Codex Alimentarius Adopts New Food Safety and Nutrition Standards

raspberry.jpg

09 Jul 2013 --- The UN food standards body Codex Alimentarius has agreed on new standards to protect the health of consumers worldwide. These include standards on fruit, vegetables, fish and fishery products and animal feed.

Codex also adopted codes on the prevention and reduction of ochratoxin A, a carcinogenic contaminant, in cocoa, guidance on how to avoid microbiological contamination of berries and on use of claims for food that is labeled "non-addition of sodium salts" including "no added salt" on food packages, to assist consumers in choosing a healthy diet.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission, jointly run by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), sets international food safety and quality standards to promote safer and more nutritious food for consumers worldwide. Codex standards serve in many cases as a basis for national legislation, and provide the food safety benchmarks for international food trade.

At its annual meeting last week, Codex celebrated its 50th anniversary. The session was attended by 620 delegates from 128 member countries and one member organization, one observer country and 41 international governmental and non-governmental organizations, including UN agencies.

One of the important work areas for Codex is setting safe limits and giving guidance along the food chain on prevention or reduction of contamination. Food can become contaminated by heavy metals, fungal toxins or bacteria and viruses.

The Commission adopted two important codes: prevention and reduction of ochratoxin A (a carcinogenic contaminant) in cocoa and of hydrocyanic acid in cassava, both important products for developing countries.

Fresh berries can be a healthy part of the diet but are also prone to microbiological contamination and have been associated with several foodborne illness outbreaks caused by viruses (Hepatitis A, Norovirus), bacteria (E.coli) and protozoa. The new Codex text gives advice to producers and consumers on how to prevent this contamination.

The Commission adopted a number of commodity standards that will protect consumers from fraud and ensure fair practices in the food trade: fresh and processed fruit and vegetables (e.g. avocados, chanterelles, pomegranates, table olives, date paste, and tempe) and fish and fishery products (smoked fish, abalone). The standards help buyers and sellers establish contracts based on Codex specifications and make sure that the consumers get from the products what they expect.

The Commission also adopted the nutrient reference values on sodium and saturated fatty acids, which are nutrients associated with noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), to be included in the Guidelines on Nutrition Labelling. This is part of Codex's on-going efforts to promote healthy dietary practices and address the increasing public health problem of diet-related NCDs.

The Commission also adopted the revised and updated guidelines on formulated supplementary foods for older infants and young children to ensure the health and nutrition of the vulnerable population group. Furthermore, the Commission adopted hundreds of safe maximum limits for pesticide residues and veterinary drugs and provisions for food additives.

As animal feed can cause contamination in eggs, meat and milk products, the Commission adopted guidance to countries on how to control animal feed and assess the risk of contamination. The Commission also adopted guidelines for National Food Control Systems to assist countries in implementing food control.

Because of the volume of trade and need to harmonize national standards, the Commission agreed to create a new Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs, which will be hosted and chaired by India.

The Commission approved its Strategic Plan 2014-2019, which will guide the work on protecting consumers' health and ensure fair practices in the food trade over the next six years.

Related Articles

Food Ingredients News

EU Extends Support to Farmers Affected by Russian Import Ban

31 Jul 2015 --- The EU is to extend its support to farmers who are losing revenue as a result of the Russian import ban imposed in retaliation for EU trade sanctions last year. Russia recently announced that it is to extend its import ban on fresh foods from EU states until 2016.

Business News

Solazyme Reports Second Quarter 2015 Results

31 Jul 2015 --- Solazyme, Inc., a renewable oil and specialty ingredients company, announced results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2015.

Business News

Naturex Announces Buoyant Return to Organic Growth in H1

30 Jul 2015 ---  Naturex, the global leader in specialty plant-based natural ingredients, has announced a return to organic growth in  its 2015 first-half consolidated revenue. Organic growth increased by 4.7% and the company reported this comes from all three division and spans all regions.

Business News

Frutarom Acquires Scandia Citrus

30 Jul 2015 --- Frutarom Industries Ltd., one of the world's 10 largest companies in the field of flavors and specialty fine ingredients, announced the acquisition of the business operations and assets of Scandia Citrus LLC. of Florida, USA.

Regulatory News

Edible Insects Subject to Changing EU Novel Foods Regulations

30 Jul 2015 --- The European Commission is seeking harmonisation of the novel foods regulations in relation to the sale of edible insects across all member states. Novel foods are food products or ingredients that do not have a significant history of consumption before 1997 and are therefore subject to additional safety checks.

More Articles