A proposed international ginseng standard is likely to be abandoned after the International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplements Associations (IADSA) and a number of its member associations presented evidence illustrating its unworkability at a recent Codex meeting.
The Codex Committee on Processed Fruits and Vegetables had been considering implementing a draft standard developed by the Korean government, but has withdrawn from this position. It will now propose to the central Codex decision-making body, the Codex Commission, that a judgement be made on whether ginseng standards need to be considered by Codex at all.
IADSA and some of its member associations were opposed to the adoption of the standard on three main grounds:
- International standards already exist and another set of standards could lead to unnecessary confusion.
- The Codex Committee does not have the necessary expertise to make a judgement on a highly specialised botanical issue such as ginseng.
- Such a standard is not within the remit of the Committee.
Simon Pettman, executive director of IADSA, welcomed the Committee's change of heart. "We are delighted the Committee has decided not to recommend this proposed standard to the Codex Commission," he said. "It is significant because Codex will almost certainly abandon any aspirations it may have had to develop this standard now."
Such proposals have been known to gather unwarranted momentum because some Codex members treated the organisation's deliberations with a reverence they possibly did not deserve. Occasionally this has led to the adoption of national standards on the basis of proposals that may only have been at the draft stage within Codex.