated by the Committee on Food Hygiene on the Code of Hygienic Practice for Milk and Milk Products and the Committee on Milk and Milk Products in relation to the review of the Code of Principles concerning Milk and Milk Products.
97. The Commission discussed whether or not to include reference to "pasteurization or alternative measures which provide equivalent consumer protection" in the hygiene provisions of the standards under discussion. Several countries reported that in their countries milk needed to be pasteurized except for manufacturing cheeses of certain ripeness. The Delegation of France and other delegations were, however, strongly opposed to the inclusion of reference to pasteurization in these standards.
98. In light of the widely divergent opinions on this matter and recognizing the need for further deliberations on the food labelling provisions, the Commission decided to return all Draft Standards to Step 6 with a view towards considering them at the next Session of the Commission awaiting developments of the relevant issues by the Committees on Food Hygiene, Food Labelling and Milk and Milk Products.
99. Several delegations and observers expressed disappointment. Sharing the view of the Delegation of New Zealand, they stated that the decision was not consistent with other decisions made at this Session, and stressed the need for greater cooperation between the various Codex Committees to facilitate each other's work. The Commission urged the Committees on Food Hygiene and Food Labelling to give high priority to the finalization of the relevant provisions. The Chairperson of the Committee on Food Hygiene undertook to give high priority to progressing the hygiene issues relating to these standards.
Draft Revised Standards for Sugar39 and Honey40,41
39 ALINORM 97/27 App. I
40 ALINORM 97/27 App. II
41 CAC/LIM 10 (ALINORM 97/25 Part 15(S)-Add. 1) Government Comments
100. The Commission recalled that at its 21st Session it had agreed that further revision by the Host Government (United Kingdom) would be carried out through correspondence42.
42 ALINORM 95/37 para. 82
101. The Commission noted that although the Draft Revised Standard for Sugar was a substantial improvement over the old ones there still remained a number of problems with both the sugar and honey standards and agreed to return the draft standards (to Step 6) for a new round of comments.
102. The Commission recognized that there were serious problems related to handling comments through correspondence and concurred that the revision should, if necessary, be addressed through a meeting of the Committee on Sugars or an alternative meeting with the understanding that all interested parties should participate in order to resolve the technical issues before submitting the revised standard to the next Session of the Commission.
103. The Commission noted the statement of the Host Government (UK) that they could not guarantee the convening of a meeting of the Committee on Sugars before the next Session of the Commission and agreed to discuss alternative hosting arrangements under Agenda Item 13.