Date Published: 15 July 2005
CODEX Commission adopts more than 20 Food Standards
Codex is an international food standards-setting body established by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). It has 172 members, all of which are members of FAO or WHO or both.
During its meeting in early July 2005, the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) adopted more than 20 new and amended food standards during its annual meeting. These new Codex Guidelines concern vitamin and mineral food supplements, and also a code of practice to minimize and contain anti-microbial resistance.
Vitamin and mineral food supplements guidelines
New guidelines recommend labeling that contains information about the maximum recommended consumption levels of vitamin and mineral food supplements - to encourage safe and effective use of supplements.
Guidelines recommend that people be encouraged to receive their intake of sufficient vitamins and minerals through a balanced diet and that supplements only be used in cases where food does not provide the required amounts.
Anti-microbial resistance task force
Codex tentatively agreed to a task force addressing anti-microbial resistance. WHO, FAO and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) have developed guidelines for the prudent use of anti-microbials in treatment of human illnesses and animal production, which the task force will carry forward to ensure food safety.
Resistance to anti-microbial drugs, such as antibiotics, is an emerging public heath problem caused by several interrelated of factors, including inappropriate use of antibiotics in humans; antibiotic treatment of illnesses in animals that are later used for human consumption, and the use of antimicrobials as pesticides.
Although anti-microbial resistance had been debated for some years, progress has been complicated by the collaboration needed from many different interest groups, including animal health and production, and human health and drug manufacturing. The new task force is intended to bring all these sectors together and develop a holistic approach to this issue.
Other news from this meeting of CODEX:
In other decisions, the CAC decided to split the Codex Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants into separate committees beginning in 2007, in order to deal more effectively with each issue.
Elections at the 28th session of Codex resulted in the first ever CAC Chairman from an African country: Dr Claude Mosha of Tanzania was elected to the post for a term of one year.
Further details of this announcement are available at http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/notes/2005/np17 .
Source: World Health Organization (WHO).