In a notice issued on 22 December, the FSSAI has stated that it has revised the earlier order on the constitution of the National Codex Committee and Shadow Committees. Accordingly, the National Codex Committee (NCC) will be constituted only by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, The Chairperson of the NCC will be the Chairperson of the FSSAI while other members will be the Joint Secretaries or their representatives in the various government ministries like the Department of Health, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Food Processing and other Ministries dealing with food or commerce. Some other members will be constituted from various bodies BIS, NDRI, IITR, and FRAC etc.
The Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) is a joint body of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). It was established to develop international food standards, a code of practices and guidelines to protect the health of consumers, and ensure fair practices in the food trade. CAC has 185 members and some of these members form their own National Codex Committees to supplement the work of the CAC. A National Codex Contact Point (NCCP) is designated to each member country. The various NCC works through these Codex contact points and facilitates communication among all stakeholders in Codex. The NCCP coordinates all relevant Codex activities within the country. The success of a country’s Codex activities depends on the effective functioning of the Codex contact point, which serves as the link with the Codex Secretariat and the Member States.
FSSAI is the National Codex Contact Point
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is the National Codex Contact Point in India. It coordinates and promotes Codex activities in India in association with the National Codex Committee and facilitates India’s input to the work of Codex through an established consultation process.
Responsibilities of NCCP in India
- Undertake secretariat responsibilities to the National Codex Committee;
- Act as the contact point for the country for maintaining liaison with the Codex Secretariat in elaborating international food standards;
- Collect, procure and analyze data for elaborating international food standards
- Keep track of international food standards work and give comments and data to ensure that international food standards elaborated are practicable for local manufactures and do not hinder exports of food;
- Undertake study and research work to solve any problem resulting from the elaboration of international food standards;
- Encourage food manufacturers to improve quality and hygiene management to meet requirements of international food standards; and
- Disseminate information on food standards and food laws to relevant government agencies, primary producers, manufacturers, exporters, consumers and concerned organizations.
Constitution of Shadow Committees
Through this notice, the FSSAI has also constituted various Shadow Committees that will work under the NCC. The Food Authority has appointed the Shadow Committees of the NCC on subject matters corresponding to the Codex Committees to assist the NCC in the study or consideration of technical matters. The constituted shadow committees are as follows
- Shadow Codex Committee Core Issues
- Shadow Codex Committee on Processed Foods and vegetables
- Shadow Codex Committee Food Additives
- Shadow Codex Committee Contaminants in Food
- Shadow Codex Committee Food Hygiene (CCFH)
- Shadow Codex Committee on Fats and Oils
- Shadow Codex Committee on Sugar
- Shadow Codex Committee on Cereals, Pulses, and Legumes
- Shadow Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis & Sampling
- Shadow Codex Committee on Food Import & export Certification System
- Shadow Codex Committee on Residues of Pesticides in Foods
- Shadow Codex Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods
- Shadow Codex Committee on Milk and Milk Products
- Shadow Codex Committee on Fresh Foods and Vegetables
- Shadow Codex Committee on Fish & Fishery Products
- Shadow Codex Committee on Codex Committee on Nutrition for Food for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU)
- Shadow Codex Committee in Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs (CCSCH)
The Chairperson of the various Shadow Committees will be the Chairperson, FSSAI for Codex Alimentarius Commission, Chief Executive Officer/Joint Secretary level officer dealing with Codex, FSSAI for other Codex Committees. Members will be the officers in the rank of Joint Secretary or above in the concerned Department/Ministry / Food Authority. Specialized experts in the relevant field may also be nominated as members of these Shadow Committees. These lists of experts may be reviewed from time to time to ensure that they meet the on-going requirements of the NCC.
Responsibilities of Shadow Committees
- To study Codex documents, collect and revise all relevant information relating to technology, economics, health, and control systems so as to give supporting reasons to the government in the acceptance of Codex Standards or otherwise
- To formulate the national position in consultation with the members of the Shadow Committee with respect to the agenda for the forthcoming session/meeting of the Subsidiary Body of the CAC and forward the same to NCCP for sending it to Codex Secretariat after approval by the government.
- To finalize the delegation for the meeting of the Codex in consultation with the NCC / NCCP and transmit the names to the host secretariat through the NCCP; and
- To recommend to the NCCP the position to be taken during the Sessions of the Commission with respect to agenda items relevant to the terms of reference of the Shadow Committees.