43rd Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. (CAC). 24/09/2020 – 06/11/2020  Virtual,

See Press Release from last Year:  CODEX: Exporting countries put trade before the health of the planet and children.

See previous Blog with links to our detailed comments.

The sections relevant to infant feeding are on the webcasts of (Day 2 )25th September and   Day 6 (5th November) where you can move to point 2.45 and Paras  82- 86 (Follow-on Formulas)  Para 89 (RUTF)  and the discontinuation of Biofortification. (Para 92)
Key points:
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Adoption of Codex Texts at Step 5 (Agenda item 6) Review of the Standard for Follow-up Formula: Section B: proposed draft scope, definition and labelling

The draft standard on was adopted at step 5.  IBFAN (together with ENCA and ILCA) would have wished to prevent this on the basis that there are so many fundamental things wrong with this standard. However, we succeeded in ensuring that our main concerns were clearly mentioned in the report and that the next Nutrition meeting (CCNFSDU)  – which is delayed until Nov 2021 –  will allow comments at the next step.

Para 83: The US called for deletion of text after ‘scope.’ India insisted that the text is retained.
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Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF). This Guideline also moved to Step 5- even though it still has many problems.
Para 88: Ethiopia “highlighted the need for locally sourced raw materials to be included in the Guidelines as this would encourage farmers and local producers to produce the relevant raw materials of the required quality.”
Para 89; ENCA/IBFAN changed the  draft report text to say that  RUTF ‘could be useful’ rather than was essential’ in emergency situations and that such foods should be used  for treatment only (of malnourished children); and it should not be permitted to enter the general food market. She expressed the view that the current guidelines needed further work to include safeguards that would ensure that breastfeeding is protected especially for infants from age 6 months.
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For more details:
Adoption of Codex Texts at Step 5 (Agenda item 6) Review of the Standard for Follow-up Formula: Section B: proposed draft scope, definition and labelling
Text of draft Report changes in red
Discussion
82.Members while not opposed to the adoption at Step 5 highlighted, amongst others, the need for further consideration of the:
  • definition expressing either support or opposition for the text in square brackets;
  • name of the product especially with regard to the use of the term “drink” which could be misleading and in conflict with the General Standard for Food Additives; and
  • section 6.5 (changed to 9.5 by Thailand)as the current wording could be misinterpreted.
83.A Member, supported by Observers also proposed that references to WHO documents and WHA resolutions be included in the scope in line with the Standard for Infant Formula and Formulas for Special Medical Purposes (CXS 72-198).
84. SOME Observers also expressed the view that the text was not ready for adoption at Step 5 as the current name of the product was not appropriate and misleading and gave the impression that these products were necessary; and that cross promotion was not sufficiently addressed in the labelling section.
85.To a request regarding the purpose of the footnote in section 2.1.1, the Codex secretariat reiterated his statement made at CCNFSDU41 and clarified that the intent of the footnote was to provide factual information.
86.The Chairperson of the Committee noted that the text put forward for adoption at Step 5 was a result of a high degree of inputs and a result of the joint efforts of delegates to CCNFSDU41, and reflected compromises made by many to achieve a common goal. However, it was very clear that some parts of the text could not be entirely addressed and had to remain in square brackets.  She assured delegates that these issues would be discussed thoroughly as soon as CCNFSDU met again, hopefully in November 2021.  The Step process foresaw further submission of comments at Step 6 and discussions at the next session, and the next meeting would be used accordingly.
Conclusion
87.CAC43 adopted Section B:proposed draft scope, definition and labelling at Step 5 and noted that all technical comments should be resubmitted at Step 6 for consideration by CCNFSDU42.
Guideline for Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF)Discussion
88.A Member supporting adoption of the proposed draft guideline for RUTF highlighted the need for locally sourced raw materials to be included in the Guidelines as this would encourage farmers and local producers to produce the relevant raw materials of the required quality.
89.An Observer noted that RUTF could be useful was essential in emergency situations and that such foods should be used  for treatment only (of malnourished children); and it should not be permitted to enter the general food market. She expressed the view that the current guidelines needed further work to include safeguards that would ensure that breastfeeding is protected especially for infants from age 6 months.
Conclusion
90.CAC43 adopted the proposed draft Guidelines at Step 5 and noted that all technical comments should be resubmitted at Step 6 for further consideration by CCNFSDU.
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