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Codex Committee on Food Additives meets in Jinan, China


The Codex Committee on Food Additives (CCFA) began its 51st session on Monday in Jinan, China.

Food additives are added to food to fulfil important technical functions related to the safety and quality of the products, but need to be used prudently in line with scientific risk assessments and maximum levels in order not to become a problem themselves. The Committee will look at a huge number of draft food additive provisions to be adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission in July 2019, and at some important general topics such as  how to best manage the risks of the use of nitrates and nitrites and how to deal with concepts such as “plain”, “fresh”, “unprocessed”and “untreated” in the Codex General Standard for Food Additives (GSFA).

On behalf of the host government, Lu Jiang, Director General of the China National Centre for Food Safety Risk Assessment welcomed the delegations from around the world. “The Chinese government has always considered food safety a priority”, she said, drawing the parallel between the country’s leading role at international level and applying rigorous standards, strict supervision and accountability within the country. “I hope that Jinan can become a gateway for you to learn more about food safety in China”, she said, opening the door for CCFA to engage in dialogue and build consensus during its 5-day meeting in the capital of the Shandong Province home region of the famous Chinese philosopher, teacher and politician: Confucius.

“As the grass and mountains turn green in early spring, world renowned food safety experts are now gathered in the City of Springs”, said Deputy Mayor Sun Bin, using the epithet for which Jinan is known due to the abounding presence of hot springs.

CCFA51 plenary

Delegates in plenary at opening of CCFA

Representing FAO and WHO at the opening were Markus Lipp and Kim Petersen, both of the JECFA Secretariat.  “The work of CCFA is equal to having a dictionary for food additives – defining their specifications and uses that allow for the world to speak a common language”, observed Lipp. “This Committee is a cornerstone of our work in improving global food safety”, said Petersen, who underscored its importance in protecting health.

Codex Secretary Tom Heilandt recalled that learning from history and past mistakes was the only way to move forward and urged delegations to continue finding new solutions to difficult issues to allow completing the GSFA. He stated the firm commitment of the Codex secretariat to make sure Codex remains the place where the world can come together to develop international food standards to protect everyone, everywhere and urged members to support the secretariat in solving logistic issues such as those related to renovating historical databases.

Yongxiang Fan of the China National Centre for Food Safety Risk Assessment presided over the opening and will lead the sessions of this week’s meeting.

Read more on the CCFA51 meeting page