A working group of the Codex Alimentarius Commission’s Committee on Milk and Milk Products met earlier this month in Uruguay to continue work towards developing a Codex standard for processed cheese with a target of finalizing work by July 2016. IDFA continues to oppose work on the standard because Codex has tried for more than a decade to revise the standard without reaching consensus on several key provisions, and many of these issues still remain.
IDFA is concerned that any compromise standard coming out of this process will necessarily broaden the definition of “processed cheese” to include products with far less real cheese content than U.S.-made products, which could potentially mislead consumers.
John Allan, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs and international standards, and Rob Byrne of Schreiber Foods, Inc., attended the meeting in Uruguay to serve as industry advisors on the U.S. government delegation to the working group.
The working group produced a draft compromise standard that would establish categories for different qualities of processed cheese, including:
- A “gold standard” processed cheese with a minimum of 75 percent cheese content (similar to the current U.S. standard);
- A category with a minimum of 51 percent cheese content; and
- A spreadable processed cheese with a minimum of 30 percent cheese content.
The last two categories would require the percent cheese content to be declared on the label.
For more information, including the draft standard produced by the working group, read “Report of the CCMMP Physical Working Group on the General Standard for Processed Cheese.”
Members with questions may contact Allan at firstname.lastname@example.org.