New hygiene norms for food items soon

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi, Nov 11 | Updated: Nov 12 2007, 04:05am hrs
Poultry, egg and egg products, fresh fruits, and vegetable will soon be subjected to new hygienic standards in global trade. Based on the recommendations of an ad hoc panel chaired by India, the 39th session of the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene (CCFH), which concluded in New Delhi early this month, agreed to take up the new work on the code of hygienic practices for fresh fruits and vegetables. The Codex Committee agreed that the US should take the initiative and set up an electronic working group for receiving comments and suggestions. The electronic working group would be open to all interested parties. The 40th session of CCFH is scheduled to take place in the US in December 1-5, 2008. Guatemala, which expressed its desire to co-host the meeting, has been told to take up the issue with the US Codex Secretariat. On the issue, the use of lifting the restrictions on the use of lactoperoxidase system (LPS) for milk and milk products in global trade, the 39th CCFH decided to refer the issue to the Codex Alimentarius Commission to clarify and explain that restriction of the use of the LPS for milk in global trade in no way precluded the use of the system by countries at the national level.

The 39th CCFH also decided to work on proposed guidelines for control of Campylobacter and Salmonella spp in broiler (young birds), chicken meat, meat carcass, and portions. CCFH will also coordinate with the world organisation for animal health - OIE - which is working on the issue at the primary level. The FAO has also drafted a document on good practices for poultry. The CCFH has decided to finalise the proposed guidelines on basis of the code of hygienic practices for meat (CAC/RCP 58-2005) and where specific information on Campylobacter and Salmonella in birds other than broilers was lacking.

It was decided that since the structure of the microbiological risk management metrics annex had substantially changed,there was no longer any need to develop an annex to the code of hygienic practices on liquid eggs. The 39th CCFH noted the need to provide a more detailed scientific approach for the proposed draft on Listeria Monocytogenes in ready-to-eat foods. It deliberated on the proposed drafts on hygienic practices for powdered formulae for infant and young children, validation of food safety control measures, conduct of microbiological risk management, and metrics. WHO would work on emerging viruses like Nipah virus, Avian flu virus, and SARS coronavirus.