14th Session of the CCCF in Review
Codex Committee on Contaminants in Food Meeting – by Jeffery Mitchell, Senior Regulatory Analyst, Bryant Christie Inc.
The 14th Session of the Codex Committee on Contaminants in Food (CCCF) was held virtually from May 3-7 and 13, 2021. This was one of the first Codex committee meetings held virtually, and the first that BCI had attended under this format. The virtual meeting format had both its advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, more members of BCI were able to attend, with Jeffery Mitchell sitting on the U.S. delegation, while Karlee Charlton and Madison Jackson attended as members of the public. Codex meetings are great learning opportunities, and the virtual format allowed more of BCI’s Regulatory Intelligence unit than usual to benefit from this knowledge gain. There was also more representation from countries that may not typically have the resources to attend in-person meetings. Negatives included only three-hour sessions daily compared to the typical eight-hours per day, which constricted the Committee’s ability to conduct a full slate of work.
The meeting was hosted by the Dutch who did an excellent job keeping it on track. All agenda items were discussed, and somehow the total overrun time from the six sessions was kept under 45 minutes. However, due to the virtual format and the shortened meeting times, there seemed to be an unstated understanding that difficult or controversial issues would be discussed, but that seeking a resolution would be postponed until next year’s meeting. Regardless, the Committee was able to clear out simpler issues and those for which a compromise was easy to strike, as well as to gather feedback on the more difficult issues to allow work to continue during the year. All in all, it was a somewhat subdued meeting; however, it allowed the Committee to continue its work so that it will be in a strong position when it hopefully returns to its normal format next year. Considering the circumstances, this should be considered a success.