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REGULATION & FOOD: Precautionary principle left out by Codex




                                  PART 1


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TITLE:  PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE LEFT OUT BY CODEX

SOURCE: NutraIngredients, France

AUTHOR: Alex McNally

URL:    http://www.nutraingredients.com/news/ng.asp?n=78594-codex-iadsa-crn-usa

DATE:   30.07.2007

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PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE LEFT OUT BY CODEX

30/07/2007 - Codex has agreed to exclude the controversial precautionary principle in its risk analysis standards, marking the end of a long battle between the EU and trade groups.

The final decision was made at the Codex Alimentarius Commission meeting in Rome this month when the ’Working Principles for Risk Analysis for Food Safety for Application by Governments’ was finally adopted, excluding the precautionary principle.

The controversial plan would have allowed governments to take certain preventative measures for foods in cases where scientific evidence on the safety of the food is uncertain, but were seen by many governments and organisations as a tool to create unjustified trade barriers.

The principle, which has already been formally established by the European Commission (EC/178/2002), granted food risk managers the ability to take measures to protect health if they feared an unacceptable level of health risk exists. These measures ranged from a total ban on the substance, to food manufacturer’s being ordered to carry out further safety tests.

The International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplement Associations (IADSA) and the US Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN USA) both feared the precautionary principle would create unfair trading opportunities around the globe if it was adopted.

It was omitted from the set of principles for risk analysis adopted by Codex in 2003. However, since then a number of countries have tried to introduce it into Codex texts, to no avail.

David Pineda, IADSA’s manager of regulatory affairs, said: ”Despite the numerous attempts to introduce this principle into the text, there has again been sufficient resistance from both governmental and non-governmental organisations to prevent it from happening.”

Pineda added that consumers were not being put at risk by the exclusion of the precautionary principle.

He told NutraIngredients.com this morning: ”Scientific evaluations are carried out when there are justified doubts about the safety of a food product and therefore there are systems in place to protect the health of the consumers. However, the use of the precautionary principle is often abusive in cases where there is no scientific proof of the unsafety of a food product.

”It is encouraging for the dietary/food supplement associations that this principle is not adopted by Codex and therefore not being applied worldwide.”

There have been three unsuccessful attempts by the EU and other countries to include the principle in key Codex documents.

In April, the full Codex Committee of General Principles (CCGP) debated the new draft and, after rallying of both government and non-governmental organisations - notably the CRN USA - agreed to omit the precautionary principle.



                                  PART 2

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TITLE:  CODEXS PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE INCLUSION THWARTED

SOURCE: NutraIngredients, France

AUTHOR: Stephen Daniells

URL:    http://www.nutraingredients.com/news/ng.asp?id=75529

DATE:   05.04.2007

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CODEXS PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE INCLUSION THWARTED

05/04/2007 - The International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplement Associations (IADSA) has revealed that latest attempts to insert the precautionary principle into Codex’s draft risk analysis standards for food safety have been foiled.

The news marks the third unsuccessful attempt by the EU and other countries to include the principle in key Codex documents, and could represent that last hurdle for adoption without the inclusion of the precautionary principle.

David Pineda, IADSA’s manager of regulatory affairs, told NutraIngredients.com: ”We are very happy with the outcome of this week. This new decision by the committee means there are fewer possibilities to introduce the precautionary principle [into the Codex framework].”

The precautionary principle allows governments to take certain preventive measures for foods in cases where scientific evidence on the safety of the food is uncertain, and many governments and other organizations believe that it is used to create unjustified trade barriers.

”The new document just accepted by the committee appropriately follows an earlier one by excluding the precautionary principle, an action needed to help assure fair opportunities for trade in supplement products,” said Dr John Hathcock VP of scientific and international affairs of the Council Responsible Nutrition (CRN USA).

The full Codex Committee of General Principles (CCGP) in Paris this week debated the new draft and, after rallying of both government and non-governmental organisations - notably the US Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN USA) - agreed to omit the precautionary principle. To enter the Codex framework, the Commission must adopt the Committee’s draft.

Pineda said that whether or not the Commission accepts the document as a Step 5 [document up for revision] or Step 8 [accepted document], this week’s decision means there are less possibilities to introduce the precautionary principle.

”The introduction of this principle has been consistently rejected since the Codex principles were first drafted. However, the text is at an intermediate stage of the Codex procedure and changes can still be made. There could, therefore, be attempts to include this principle into the text during the next Commission meeting later this year which will have to consider this week’s decision of the CCGP,” said Pineda.


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