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CCFA53 / pre-session working groups pave the way for a smooth meeting


The Codex Committee on Food Additives is renown for its physical working groups that lead up to the full plenary which beings on Monday 27 March, 2023. These groups carry out the groundwork for the topics the full committee will then need to focus on. Ahead of the first Friday session, the Codex Secretariat managed to speak to two of the experts who lead this work.

Paul Honigfort, United States of America is Chairperson of the physical working group on the General Standard for Food Additives (GSFA).

Paul, what is the PWG on the GSFA all about?

I am looking forward to chairing the physical working group in person again for the first time since 2019. It will be a pleasure to see familiar faces as well as greet new attendees for whom the 53rd session will be their first experience attending CCFA. The physical working group is a microcosm of CCFA and a good example of Codex procedures and how committees reach consensus.

Why is this session beneficial to the full plenary?

This session of the PWG will provide recommendations to the plenary on many CCFA impactful topics. One noteworthy highlight is the sweetener discussion - if the PWG can progress through the document and reach consensus on the item, this will complete work on all provisions for sweeteners that remain in the Codex Step process. In addition, the PWG is slated to make significant progress on several historical issues that have been held in the step process for years, including recommendations on approximately 200 draft positions for colours, as well as approaches to the use of additives in fruit and vegetable juices and nectars. In addition, I also expect significant discussion on the risk management approach to the use of carotenoids.

I'm excited to be working with all of my CCFA colleagues again at CFA53 in person!

alignment work is both complex and detailed

Steve Crossley, Australia, will chair the working group on alignment and endorsement.

Steve, how would you describe alignment and endorsement to a first time delegate?

Steve Crossley

Where Commodity Committees have incorporated food additive provisions in their Commodity Standards, they are forwarded to the CCFA for endorsement, prior to being considered by the Commission for adoption.

Historically food additive provisions have been added to either the individual Commodity Standards or to the General Standard on Food Additives (GSFA). With a view to the GSFA being the sole definitive source of food additive provisions, alignment transfers the food additive provisions from the Commodity Standards to the GSFA.  This is largely a transcription exercise, be it a complicated one, with the intention being that food additive provisions are not substantially changed.  A general reference to the GSFA is maintained in the Commodity Standard.

It is hoped that once Commodity Standards have been aligned that new food additive provisions will be developed by the CCFA, based on advice from the Commodity Committee on the technological function. 

What role does the PWG play in preparing the groundwork for the full plenary?

The alignment work is both complex and detailed. The PWG, and the preceding electronic working group, identifies and seeks to resolve any issues so that the discussion in the full plenary can be undertaken efficiently and focus only on any key outstanding questions. 


Learn more

The programmes for the sessions are available on the CCFA53 webpages

Register on Zoom to follow the sessions live.

© Photo credit CCFA Secretariat

Main photo: Paul Honigfort (centre), with Herman Brei, Germany and LaShonda Cureton, United States of America, at CCFA51 in Jinan, China, March 2019

Second photo: Steve Crossley on Zoom at the virtual CCFA52, September 2021.