Codex committee drops processed cheese standards

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Milk

The Codex Committee on Milk and Milk Products (CCMMP) has recommended that all Codex Processed Cheese standards be scraped.

After three days of discussion in New Zealand last week, the Committee decided to revoke the international standards on processed cheese.

US representatives welcomed the move. The International Dairy Foods Association said “The US government and dairy industry have long believed that revoking the standards would be better than accepting poorly written updates that might compromise the U.S. processed cheese domestic market.”

Another major development at the ninth session of the CCMMP last week was the finalisation of the Fermented Milk standard.

Fermented milk standard

Covering fermented milk drinks, such as smoothies, yoghurts and kefir products, the new standard requires that products contain at least 40 per cent dairy ingredients, and that the amount of fermented milk and added water must be indicated on the label.

Giving the UK perspective on these developments, Dairy UK technical director Ed Komorowski said: “We support the decision on a definition for fermented milk drinks which will provide useful clarity to the market.

“Dairy UK also recognises the need to update the standard on processed cheese. The fact that this could not be agreed at Codex level means that the UK will now have to develop its own code of practice. It will be important that the UK authorities work in concert with trading partners to ensure a compatible standard.”

The CCMMP also agreed in New Zealand to replace its endorsement for many American Association of Analytical Chemists (AOAC) testing methods with analytical methods supported by the International Dairy Federation and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The IDFA said this means that the US dairy industry may have to test products using both methods to satisfy the US and foreign markets

Codex system

All changes adopted this week at CCMMP will be finalised during the July 2010 Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) meeting before they become official Codex standards.

Codex standards are implemented on a voluntary basis but have influence on regulation in individual countries and are recognised by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as reference points for the resolution of trade disputes.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) is the intergovernmental body, jointly sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), charged with developing the Codex standards.

Related topics: Markets, Cheese

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