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IDFA Staff Members Continue IDF Committee Work in Brussels

Feb 20, 2007

IDFA Staff Members Continue Committee Work at IDF Meetings in Brussels

IDFA Vice President Cary Frye and Senior Director Allen Sayler recently attended International Dairy Federation (IDF) committee meetings in Brussels, Belgium, representing IDFA and the U.S. dairy industry. Frye and Sayler both hold leadership positions within IDF; Frye is the chairman of the IDF Standing Committee on Food Labeling and Terminology, and Sayler is chairman of the IDF Standing Committee on Food Additives.

Each committee focused on topics of interest to IDFA members. Frye's committee completed and approved a final version of the educational document that had been requested by the Codex Committee on Food Labeling (CCFL) regarding country-of-origin labeling for cheese.

"This document is designed to help shape the debate on country-of-origin labeling and move the cheese standards forward," said Frye." Getting this issue resolved is very important to our members, because it will protect the generic nature of cheese within various types of cheese, encourage trade and provide accurate information to consumers."

At its annual meeting earlier this year, the Codex Alimentarius Commission retained nearly all sections of 16 draft cheese standards at Step 8, the final step before adoption. The country-of-origin labeling provision, however, designed to inform consumers where the cheese is manufactured, was referred back to the CCFL for consideration at its meeting next April.

The country-of-origin provision would apply to cheese standards for brie, camembert, cheddar, cottage cheese, coulommiers, cream cheese, danbo, edam, emmental, gouda, havarti, mozzarella, provolone, samso, St. Paulin and tilsiter.

Sayler's committee continued its efforts to consolidate all standards for food additives into one document, the Codex General Standard For Food Additives (GFSA), while maintaining a flexible structure that would allow new additives to be included in the future.

"IDFA is very pleased with the outcome of this committee meeting. We made tremendous progress on establishing international dairy industry positions on moving food additives from the Codex dairy standards to the GSFA, opposed a guideline on processing aids that would complicate and confuse their use in countries using Codex dairy standards, and supported the addition and deletion of specific food additives in Codex dairy standards. These positions will be used by IDF observers at the upcoming Codex Committee on Food Additives meeting in April," explained Sayler.

During the same week, Sayler also attended the Codex Committee on Milk and Milk Products (CCMMP) processed cheese working group meeting as part of the U.S. government delegation, along with representatives from Kraft Foods and Schreiber Foods, Inc. The working group is revising outdated Codex standards on processed cheese to reflect the modern processing techniques now in use in the global market.

Although there was much debate concerning sections of the draft standard on composition, ingredients, food additives and labeling for processed cheese, the committee was able to make some progress. A new draft document will be sent to all Codex members for review and comment. After the comments are received and incorporated, the document will be presented at the next CCMMP meeting in 2008.

Codex decisions on cheese standards and food additives can have a significant impact on IDFA members that export dairy products, since many Codex standards are enforced by importing countries and can be used to resolve World Trade Organization disputes.

For more information, contact Frye at cfrye@idfa.org, or Sayler at asayler@idfa.org.

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Posted February 20, 2007

 
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