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Codex Food Additive Committee Considers Key Provisions for Dairy

Apr 02, 2010

Nearly 40 food additive provisions, which are relevant to IDFA members, were either adopted or blocked from deletion at the Codex Committee on Food Additives meeting held last month in Beijing, China. Allen Sayler, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs and international standards, represented the association, member companies and others in the dairy industry as the head delegate for the International Dairy Federation.

"The committee's food additive provisions provide the basis for allowing companies to challenge extreme or non-uniform food additive provisions in importing countries," said Sayler. "The most significant area of work affecting dairy products this year was the adoption, without change, of a paper by the Codex Committee on Milk and Milk Products that corrected many inconsistencies in the food additive sections of the Codex dairy standards."

More than 200 attendees from 60 countries and representatives from 24 international organizations reviewed approximately 400 food additive provisions during the week-long meeting. They adopted nearly three-quarters of the provisions and held over several others for further review.

Use of Nisin Considered

One provision considered whether to allow companies to continue to use nisin, an additive commonly used in cheese to reduce spoilage and extend shelf life. The committee decided to hold over the final decision in the categories of ripened and unripened cheese until next year to await more industry data. IDF plans to circulate a questionnaire to companies in 50 member countries, including the United States, to gather technical support in the coming months.

The Swiss delegation proposed a solution to address the inconsistencies between the Codex General Standard for Food Additives (GFSA) and the Codex food standards. The committee established a working group, led by the Australian delegation, to integrate the food additive provisions in the GFSA meat standards. Sayler believes the dairy standards could be next in line if the working group is successful.

The committee also finalized guidelines for using processing aids and its "Inventory of Processing Aids" will be converted into an online database within the next two years. According to Sayler, the committee stripped unnecessary provisions, making the document similar to the standards used in the United States.

The committee also made significant improvements to the Codex International Numbering System (INS) classification for food additives, which will reduce confusion and minimize export interruptions related to food additive conflicts. Another provision finalized acceptable levels of lycopene, used in products to provide red coloring, for the Codex Fermented Milk Drinks (yogurt smoothies).

The full committee report is available here.

Members with questions may contact Sayler at or (202) 220-3544.

Dairy Delivers