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Sayler Leads Delegation at Codex Committee Meeting in China

May 05, 2008

Sayler Leads Delegation at Codex Committee Meeting in China

IDFA Vice President Allen Sayler represented the food-additive interests of IDFA and the dairy industry at an international standards committee meeting held late last month in Beijing. Sayler, who led the International Dairy Federation delegation, joined more than 260 delegates from 65 countries who attended the week-long meeting of the Codex Committee on Food Additives.

"The Chair and every delegate, representing governments and the food industry, cooperated, compromised and reached consensus on almost every agenda item under consideration," Sayler said. "This progress did not happen by accident, but through extensive preparation and private consultations. It was an honor to be a part of such a progressive international body."

Differences between countries on food additives are one of the main barriers that dairy exports face around the world. The Codex Committee on Food Additives meets every year to attempt to create a uniform and internationally recognized food-additive system that can be used by all member countries of the international governing body, the Codex Alimentarius Commission.

The attendees at this year's meeting agreed to advance most of the agenda items for final adoption or for further comments prior to adoption. They endorsed new dairy additives for the Codex standard for creams and prepared creams and plan to present them for final adoption at the general Codex meeting this July. Attendees also endorsed a new list of food additives for the Codex standard on fermented milks, or yogurts, which will now receive a final round of comments before its adoption in 2009.

Another key success involved the use of annatto coloring, which many dairy processors use to add the yellow or orange color to cheese and other products. Annatto previously had been removed from all newly updated Codex cheese standards in 2007 and was in jeopardy of being removed from most Codex dairy standards. After further deliberations, attendees endorsed the additive for all Codex cheese standards, as well as for many other Codex dairy standards, and will submit it for final adoption at the Codex meeting this summer.

The Codex commission is still suffering from two different and sometimes conflicting food additive systems, according to Sayler. The Swiss delegation was asked to identify points of conflict and prepare solutions to propose at the next food additive committee meeting in 2009. IDFA staff and members will work with the Swiss and other delegations to provide practical measures for developing one universal system for Codex.

"This positive step to simplify the Codex food additive system is the result of years of effort and will remove redundancies for U.S. dairy exporters in importing countries that follow Codex systems," Sayler said.

To read the committee report, click here. Members with questions may want to visit the Codex website, which includes a searchable food-additive database at They may also contact Sayler at or 202-220-3544.

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