This article was published in World Food Regulation Review, February 2023, p. 30-34.
The forthcoming 53rd meeting of the Codex Alimentarius Committee on Food Additives (CCFA53) and related meetings will be held in Hong Kong from 23 to 31 March 2023 in person for the first time since 2019. CCFA53 is expected to finalize the discussion on the adopted and pending color provisions in three parent food categories (dairy; fats and oils; and edible ices). It will also consider the outcome of the presession physical working group (PWG) about the revision of all existing GSFA provisions on carotenoids and vegetable beta-carotenes as well as specific provisions in several food categories1.
CCFA53 will also continue past discussions to allocate specific replacing notes to some approved sweeteners provisions in Table 1 and 2 of the GSFA (e.g., steviol glycosides and polyols) even if no note 161 is attached to them to date. CCFA53 will discuss nitrates and nitrites and address specific issues related to trisodium citrate in fluid milk (plain), and consider real uses of ortho-phenylphenol and sodium ortho-phenylphenol in some foods. CCFA53 will also cover its more regular agenda items about (a) JECFA past and future work on the evaluation and re-evaluation of food additives, including adoption of JECFA revised or new specifications as Codex standard references2; (b) changes to the numbering systems (INS), including changes to functional classes and technological purposes allocated to some substances; and, (c) alignment with commodity standards. Last but not the least, CCFA53 also resume work left over since 2017 about substances used as technological ingredients in the production of wines while being viewed as food additives in GSFA, based on a discussion paper prepared jointly by Chile, the United States, and the European Union. CCFA53 may also discuss a proposal for a new work on a food standard for ‘yeasts’, matter which arose from a CAC meeting, based on a proposal put forward by China.
The 53rd session of the Codex Alimentarius Committee on Food Additives will be held for the first time since 2019 in person and be preceded by one pre-session working group on the GSFA provisions (including new or revised proposals) (PWG) and one on alignment to consider the outcome of the intersession EWG on alignment. More information about the CCFA53 meeting is available at https://www.fao.org/fao-who-codexalimentarius/meetings/detail/en/?meeting=CCFA&session=53.
By Christophe Leprêtre3 (Keller and Heckman LLP)
1 Tartrates in fruit based spreads (e.g., chutney) with some exceptions and in dried fruits; other acidity regulators in dried fruits; emulsifiers, stabilizers, thickeners, including xanthan gum in fruit and vegetable juices and fruit and vegetable nectars and their respective subcategories; tamarind seed polysaccharide in some of these subcategories; colours in quick frozen French fried potatoes; acidity regulators, including calcium lactate, in fruit juice and in Chinese plum juice; acidity regulators, including phosphates and tartrates in vegetable juice, concentrates for vegetable juice, vegetable nectar, and concentrates for vegetable nectar to check proposed max levels vs technological needs; and, tamarind seed polysaccharide in pickled cucumbers.
2 Joint FAO/WHO Expert Meeting on Contaminants, Food Additives and Veterinary Drugs Residues
3 Food and Agriculture Engineer, Regulatory and Scientific Counsellor at Keller and Heckman LLP.
CODEX ALIMENTARIUS COMMITTEE ON NUTRITION AND FOODS FOR SPECIAL DIETARY USES: CCNFSDU43
The forthcoming 43rd meeting of the Codex Alimentarius Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU43) and related meetings will be held from 6 to 15 March 2023 in Düsseldorf, Germany. CCNFSDU43 is expected first and foremost to complete the revision work on the existing Food Standard for Follow-Up Formulas for older infants and young children (CXS 156, 2017 version), with expected tense discussions on the preamble and the structure of the future final standard and whether or not references to WHO guidance texts or WHA resolutions should be added to such technical specifications and self-standing Codex Alimentarius Food Standard, worth noticing New Zealand’s CRD3 showing precisely how the concepts and guidance from such WHO and WHA documents have already been incorporated into the revised text of the draft standard. CCNFSDU43 will also consider recommendations from the pre-session working group (PWG) to finalise the work on the proposed draft General Principles for Establishing NRVs-R for Persons Aged 6 – 36 Months, paving the way of the future work and development of such nutritional values of reference for that subgroup of the population. CCNFSDU43 will continue the discussion on technological justifications provided for the inclusion of use for several food additives1 in infant formulas (and related formulas for special medical purposes).
Finally, CCNFSDU43 will consider the recommendations from the PWG on the prioritization mechanism that CCNFSDU may use in the future, as well as several important proposals for new work. Namely, CCNFSDU43 may decide to work on (a) general guidelines to establish nutrient profiles for front-of-pack nutrition labelling (FOPNL); (b) guidelines on the use of probiotic(s) in foods and dietary supplements; (c) amendments to the existing codex standard for canned baby foods (CXS 73, 2017 version); (d) proposal to align the permitted uses of the folic acid source calcium-l-methyl folate with those of n-pteroyl-l-glutamic acid in the advisory list of nutrient compounds for use in foods for special dietary uses intended for infants and young children (set in CXG 10, 2015 version); (d) guidelines – including general principles – for the nutritional composition of foods and beverages made from plant-based and other alternative protein sources (to distinguish them from meat and eventually from cell-based meat); or (e) discussion paper on establishing a nutrient reference value (NRV-NCD) for trans-fatty acids (put forward by the European margarine producers).
The 43rd session of the Codex Alimentarius Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses will be held for the first time since 2019 in person and be preceded on Monday March 6 by two pre-session working groups respectively on (a) the general principles for the establishment of NRVs-R for persons aged 6 – 36 months (morning) and (b) on the prioritization mechanism and emerging issues or new work proposals (afternoon). The adoption of the report of the CCNFSDU43 plenary will be held virtually only on 15 March 2023 (from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm (CET)). More information about the CCNFSDU43 meeting is available at https://www.fao.org/fao-who-codexalimentarius/meetings/detail/en/?meeting=CCNFSDU&session=43.
By Christophe Leprêtre2 (Keller and Heckman LLP)
1 Acyl clarified gellan gum (INS 418), Ascorbyl palmitate (INS 304), Mixed tocopherol concentrates (INS 307b), some Phosphates (339(i), 339(ii) and 339(iii) and 340(i), 340(ii) and 340(iii)).
2 Food and Agriculture Engineer, Regulatory and Scientific Counsellor at Keller and Heckman LLP.