The 39th Session of the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU) was held in Berlin from 4 to 8 December 2017 and chaired by Dr Pia Noble and Ms Marie-Luise Trebes (both German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture).
Over 350 delegates and observers from 66 member states, one member organisation (European Union) and 39 international organisations attended the meeting. The EU was represented by 18 Member States. Dr. Maria Flachsbarth (Parliamentary State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Germany) and Ms. Mariam Eid (Codex Alimenatrius Vice Chair) opened the session with welcoming addresses.
One of the focuses of the session comprised the discussions on the Standard for Follow-up Formula for older infants and for formula based on milk or plant protein for young children. The discussions covered the composition requirements, labelling aspects and further characteristics of these formulas. It was decided that this standard should, in relation to the composition requirements, be submitted to the plenary session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission for provisional adoption. Until the next session, the discussion is intended to be continued in an electronic working group under the chairmanship of New Zealand, France and Indonesia. It was also decided that an FAO/WHO Joint Expert Meeting on Nutrition (JEMNU) should be convened for the first time on nitrogen conversion factors to determine the protein in infant formula based on soy or milk protein.
The Guidelines for Read-to-use Therapeutic Foods for malnourished children under 6 years of age were discussed in detail. Work on the definition of, and composition requirements for these foods for special medical purposes is being continued in an electronic working group under the leadership of South Africa, Senegal and Uganda. It is also planned that, ahead of the 40th CCNFSDU Session, a physical working group should meet on this subject.
The definition of "biofortification" was also discussed. The work is to be continued in an electronic working group under the leadership of Zimbabwe and South Africa. It is also planned that this electronic working group should discuss alternative terms, as there are difficulties in the use of the term "biofortification" in the EU and in other regions due to the prefix "bio". Moreover, an enquiry is to be prepared for submission to the Codex Committee on Food Labelling (CCFL) in order to clarify the possible use of the definition.
The Committee also discussed a labelling reference value for long-chain omega 3 fatty acids for adults and the issue of whether discussions should be initiated on labelling reference values for older infants and young children. It is intended an electronic working group under the leadership of Ireland, Mexico and the USA should first clarify what specific benefit these reference values would have and what foods they would be used for.
The work on a reference value for the long-chain fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid is first to be continued within an electronic working group under the leadership of Chile and the Russian Federation in order to clarify fundamental issues regarding the derivation of reference values.
A discussion was also conducted on a framework for considering the technological justification of additives, on requirements for foods to be labelled with the nutrient-related claim "free of trans fatty acids" and on the issue of whether discussions should at some point be initiated on guidelines for probiotic foods and on nutrient profiles for the purpose of food labelling.
The 40th Session of the CCNFSDU will be held in Berlin from 26 to 30 November 2018.