Codex endorses guidelines on melamine testing

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Codex alimentarius Idf

Codex has endorsed testing guidelines developed by the IDF and the ISO for determining the melamine and cyanuric acid content of dairy products.

The Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling (CCMAS) endorsed the guidelines last week and recommended final adoption by the Codex Alimentarius Commission in July.

This means that testers will have a set of internationally recognised procedures for testing melamine against the recently adopted Codex limits for infant formula and other foods.

First published in November, the recommendations were drawn up in response to the Chinese melamine crisis in 2008 that killed six children and sickened an estimated 300,000.

The International Dairy Federation (IDF) and the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) joined forces in the wake of the scandal to develop guidelines that would give regulators and industry a standard reference for melamine testing.

Covering milk, powdered milk and infant formula, the guidelines advise on sampling, test procedures and performance with examples of test results.

IDF president Richard Doyle said: “The publication of these guidelines was achieved in a very short time span in response to the event of milk adulteration with melamine.

“The availability of the method will help reinforce consumer confidence in the milk industry’s ability to guarantee safe and nutritious products.”

Explaining the significance of Codex endorsement, Claus Heggum, chair of the IDF science and programme coordination committee, told this publication that recognition from over 170 countries means testing methods can be trusted and disputes about results between borders avoided. He said: “It will facilitate use of testing and thus increase consumer protection.”

Codex standards are not mandatory but members are encouraged to use them. They apply in cases of World Trade Organisation (WTO) disputes and are used in trading contracts.

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