Page tools
codexalimentarius > News and Events > News details

CCCF16 / technical working group sessions underway at Codex contaminants committee


Delegates gathered in Utrecht, Netherlands (Kingdom of the) on Monday 17 April 2023 to take part in working groups on a range of technical topics that will be on the agenda in the full plenary of the Codex Committee on Contaminants in Foods (CCCF16) which begins on Tuesday 18 April.

Ahead of the session, the Codex Secretariat spoke to Brazil who led work on establishing maximum levels (MLs) for lead in certain food categories, beyond those already covered by the General Standard for Contaminants and Toxins in Food and Feed (CXS 193-1995).

Q: What progress has been made on the MLs for lead?

A: There was wide support in the committee to continue working on new MLs for lead in other food categories. In 2022 the committee adopted MLs for lead in cereal-based foods for infants and young children, white and refined sugar, corn and maple syrups, honey and sugar-based candies for final adoption

Q: What will CCCF16 need to decide on?

A: In 2023, the Committee is discussing MLs for lead in less refined sugars (soft brown, raw and non-centrifugal sugars) and in ready-to-eat meals for infants and young children.

Q: Where do you hope the work will be by the end of the meeting?

A: We hope that the Committee will adopt the MLs under discussion, remaining to decide upon MLs for lead for dried/fresh culinary herbs and dried spices to be considered by CCCF17 in 2024.

CCCF15 established nine separate working groups to advance topics on the committee’s agenda. Canada chaired the working group dealing with the review of Codex Standards.

Q: Why might a Codex text need to be revised?

A: There are many possible reasons why an existing Codex contaminant standard, an ML, guideline level (GL) or code of practice (COP) may need to be revised. A given standard would meet several criteria in order for it to be considered for possible revision, such as: being established more than 15 or more than 25 years ago, being recommended for re-evaluation by this committee or the Commission within a certain time frame, new occurrence data being available, and the health-based guidance value has been updated.

Q: How successful has the EWG/Committee been in establishing prioritization criteria?

A: The WG has been very successful in establishing prioritization criteria. Currently, there are 17 prioritization criteria used to help prioritize MLs, GLs, and/or COPs. Two more criteria will be proposed for consideration to CCCF16, as well as improvements to two of the prioritization criteria that the WG previously established.

Q: What are you expectations for the session?

A: The approach used to prioritize existing Codex contaminant standards for review is in year two of a three-year trial period. Therefore, the expectations for the upcoming session are to continue to discuss and confirm the approach being used by this working group to consider Codex standards for review, and to continue to develop the prioritization criteria. These criteria and other relevant information are being used to help identify data or information gaps and prioritize standards in the Overall Highest Priority List of Codex Standards for Review.


Learn more

Live webcast of CCCF16 available in three languages every day

Photo credit © FAO/Codex

Working group session at CCCF16, Monday 17 April 2023, Utrecht.