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Contaminants committee begins virtually 3 May 2021


The 3D printer that recently finished the first entirely printed, legally habitable house in Europe does not need to eat, does not need to sleep, it doesn’t need to rest. The house sits in Eindhoven less than 100km from Utrecht where the hosts of the Codex Committee on Contaminants in Food (CCCF), The Netherlands will be running this first virtual session of the committee.

Unlike the tireless 3D printer, from 3 to 7 May 2021, participants will certainly need their down time. A challenging five-consecutive-day programme is an equally innovative, yet different approach to that taken so far by Codex and by fellow virtual hosts France and India, who spread the central discussions over two weeks. Writing in the session programme, Chairperson Sally Hoffer, from the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, said, “I am very happy that we can accommodate more participants than in the regular physical meetings, making this CCCF more inclusive than ever. But we also have to reckon with the limitations of such a virtual meeting, especially with regards to the limited time frames for discussion.”

The committee sets maximum permitted levels (known as MLs) for naturally occurring toxicants in food and feed. “I’m very excited about the agenda,” said Hoffer. In what she described as a full and challenging programme, Member Countries and Observers will discuss eight items on the agenda in the step process for standard development including levels for aflatoxins in peanuts, methylmercury in fish and cadmium in chocolate.

The 14th session of the committee will see Hoffer chairing a Codex meeting for the first time and with the added pressure of running things virtually. “The difference is you can't connect that easily, so you have to really have your ears and eyes open to everything which happens on the screen and you can't read body language. So that is very different for me than in other settings, which I've had as a chair,” she said.

In preparing for the meeting delegates are encouraged to focus on the recommendations of the various working groups that prepare the papers under discussion. “I would like to emphasize that this meeting is not focussed entirely on advancing the items in the step procedure. We try to do this, but time constraints do limit that. But above all, we would like to further guide the electronic working group chairs to progress the work for the next year,” she said.


Learn more

Video interview with Sally Hoffer

Meeting webpage including all working documents