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First expert meeting on nutrition providing scientific advice to Codex

Experts gathered in Geneva, Switzerland 16-17 July 2019 for the first meeting of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Meetings on Nutrition (JEMNU). The Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU) is currently discussing the most appropriate nitrogen to protein conversion factor (or factors) to use in estimating protein content of soy-based ingredients and milk-based ingredients used in infant formulas and follow-up formulas. The current approved Codex methodology to determine protein is to detect nitrogen and then convert to protein using the appropriate nitrogen to protein conversion factor.  In determining the amount of protein in infant and follow-up formulas, Codex prescribes the use of a nitrogen to protein conversion factor with a value of 6.25 for both dairy-based and soy based-ingredients, unless a scientific justification is provided for the use of a different conversion factor for a particular product. However, it has been acknowledged for some time that a default value of 6.25 may not be an appropriate conversion factor for all protein sources and CCNFSDU has raised the question about the appropriate nitrogen to protein conversion factors to be used for milk and soy protein in infant and follow-up formulas. The expert advice is needed as part of the committee’s work on the essential composition and quality factors of the Draft Revised Standard for Follow-Up Formula (CXS 156-1987) currently nearing completion at CCNFSDU. Food Standards Officer Verna Carolissen, attending the meeting on behalf of the Codex Secretariat said, “We are extremely pleased that thanks to support from our Members, FAO and WHO have been able to convene this first meeting of JEMNU and that CCNFSDU will now begin to benefit from their advice in the same way that other committees have worked with expert FAO/WHO groups for many years”.

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Expert scientific advice from FAO/WHO FAO/WHO Framework for the provision of scientific advice on food safety and nutrition Draft standard (CXS 156-1987) Appendix II