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Codex votes but zilpaterol remains unresolved


The 45th Codex Alimentarius Commission has agreed by a vote to adopt the maximum residue limits (MRLs) for zilpaterol, a veterinary drug used to enhance growth performance in cattle, at Step 5 in the Codex process for developing food safety standards.

The Commission did not agree, also by a vote, to change its rules for this session and allow for the work to advance directly to the final Step 8  which would have paved the way for CAC45 to consider final adoption into the Codex Alimentarius.

This in effect means that the matter has not been resolved and the MRLs now proceed automatically to Step 6, remaining with the Commission, and will not return for further discussion in the Codex Committee for Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Food (CCRVDF).

Chairperson of the CCRVDF Brandi Robinson, United States, said there was consensus on the risk assessment for the MRLs and there was no more work on the technical issues for CCRVDF to undertake. She therefore requested the matter remain in the hands of the Commission.

Codex Secretary Tom Heilandt expressed the hope that the issue which had been in Codex for 10 years would be resolved at CAC46 and that Members would continue reflecting on how to deal with such complex topics more efficiently in the future.

Discussions are ongoing with one option voiced to proceed with adoption of the MRLs at Step 8 at the next session of the Commission in 2023, if no additional technical data relating to zilpaterol is forthcoming.


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CAC45 meeting page

Photo credit ©FAO/Bob Scott