More than 30 new food safety standards adopted

Source of Article:  http://members.ift.org/IFT/Pubs/Newsletters/weekly/nl_070809.htm

The Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) concluded a week-long meeting and adopted more than 30 new international standards, codes of practice, and guidelines to improve worldwide food safety and protect the health of consumers.

New standards adopted by the Commission include:

  • Reduction of acrylamide in food. The code of practice will provide national and local authorities, manufacturers, and others with guidance to prevent and reduce formation of acrylamide in potato products during all phases of the production process.
  • Reduction of contamination with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. The Commission adopted the first guidelines for reducing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) intake through final food preparation. Parts of PAH are possible human carcinogens formed during the combustion of fuel both in the smoking and in the direct drying processes involved in the preparation of food.
  • Prevention of Ochratoxin A contamination in coffee. The Commission adopted guidance to enable coffee-producing countries to develop and implement their own national programs for the prevention and reduction of Ochratoxin A (OTA) contamination.
  • Powdered follow-up formulae. The Commission adopted criteria for Salmonella and other bacteria in powdered follow-up formulae for children six months of age or older and for special medical purposes for young children.
  • Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat food. The Commission adopted parameters for microbiological testing and environmental monitoring for Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat food. A maximum level was set for certain food products where the bacteria cannot grow, while in ready-to-eat products where growth is possible, no Listeria monocytogenes will be allowed.

The Commission also launched new work projects, among them establishing maximum levels for melamine in food and feed. In the last few years, high levels of melamine have been added illegally to food and feed products, causing illness and death. Because it has many industrial uses, melamine may be found in trace amounts in the food chain due to its presence in the environment. Setting maximum limits will help governments differentiate between unavoidable melamine occurrence and the deliberate adulteration of food and feed.

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