Food additive levels and risk analysis principles adopted
As had been hoped, following intensive lobbying by IADSA and considerable input from IADSA member associations and companies, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, the decision-making body in Codex, has finally adopted the food additive provisions for Castor oil, Polysorbates, Polyvinyl alcohol, Acesulfame potassium, Aspartame, Cyclamates, Neotame, Saccharin and Sucralose of the General Standard for Food Additives (GFSA) at the higher levels proposed by IADSA.
This means that they become the official provisions within the GSFA, thereby avoiding any potential barriers to trade.
At the same meeting, the Codex Commission adopted the Working Principles for Risk Analysis for Application by Governments - another extremely important achievement because it has resulted in a set of Codex working principles for risk analysis which do not contain any mention of the precautionary principle.? CRN USA has been particularly active in achieving this positive result.
New EU hygiene rules and fish oils
The future access of fish oil to the European market remains under threat though a European regulation which comes into force in November 2007. It brings fish oil manufacture within its scope, but places inappropriately high standards of manufacture on production plants.
EHPM and ERNA have had a number of meetings with the European Commission, with technical experts and member companies to try to resolve the issue. At present, while the Commission seems to be open to the idea of a permanent derogation for fish oils, some Member States are not, favouring a one year extension of the time period for enforcement of the Regulation.
It is hoped that industry action will encourage the Commission to open up the debate in favour of a long-term solution which will not be detrimental to the future for fish oil production.
EFSA/FDA cooperation agreement signed
Last month, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the US Food and Drug Administration signed the first US/European agreement in the area of assessing food safety risk.
This is the first formal international cooperation agreement that EFSA has signed and the first formal step in cooperation between the two bodies, and is designed to facilitate the sharing of confidential scientific and other information, such as methodologies to ensure food is safe. The formal agreement ensures appropriate protection of such confidential information under the applicable legal frameworks in the United States and the European Union.
Novel food ingredient application for CLA
The European Commission has advised Member States of a submission to the Spanish Food Safety and Nutrition Agency (AESAN), for the authorization of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) as a novel food ingredient when added to foods other than food supplements.
This submission is a further illustration that proof of an ingredient's use in food supplements before May 1997 is not sufficient to support its non-novel food status if used in other food applications.
Deadline for removing trans fats
Following the recommendations of a task force report proposing a trans fat limit of 2% total fat in vegetable oils and margarines, and 5% in all other foods, the Canadian Health Minister, Tony Clement has given the food industry two years to voluntarily remove trans fats from their products.???
This time period is considered adequate to allow the industry to reformulate appropriately.? However, in announcing the voluntary initiative, the Minister added that, ?If significant progress has not been made over the next two years, we will regulate to ensure the levels are met.'