Codex Committee Makes Favorable Decision on Milk Protein
As a result of concerns raised by IDFA and others, a committee of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) has changed a proposal that would have reduced the amount of milk protein used in infant formula.
At the commission's annual meeting in Geneva this summer, IDFA and International Dairy Federation representatives argued against the proposal, which would make the nitrogen conversion factor (NCF) used in the Codex infant formula standard the same for both milk protein and soy protein. The commission referred the proposal back to committee for further review, and last week committee members announced their decision to restore the appropriate conversion factor.
"This decision to differentiate the nitrogen-to-protein conversion factors for milk and soy proteins is very important to the global dairy industry," said Cary Frye, IDFA vice president for regulatory affairs. "If the proposal had been accepted in July, it would have reduced the amount of dairy ingredients used in infant formula."
According to the decision, the prepared as ready-to-consume infant formula will be based on the 6.25 NCF. However, to calculate the protein for various ingredients used to make the infant formula, soy will be based on the lower 5.71 value, and milk will remain at the higher 6.38 value.
At an early 2006 meeting of the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU), members had decided to move the soy protein conversion factor up from 5.71 to 6.25, and the milk protein conversion factor down from 6.38 to 6.25 in infant formulas. In the summer of 2006, the CAC asked the committee to reconsider the nitrogen conversion factor for milk protein, base its decision on scientific analysis and evidence, perform a thorough review of all relevant scientific information, and review the recommendations for consistency with other CAC standards.
IDFA had opposed this factor change since it would incorrectly lower the amount of protein in infant formula products using milk protein, making them appear to be equivalent with the levels of protein in infant formula using soy protein. IDFA successfully convinced U.S. government delegates to CCNFSDU to change their position and support the use of the appropriate conversion factors for milk and soy. Although the committee announced its decision last week, the new proposal won't be presented for acceptance until the CAC holds its next meeting in 2008.
The CAC works under two United Nations organizations, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization, to develop food standards that can be adopted as law by any country. Codex also works on food labeling standards, food additive standards and food hygiene recommendations. Codex decisions 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.
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Posted November 6, 2006