Codex additive levels up for debate once more, warns IADSA

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Additives Codex alimentarius Food additive

The International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplement Associations
(IADSA) is highlighting the need for industry to engage in debate
over levels of additives in supplements under Codex guidelines to
prevent the setting of levels too low for technical demands and
posing a barrier to trade.

The Codex General Standard for Food Additives (GSFA) sets down the conditions for permitted food additives for all foods. A US-led working group is charged with the additives that should appear on the list for supplements and with setting levels based on technical justification and safety.

Last year the working group proposed that four additives - iron oxides, castor oil chlorophylls/copper complexes and Erythrosine - be removed from the list. It also put forward low levels of BHA, BHT and Carnauba wax were put forward.

Even though IADSA takes credit for averting the deletions and having the levels of the other three additives raised, David Pineda Ereno, IADSA's manager for regulatory affairs told that the industry needs to take the matter seriously because the matter is far from settled. The working group has circulated a new recommendation to Codex members for comment this year.

This time around, all the additives kept in the list, but the levels remain up for debate. Both the recommendation and the comments will be submitted to the Codex Additives Committee in April.

Crucially, last year's proposed deletions and lower limits arose because the working group did not have enough information on why the additives were needed and at what levels. To help rectify this, IADSA has compiled data on additive use from its membership, comprised of 57 associations.

"We believe that deleting key additives from the General Standard for Food Additives list and adopting very low levels could create both considerable confusion in many countries and considerable barriers to trade,"​ said Pineda Ereno.

It would make sense for the levels to be in accordance with safety data, but no higher than technical requirements.

Moreover, lower levels would result in considerable costs for the industry, as manufacturers may need to find new technical solutions and reformulate products accordingly.

While Codex does not have the same force of law as a EU directive or national legislation, Codex limits are used as a reference point for countries that are looking at revising or creating legislation. "Codex has very high influence in those countries,"​ said Pineda Ereno.

Moreover, Codex is also used as a point of reference by the World Trade Organisation when a dispute arises between two members.

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