Contaminants in Food

Codex Committee on Contaminants in Food
(Host Government - Netherlands)

The Codex Committee on Contaminants in Food (CCCF) establishes and endorses permitted maximum levels or guideline levels for contaminants and naturally occurring toxicants in food and feed.
It also prepares priority lists of contaminants and naturally occurring toxicants for risk assessment by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives.
The CCCF considers methods of analysis and sampling for the determination of contaminants and naturally occurring toxicants in food and feed and develops and elaborates standards or codes of practice for related subjects. It also considers other matters assigned to it by the Commission in relation to contaminants and naturally occurring toxicants in food and feed.

Existing Codex Standards

The 'General Standard for Contaminants and Toxins in Foods' - relating to contaminants in food* - has been endorsed and adopted into the international food code.
For a full list of standards approved by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, please consult its Official List of Standards.

Outcomes of the 36th Codex Alimentarius Commission

The 36th Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission adopted the draft standards and related texts forwarded by the Codex Committee on Contaminants in Foods (CCCF).

Last Meeting

The 6th Session of the Codex Committee on Contaminants in Foods was held in Moscow, Russian Federation from 8-12 April 2013.
 
Matters for Adoption by the Commission

Proposals for new work

  • Proposed draft maximum levels for lead in fruits juices and nectars, ready-to-drink; canned fruits; and canned vegetables
  • Proposed draft maximum levels for DON in raw cereal grains (wheat, maize and barley) and associated sampling plan; in flour, semolina, meal and flakes derived from wheat, maize or barley; and in cereal-based foods for infants and young children
  • Proposed draft Code of practice for the prevention and reduction of ochratoxin A contamination in cocoa
  • Proposed draft Code of practice for the presence of hydrocyanic acid in cassava and cassava products; and
  • Maximum levels for hydrocyanic acid for cassava flour and gari (transfer form commodity standards to the GSCTFF) and consequential amendments to the Standards for Edible Cassava Flour, Gari, and Sweet Cassava.

Revocation of Standards

The Committee agreed to recommend the revocation of the maximum levels for lead in the individual standards for canned fruits and canned vegetables.

Discontinuation of work

The Committee agreed to inform the Commission on discontinuation of work on:

  • the revision of the guideline levels for radionuclides in the General Standard for Contaminants and Toxins in Food and Feed including development of guidance to facilitate the application and implementation of the GLs
  • the establishment of maximum levels for hydrocyanic acid in cassava and cassava products

Matters of interest to the Commission

The Committee:

  • agreed to retain the current maximum levels for lead for milks, cereals, and juices and nectars from berries and other small fruits, ready-to-drink and to inform the Commission accordingly
  • agreed to resume work on maximum levels for arsenic in rice and rice products and on fumonisins in maize and maize products and to prepare revised proposals for comments and consideration by its next session
  • agreed to redraft the draft Annex for the prevention and reduction of aflatoxins and ochratoxin A contamination in sorghum (Code of practice for the prevention and reduction of mycotoxin contamination in cereals); and the proposed draft Code of practice for weed control to prevent and reduce pyrrolizidine alkaloid contamination in food and feed for comments and consideration by its next session
  • agreed to continue discussion on editorial amendments to the GSCTFF (paras 102-103)
  • agreed to develop discussion papers on methylmercury in fish (para. 126); aflatoxins in cereals (para. 140); and total aflatoxins in ready-to-eat peanuts and associated sampling plans for consideration by its next session
  • endorsed the Priority list of contaminants and naturally occurring toxicants for JECFA evaluation and agreed to re-convene the physical working group at its next session to review the Priority List.

Matters referred to Codex Committees and Task Forces

Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling (CCMAS)

  • The Committee agreed to request the advice of CCMAS on the appropriateness of the performance criteria for methods of analysis for DON to ensure consistency with the Working Instructions for the Implementation of the Criteria Approach in Codex.

Matters of Interest to Codex Committees and task forces.

Committee on Fats and Oils (CCFO)

  • The Committee will consider the transfer of provisions for halogenated solvents from the Standard for Table Olives and Pomace Oils into the General Standard for Contaminants and Toxins in Food and Feed at its next session
  • The Committee agreed to consider the allocation of maximum levels for lead and arsenic for fish oils once the Standard for Fish Oils is finalized by CCFO including the question on whether the MLs should apply to total arsenic or inorganic arsenic.

Download the report from this meeting

Next Meeting

The 8th Session of the Committee is tentatively scheduled to be held in the Netherlands from 31 March - 3 April 2014.

Download the agenda papers for this meeting

Last reviewed:
19 Aug 2013