Council Press Release, 17 May 2011
The following is an extract from the minutes of the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting, 17 May 2011
The Presidency reported to the Council on the progress and prospects of the Codex Alimentarius negotiations (9859/11) [See Presidency Report].
During the Codex Alimentarius Committee meetings which took place during the 1st Semester of 2011, many achievements were obtained, such as the setting of maximum levels for melamine (a chemical substance fraudulently introduced in infant formula), the promotion of the EU approach on food additives and pesticide residues, the preservation of characteristics of natural mineral waters, including microbiological criteria and contaminants, and the setting of several other food standards.
The Presidency noted that the annual Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) session of July will have to deal with a sensitive issue, namely the setting of maximum residue levels for ractopamine, a chemical whose use for growth promotion in pigs and cattle in certain third countries is refused by the EU.
In addition, the Commission noted that another sensitive issue – the establishment of guidelines on GM labelling, on which the US and the EU have disagreed since 1996 – was about to be resolved.
The CAC, jointly established in 1962 by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), develops international food standards to protect consumers and to ensure fair practices in the food trade. In many cases, Codex standards have even acquired a certain legal relevance, as they are considered to be a point of reference in the case of trade disputes between WTO members.