World trade standards for vitamin and mineral supplements are under review this week at a meeting of the Codex Alimentarius committee in Bonn, Germany.
The 25th session on nutrition and foods for special dietary uses has tabled for discussion this week guidelines on nutrition claims and vitamin and mineral supplements. Codex committee members will also look at a proposed draft revised standard for infant formula, based on the previous session's recommendations.
Both the US and the EU have submitted comments on the proposed guidelines. The EU position paper asks for a list of nutrients that can be included in vitamins and supplements, to be added as an annex to the guidelines. It also asks for clearer definitions of 'food supplement' and 'dietary' uses.
Set up in the 1960s by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Health Organisation, Codex Alimentarius develops food safety standards which serve as a reference for international food trade. Since the conclusion of the Uruguay Round in 1994, the role of Codex Alimentarius Standards has been strengthened.
Codex can override all regional standards but in some areas it lags behind other legislation. New EU legislation on food supplements to be implemented in 2005 will set standards in areas not yet established by Codex and could inform future Codex guidelines.