Codex – Codex Alimentarius Commission: 21-25 November 2022

The United Nations food standards body, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, met both physically and virtually from November 21-25, 2022, to adopt food quality and safety standards. The Commission’s report will be adopted virtually from December 12-13, 2022.

  • Revision to the Standard for Named Vegetable Oils – Sunflower Seed Oil (CXS 210-1999).  ADOPTED- 21.11.2022
  • Guidelines for Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF). ADOPTED- 21.11.2022
  • Guidelines for the Management of Biological Foodborne Outbreaks. ADOPTED- 21.11.2022
  • Revision to the General Principles of Food Hygiene (CXC 1-1969). ADOPTED- 21.11.2022
  • Maximum Levels for Aflatoxins in Certain Cereals and Cereal-Based Products including Foods for Infants and Young Children. ADOPTED- 22.11.2022
  • Guidelines for Compounds of Low Public Health Concern that May Be Exempted from the Establishment of Codex MRLs. ADOPTED- 23.11.2022
  • Standard for Chilli Peppers and Paprika. ADOPTED- 23.11.2022
  • Guidelines for developing harmonized food safety legislation for the Africa region. ADOPTED- 23.11.2022

©FAO/Giulio Napolitano

Codex – New Codex guidelines pave the way for innovation for ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF)

Codex guidelines for ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) were adopted at the 45th session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission on 21 November and are set to pave the way for new innovative versions of the life-saving product. They will also enable governments to regulate safety effectively as manufacturers scale up production to tackle the malnutrition crisis affecting millions of children, especially in Africa and Asia.

Paraguay – Congressmen introduce changes to bill that establishes front food labeling

The legislative proposal, with half sanction of the Senate Chamber, “Which establishes the implementation of the front warning labeling according to its nutritional composition”, was approved with modifications during the ordinary session of the Chamber of Deputies.

The purpose of this law is to establish mandatory front warning labeling on processed and packaged food in the absence of the consumer and marketed in the national territory, according to the nutritional composition of energy (calories).

It also aims to protect the health and human rights of the population, providing visible, quick and easy to understand information for informed decision making.

WHO – Evaluation of certain food additives and contaminants: ninety-first report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives

The ninety-first meeting of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) was convened by video-conference from 1 to 12 February 2021. The meeting was opened on behalf of the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) by Mr Jamie Morrison (Director of the Food Systems and Food Safety Division) and on behalf of the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) by Mr Kim Petersen (Programme Manager, Department of Nutrition and Food Safety). Mr Morrison in his opening remarks welcomed all meeting participants, and stressed that, despite the challenges of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the work of JECFA had progressed and continued to provide sound scientific advice to Codex and the Member States, largely thanks to the efforts and work of the JECFA experts. He reminded the participants about their responsibility to impart the most unbiased and best scientific advice possible, and that they had been invited to serve solely in their capacity as scientific experts to provide sound scientific advice and not as representatives of their employer or country. He closed by reiterating his sincere gratitude to all participants for providing their time and expertise to this JECFA meeting.

Article – Marketing techniques, health, and nutritional claims on processed foods and beverages before and after the implementation of mandatory front-of-package warning labels in Peru

In June 2019, mandatory front-of-package warning labels (FOPL) were implemented in Peru. The aim of the study was to describe changes in marketing strategies on packaging: marketing techniques (MT), health claims (HC), and nutritional claims (NC) on the packaging of products frequently consumed by children before and after the FOPL implementation. Product photos were taken pre- (March 2019) and post-implementation (March-October 2020) in three supermarkets in Lima, Peru. Following INFORMAS protocols and Peruvian Technical Norms, the presence of MT, HC, and NC was assessed on all package sides. Products were classified as “high-in” and “not high-in” based on the regulation threshold for critical nutrients. Differences in the proportion of products with each strategy in both periods were evaluated. Also, a subsample of products was matched according to the barcode and exact McNemar test was used to compare proportions of strategies pre/post-implementation. We included 883 and 1,035 products in pre- and post-implementation, respectively. In both periods, MT appeared on almost 70% of all products. The presence of HC increased significantly only for beverages (24.5–38.1%, p < 0.001). In both phases, NC were commonly used on beverages (>80%). Overall, the prevalence of “high-in” products using MT increased (73.6–82.1%, p = 0.007), while use of HC increased among “not high-in” products (32.9–41.6%, p < 0.001). There is a high frequency of MT on all products and NC on beverages. The increase in MT in “high-in” products may be an industry response to minimize the impact of the FOPL on food choices and sales. New regulatory aspects regarding labeling should be implemented to strengthen the current policy.