Codex agrees nutrient risk analysis principles

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Codex alimentarius, Codex alimentarius commission, Nutrition, Dietary supplement, Codex

Codex Alimentarius, the World Health Organization’s food supplements regulations advisory body, has handed in nutrient analysis recommendations that have pleased the world’s biggest global dietary supplements trade group.

Codex’s latest recommendations are in line with the previous position of the WHO and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which promote the idea of scientific substantiation when validating maximum permitted levels of nutrients in food supplements.

“This is a very positive outcome,”​ said the International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplement Associations (IADSA) chairman Byron Johnson. “The FAO/WHO model is an excellent basis for the future application of the risk assessment method and for the development of an internationally accepted table of maximum levels.”

Codex’s position is seen as being a liberal model very far removed from the “nutrients at levels necessary to ward off disease only”​ model that has been prevalent in the past in some countries.

Critics say this approach results in nutrient fortification levels being set far too low to provide meaningful nutritional benefits such as maintaining good health and preventing disease.

Codex agreed the position at a meeting in South Africa last month. The Codex text is now ready for final adoption by the Codex Alimentarius Commission at a meeting in July, 2009.

IADSA said the new accord follows a 2006 FAO/WHO nutrient risk assessment report that shared principles with an IADSA model for safety assessment published in 2004.

Health claim positions

At the meeting in South Africa, the Codex Nutrition Committee also eased its position in regard to the kind of science required to back health claims.

It removed the word ‘clinical’ from its text after it met with government and non-governmental organisations.

IADSA represents more than 50 national and regional trade associations that have a membership of more than 20,000 companies.

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