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35th Session, summary

Outcome of the 35th Session, Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses

The 35th session of the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU) was held in Bad Soden am Taunus, Germany, from 4 - 8 November 2013. The session was chaired by Dr. Pia Noble, Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection. 263 delegates representing 67 Member Countries, one Member Organisation and 33 International non-governmental Organisations attended the session.

Mr. Bernhard Kühnle, Director-General for Nutrition, Food Safety and Animal Health of the German Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection opened the session with a welcoming address. He acknowledged the contributions of CCNFSDU toward the success of Codex work over the past 50 years.

The Vice-Chairperson of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), Ms. Awilo Ochieng Pernet, also addressed the Committee. In her statement she expressed appreciation for the work of the CCNFSDU and gratitude to the German Government for hosting the Committee since 1966. She also emphasized the 50th Anniversary of Codex and the various events to mark 50 years of successful work.

The deliberations focused on the revision of the Codex General Principles for the Addition of Essential Nutrients to Foods. A full-day physical working group meeting held prior to the plenary session paved the way for overcoming initial differences and created a constructive spirit of compromise for the plenary discussion. Progress was made in clarifying the applicability of the Principles to the voluntary and mandatory addition of nutrients, extending the Principles to include appropriate purposes of nutrient addition beyond that of correcting a demonstrated deficiency and that of reflecting scientific progress. Furthermore, the Committee agreed to amend the document title from ‘General Principles’ to ‘Principles’ and to continue with a document structure that includes an Introduction, Scope, Definitions, General Principles, and Principles. It was agreed that the document should be submitted to the Codex Alimentarius Commission for adoption at Step 5 at its 37th Session in 2014.

The Committee also continued the discussion on the Proposed Draft Additional or Revised Nutrient Reference Values for Labelling Purposes in the Codex Guidelines on Nutrition Labelling (Based on Nutrient Requirements). It came to the conclusion that the current NRV-R for protein of 50 g per person per day should be retained. Furthermore, the Committee identified seven minerals that need to be considered for the establishment or updating of NRVs-R. An electronic working group (eWG) was established with the mandate to elaborate recommendations for revised or additional NRVs-R in 2014 and 2015. The Committee also agreed on a definition of ‘Recognized Authoritative Scientific Body’ (RASB).

Further issues addressed at the 35th session of the CCNFSDU included the review of the Codex Standard for Follow-Up Formula, the inclusion of specific rules for products for underweight older infants and young children in a new part B of the Codex Standard for Processed Cereal-Based Foods for Infants and Young Children, and the review of the List of Food Additives in Infant Formula.

As new work, the Committee agreed to initiate the establishment of a NRV-NCD (Nutrient Reference Values – Non Communicable Diseases) for potassium. As a sodium antagonist, potassium should have the effect of lowering blood pressure and thus reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and coronary heart disease. It was agreed to submit the project document to the Codex Alimentarius Commission for approval of the proposed new work at its 37th session in 2014.

The Committee also considered a discussion paper on biofortification. It agreed to develop a discussion paper and a project document on a definition of biofortification for consideration at the next session.

The 36th session of the CCNFSDU is scheduled to be held in Indonesia (Bali) from 24 to 28 November 2014.