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NMPF Ensures Processed Cheese Standard Discontinued, Leads Other Dairy Successes at Codex Meeting

August 4, 2017

NMPF’s participation helped resolve several key issues at the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) meeting in Geneva, Switzerland in early July. The issues included a long-deliberated standard on processed cheese, work on new standards to combat antimicrobial resistance, as well as discussions about Codex’s overall scope of work and authority, and elections of a new Codex Chair.

NMPF staff attended the meeting as part of the U.S. delegation, with support from the U.S. Dairy Export Council, to ensure that these issues — and others — were resolved favorably for the dairy industry. The standard on processed cheese was one that had challenged the Codex Committee on Milk and Milk Products (CCMMP) for decades. NMPF has long asserted that such a standard is unnecessary, but work on the standard has continued in Codex due to an on-going request by many developing countries in Latin America and Africa.

This year, notwithstanding objections and reservations from numerous countries, the Chair of the Commission stood firm that the recommendation of the Codex Executive Committee to discontinue work should be respected, as there had been no proposed solutions or ways forward over the past year.

The most critical discussions at this year’s CAC meeting focused on the topic of antimicrobial resistance. The Codex Commission formed two working groups to develop and revise standards to address this issue: one on Practice Revision and another on Surveillance. NMPF staff worked to ensure that the scope of both working groups is as limited as possible, and fully supported the U.S. efforts to chair the Practice Revision working group. The Netherlands will chair the working group on Surveillance, and NMPF will be represented on both working groups and actively engaged in this work going forward.

The Commission also adopted the Codex Standard for Dairy Permeate Powder, which had been under development in recent years and was strongly supported by the U.S. dairy industry. The Commission agreed that the work related to use of preservatives and anticaking agents for surface treatment of Mozzarella with high moisture content should be addressed through the Codex Committee on Food Additives (CCFA).

Lastly, the Commission elected a new Chair, Guilherme Antonio da Costa Jr. from Brazil, and three new Vice-Chairpersons from Indonesia, Lebanon and the United Kingdom. The U.S. government was pleased with the outcome of the election, and NMPF staff will now be working to ensure that the U.S. forms a strong relationship with the new chair, in order to ensure the most favorable resolutions of our issues during his three-year tenure.

A copy of the full CAC report can be found here.