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Ginseng guidelines sent back to drawing board

05-Jul-2005

An international standard on ginseng will take several more years to be adopted, as discussion at the Codex Commission yesterday revealed a wide difference of opinion on the scope of the standard, writes Dominique Patton.

The standard proposed by the Korean government a few years ago has made slow progress under the Codex decision makers because of diverse opinions on the herbal's status as well as a significant number of different species used on the market.

Although the Codex regional committee in Asia succeeded in drawing up a first draft standard last year, discussions in Rome yesterday revealed that there is still no harmonised opinion on the guideline within Asia.

The Commission recommended that the standard go back to step three of the eight-stage decision-making process.

"Although we consider this standard to be very valuable, further work needs to be done on the text," said David Pineda, director of regulatory affairs at the International Alliance of Dietary Supplement Associations (IADSA).

"It is unfortunate that it has to wait one more year before the draft is endorsed but there are several issues to be addressed," he added.

In some countries, including within Europe, ginseng is not listed as a food ingredient. A Codex guideline on the herbal would recognise its status at an international level as a food.

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