Codex Review of Lead in Fruit Juices and Nectars
JPA has been providing updates regarding activity by Codex to reduce the maximum level of lead in fruit juices and nectars. Members were earlier advised that the Codex Alimentarius Commission had adopted a recommendation by the Codex Committee on Contaminants in Foods (CCCF) to lower the maximum limit (ML) for lead in ready-to-drink juices from 0.05 milligrams/kilogram (mg/kg) to 0.03 mg/kg (i.e., 50 parts per billion (ppb) to 30 ppb). Codex agreed to retain a limit for lead of 0.05 mg/kg for juices from small fruits and berries. CCCF also agreed to exclude passion fruit juice from the maximum limit of 0.05 mg/kg pending review of additional data. The CCCF agreed to consider a recommendation from the Electronic Working Group (EWG) during the 10th Session of the CCCF in 2016.
The EWG prepared a report, CX/FX 16/10/7; February 2016, recommending that the 10th Session of CCCF, scheduled to meet April 4-8, postpone a decision on lead in juices and nectars from berries and other small fruits to allow submission of new data. The EWG also recommends that the Committee consider MLs of 0.03 mg/kg and 0.04 mg/kg in 2017. (See paragraphs 17 – 21 of the report for details.) Related to lead in passion fruit juice, the EWG recommends including this juice in the fruit juices category with a ML of 0.03 mg/kg. (See paragraphs 22 – 24 for details.)
Diflubenzuron Pesticide Tolerances
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a Federal Register notice (81 FR 7466; February 12, 2016) establishing, in part, a tolerance of 0.50 parts per million (ppm) for diflubenzuron (40 Code of Federal Regulations Part 180.377) on peach subgroup 12-12B and plum subgroup 12-12C. In addition, the Agency is removing the current tolerance on fruit, stone group, 12, except cherry at 0.07 ppm. The regulation became effective on February 12, 2016.
FDA Extends Deadline for Comment on "Gluten Free" Labeling of Fermented or Hydrolyzed Foods
In November 2015, JPA notified members that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had published a proposed rule to establish requirements concerning “gluten-free” labeling for foods that are fermented or hydrolyzed or that contain fermented or hydrolyzed ingredients. A copy of the proposed rule was previously shared with members and a copy is available here. On January 22, 2016, the FDA issued a notice in the Federal Register (81 FR 3751) extending the deadline to comment on the information collection provisions of the proposed rule to February 22, 2016. The deadline to submit comments regarding the other aspects of the proposed rule continued to be February 16, 2016. On February 12, 2016, the FDA issued a Constituent Update, available here, announcing the deadline to submit comments on the proposed rule will be extended for 60 days, following publication of the notice in the Federal Register. According to the notice, the Agency received multiple requests for an extension to allow additional time to comment. At this time, no comments related to the proposed rule have been submitted to JPA staff.
Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act Passed by the House
JPA members were recently notified that the House Committee on Rules had considered the “Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2015” earlier introduced in the House (H.R. 2017) and recommended that the legislation be considered further by the full House. The legislation is intended to ease some of the labeling requirements mandated by the FDA’s final rule to require
calorie information and other nutrition information for standard menu items sold/served in
restaurants and retail food establishments. A companion bill was earlier introduced in the
Senate (S. 2217). According to an article recently published by the Associated Press, available
here, the House passed the legislation, which will be considered by the Senate in the future.
GE Food Labeling Bill to be Introduced in the Senate; New Hampshire Rejects GE Food
According to the February 12, 2016 edition of POLITICO’s Morning Agriculture, “Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts is said to be on the verge of introducing a bill that would pre-empt state GMO [genetically modified organisms] labeling laws in what is potentially a last stand by the food and agriculture industries to stop Vermont’s law from taking effect on July 1.” As you may recall, the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015,” (H.R. 1599), which would create a federal standard for voluntary labeling of foods derived from genetically engineered (GE) materials and pre-empt states from enacting their own mandatory labeling laws was passed by the House of Representatives in 2015, but similar legislation had not been introduced in the Senate. In a related matter, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted against House Bill1674 to require the labeling of GE foods, according to an article posted by the New Hampshire Union Leader
JPA will continue to monitor and provide updates, as information becomes available.