Food Additives

​​Codex Committee on Food Additives (Host Government — China)

The Codex Committee on Food Additives (CCFA) establishes and endorses permitted maximum levels for individual food additives. The CCFA prepares priority lists of food additives for risk assessment by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives as well as assigning functional classes to individual food additives.

The committee also recommends specifications of identity and purity for food additives for adoption by the Codex Alimentarius Commission and considers methods of analysis for the determination of additives in food.

Establishment of the Committee

The 29th Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission adopted the terms of reference proposed for the CCFA, thereby deciding to replace the Codex Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants (CCFAC) with the Codex Committee on Food Additives (CCFA) and the Codex Committee on Contaminants in Foods (CCCF). The Commission agreed that each Committee should review its terms of reference at its first session.

Existing Codex Standards

Standards relating to food additives* that have been endorsed and adopted into the international food code:

  • General Standard for the Labelling of Food Additives when sold as such
  • General Standard for Food Additives
  • General Principles for the Use of Food Additives in Food
  • List of Codex Advisory Specifications for Food Additives
  • Guidelines for Simple Evaluation of Food Additive Intake
  • Class Names and the International Numbering System for Food Additives

*This is an indicative list only. For a full list of standards approved by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, please consult its Official List of Standards.

Last Meeting

The 48th Session of the Codex Committee on Food Additives was held in Xi’an, China from 14-18 March 2016.

Matters for Adoption by the 39th Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission

The Committee forwarded the following draft and proposed draft Standards and Related Texts for adoption at Steps 8 or 5/8:

  • Proposed draft Specifications for the Identity and Purity of Food Additives (para. 30(i) and Appendix III, Part A);
  • Draft and proposed draft food additive provisions of the General Standard for Food Additives (GSFA) (paras 11, 23, 52(a), 56, 68, 70, 74, 75 and Appendix VII, Parts A-H);
  • Proposed draft revision of food category 01.1 “Milk and Dairy Based Drinks” (renamed “Fluid milk and milk products”) and its sub-categories and consequential changes (para. 87 and Appendix XII);
  • Proposed draft amendments to the International Numbering System for Food Additives (para. 108 and Appendix XIII); and
  • Proposed draft Revision of Sections 4.1.c and 5.1.c of the General Standard for the Labelling of Food Additives When Sold as Such (CODEX STAN 107-1981) (para. 153 and Appendix XV).

Other Matters for adoption

  • Revised food additive sections of the standards for Cocoa Butter (CODEX STAN 86-1981), Chocolate and Chocolate Products (CODEX STAN 87-1981), Cocoa (Cacao) Mass (Cocoa/Chocolate Liquor) and Cocoa Cake (CODEX STAN 141-1983) and Cocoa Powders (Cocoas) and Dry Mixtures of Cocoa and Sugars (CODEX STAN 105-1981) (para. 52(i), a) and Appendix V);
  • Revised food additive provisions of GSFA related to the alignment of the four commodity standards for chocolate and chocolate products and the commodity standards identified by the Committee on Fish and Fishery Products (CCFFP) (para 52(i), b) and Appendix VII, Part G and H); and
  • Amendment of food additive provisions in several commodity standards (paras 150 (i - v) and Appendix VI).

Revocation

The Committee forwarded for revocation:

  • Specifications for aluminium silicate (INS 559), calcium aluminium silicate (INS 556) and glycerol ester of gum rosin (INS 445(ii)) (para. 30(b), Appendix III, Part B);
  • Food additive provisions of the GSFA (paras 32(i),(ii), 119(ii), 121(ii) and Appendix VIII); and
  • Food additives provisions in commodity standards (paras 32(ii), 124, 151 and Appendix VI).

Other Matters of interest to the Commission and FAO and WHO

The Committee agreed to:

  • Prepare a discussion paper on the management of CCFA work (para. 10);
  • Ask information on use levels for adipic acid (INS 355) in various food categories to be provided to the JECFA Secretariat for the purpose of exposure assessment (para. 59);
  • Discontinue work on a number of draft and proposed draft food additive provisions of the GSFA (paras 58, 70 and Appendix X);
  • Prepare a discussion paper identifying concerns for the food additive use of nitrates (INS 251, 252) and nitrites (INS 249, 250) for consideration at CCFA49 (paras 60-63);
  • Include new food additive provisions in the GSFA at Step 2 for consideration at a future session (para. 73 and Appendix IX);
  • Continue with the current practice to address the use of secondary additives by using notes within the current GSFA food category system (para. 133);
  • Forward the Priority List of substances proposed for evaluation for endorsement by CAC39 and follow-up by FAO and WHO (para. 118(i) and Appendix XIV).

Matters Referred to Codex Committee

The Committee:

All commodity committees

  • Agreed to develop guidelines for commodity committees to undertake work on alignment (para. 52 (ii));

Several commodity committees

  • Requested guidance on the use of food additives in relevant food categories: CCFO and CCPFV (para. 65);
  • Recommended the revocation of a number of food additive provisions in commodity standards under their responsibility: CCASIA, CCFFP and CCPFV (paras 118(iii), 123(ii, iii));
  • Recommended to revise the text pertaining to flavourings in several standards: CCFFP, CCFO, CCNEA, CCNFSDU and CCPFV (para. 149).

Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs (CCSCH)

  • Endorsed the food additive provisions in the proposed draft Standard for Thyme and asked CCSCH to clarify the use and restriction of food additives in the proposed draft Standard for thyme (paras 34-35 and Appendix IV).

Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU)

  • Informed of the alignment of the provisions for carrageenan (INS 407), citric and fatty acid esters of glycerol (INS 472c) and starch sodium octenyl succinate (INS 1450 in the GSFA with the Standard for Infant Formula and Formulas for Special Medical Purposes for Infants (CODEX STAN 72-1981) (para. 76);Replied to the requests raised by CCNFSDU36 (paras 16 and 17);
  • Requested to confirm the technological justification of the use of gellan gum (INS 418) in infant formula (para. 118(v)).

Committee on Fish and Fishery Products (CCFFP)

  • Informed of the decision on sodium sorbate (INS 201) (para. 118 (iv))

Committee on Food Labelling (CCFL)

  • Forwarded the revision of Section 4.1.c and 5.1.c of the General Standard for the Labelling of Food Additives When Sold as Such (CODEX STAN 107-1981) for endorsement (para. 146);
  • Recommended to consider the revision of Section 4.2.3.4 of the General Standard for the Labelling of Prepackaged Foods (CODEX STAN 1-1985) taking into account the above revision (para. 148).

Next Meeting

The 49th Session of the Committee on Food Additives will be held in China from 20 to 24 March 2017, the final arrangements being subject to confirmation by the Host Government in consultation with the Codex Secretariat.

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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