Codex agenda : health claims, dietary fibre and NRVs

By Dominique Patton

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Health claims Nutrition Codex

A panel of global food experts may start their first debate on
health claims this week, with the topic once again on the agenda at
the Codex meeting in Bonn.

Health claims have previously been scheduled for discussion by the Codex nutrition committee but have always been squeezed out by other issues.

This year, after having been redrafted to allow for improvements by France, the guidelines on health claims could make it into discussion time, likely causing vigorous debate.

Codex Alimentarius, established by the United Nations in 1961, establishes guidelines to harmonise trade in food and although the standards are not binding, they tend to influence less liberal markets and those without a regulatory framework in place, particularly common in supplements.

While the Codex guidelines are still some way behind regulations in place in the US, and rules currently being drafted by Europe, other markets without regulation in this area may look to Codex when designing new laws in the future.

"It is still one of the last items on the agenda but this time more countries have submitted more comments and there is a feeling that we might get a discussion going,"​ said David Pineda, director of regulatory affairs at IADSA, a member of the panel.

He noted that the debate is still at an early stage and given the lack of discussion in previous years, it is difficult to tell how views will be revealed.

If the issue is discussed next week - step 4 of the codex rule-making process - and the committee reaches agreement, the text will be sent to the Alimentarius Commission for ratification, a significant step.

However if there is little improvement the text will remain at step 3.

The meeting, beginning today and running all week, will also discuss the revision of nutrient referenced values to allow for additional ingredients, carried out by a working group led by South Africa, and the provisions on dietary fibre in the nutritional labelling guidelines.

This issue is currently at step 5 and concerns the use of two different methods - the Englyst and AOAC - to measure levels of fibre.

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