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37th Session, summary

Outcome of the 37th Session of the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses

The 37th Session of the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses - CCNFSDU - was held in Bad Soden am Taunus from 23 to 27 November 2015 and chaired by Dr Pia Noble (German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture).

Around 300 delegates and observers from 65 member dtates, one member organisation (European Union) and 36 international organisations took part in the meeting that was opened by a welcoming address delivered by Dr Hartwig (Ms), Head of the Directorate for Food Policy of the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, who stood in for State Secretary Dr Kloos.

The meeting, in essence, had the following results:

This year's discussions focused on the revision of the Standard for Follow-up Formula from 1987. In the run-up to the meeting, an electronic working group chaired by New Zealand, France and Indonesia worked out proposals for an amendment of the definition and the nutrient composition of follow-up food, that were discussed in great detail at an all-day working group meeting that preceded the plenary session. In the context of the plenary session deliberations based on the results obtained by the working group meeting, an agreement was reached on many points. Thus, the Committee agreed on the requirements for the levels of different macro- and micronutrients of follow-up food for older infants aged 6-12 months. The Committee decided to commission the electronic working group with the continuation of its work. The main concern is to work out proposals for the requirements for the composition of so-called "children's milk", i.e. milk-based food for infants aged 13 - 36 months of age.

The fixing of nutrient reference values - NRVs for vitamins and minerals for labelling purposes also featured on the agenda of the 37th meeting of CCNFSDU. The Committee supported the reference levels for the vitamins A and E and for the minerals iron, magnesium, phosphorus and copper proposed by the electronic working group headed by Australia. With respect to vitamin D the decision was deferred to the 38th meeting of the CCNFSDU. No reference levels were adopted for chromium and chloride. The elaboration of reference levels for the nutrient intake for labelling purposes for older infants and young children was deferred to one of the Committee's next meetings.

A working group discussed in-depth the proposal for a reference level for long-chain omega-3-fatty acids regarding diet-related illnesses (NRV-NCD) that had been formulated by a working group headed by the Russian Federation and Chile. However, no agreement was reached on the proposal.

The electronic working group was tasked to carry on working on this subject and, in particular, to subject the scientific foundations to an intense scrutiny. Discussions on this issue will be continued at the 38th meeting of the CCNFSDU.

As a further topic, the discussions also covered key points for a definition of "biofortification" based on the report of an electronic working group headed by Zimbabwe and South Africa. There had been a consensus that the definition should be as comprehensive as possible in order to cover all procedures. Zimbabwe and South Africa were asked to follow up on their work within the scope of the electronic working group and, in the light of the plenary discussions, to present a proposal for a definition at the next session of CCNFSDU.

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) presented a discussion paper for the development of Codex guidelines for specific foodstuffs intended for feeding acutely malnourished children. The Committee decided to recommend the elaboration of a guideline proposed by UNICEF as a new project to the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC). Subject to the approval of the CAC, an electronic working group chaired by South Africa and co-chaired by Senegal and Uganda was set up and commissioned to prepare the draft of a relevant guideline for the next session of the CCNFSDU.

The 38th Session of the CCNFSDU will be held in Hamburg from 5 to 9 December 2016.