34th Codex Nutrition meeting Germany

Share this

The Codex meeting is taking place in Bad Soden, nr Frankfurt in Germany



IBFAN Briefing on Codex is HERE


The papers for Codex are HERE : 



At the opening of the debate the German State Secretary Blazer outlined the importance of Codex in setting the framework for international trade and referring to the  need to address malnutrition.

This was followed by statements by WHO  regarding WHO's 6 targets in the Action Plan on Maternal, infant and Young Child Feeding Plan, the launching of the new Database called GINA and a technical note on supplementary foods for Infants and young children.  NUGAG, the subgroup on Diet and healthwhich has completed its  work on  Sodium and Potassium  guidelines.  Summary papers have been submitted to  BMJ  and six systematic reviews are ready to be published. A  background systematic review for total fat will also be published in the  BMJ on friday 7th December.  Background on sugars will be published in January. 



Botswana thanked WHO and FAO, recalling that this had importance for a number of projects in Africa and asking if the FAO video on Cambodia, entitled  healthy food and healthy child could be shown


“Improve the food security of farming families affected by volatile food prices” Healthy Food, Healthy Child, FAO EU Food Facility Project in Cambodia to improve dietary diversity and family feeding practices. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rUX6F7ieVY 



Speaking as IACFO I referred to WHO's mention of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN)  initiative and  IBFAN concerns about the relationship with businesses via the partnership approach promoted by SUN.  Noting  that  many governments are   doing excellent work on this, since this Codex session is to looking at the issue of malnourished children  and market led approaches to malnourishment, the meeting was asked to look at the IBFAN paper,  particularly since the WHA resolution  this year  warned against conflicts of interest I called for  countries to lensure that they are in the driving seat when it comes to determining these policies. It could  be so easy for these approaches to harm children when the objective of the businesses is to  increase their market in these countries. Until SUN sorts the problem out about partnerships with businesses it poses a problems for both WHO and FAO - who we look to and really respect  for keeping public health foremost.



There are three items on the agenda relating to infant feeding:


Item 3 Draft Revision of the Guidelines on Formulated Supplementary Foods for Older Infants and Young Children (CAC/GL 8-1991) at Step 7

Comments so far on  Guidelines on Formulated Supplementary Foods - Including IBFAN, IACFO and GAIN

The Guidelines were moved to Step 8 on the first day of this session (Monday 3rd)  after slight improvements.  IBFAN has bee calling for them to be included into a new over-arching standard covering all complementary foods for older infants and young children with a new name (dropping the misleading name  'cereal-based'). The high sugar levels could be fixed, and Codex could ensure that ALL the products are of high quality, as safe as possible and covered by the International Code and Resolutions - with no promotional claims.

Durig the debates over two/three  years  the  guidelines have been improved a bit - but as 'guidelines'  for governments they are still inadequate. They do not recommend that nutrition surveys are carried out to establish need and there is no clarity regarding which products are included - for examples they cover porridges which are covered by the cereal based  Standard.  They will be a nightmare for legislators! 

Having lost the argument last year, GAIN once more repeated its call for  health and nutrition claims - but it did not succeed.


GAIN's uses similar arguments to the baby food industry (the comments are HERE) that just because inappropriate products such as cornflakes are promoted aggressively with claims claims must be permitted on baby foods.  

"We acknowledge that this language was not adopted at the 33rd CCNFSDU Session. We would like to make the case for why limited nutrition and health claims are critical to promotion of improved complementary feeding and consumption of high quality complementary foods....Not permitting evidence-based nutrition and health claims where warranted will interfere with the right of the public to be informed about the benefits of high quality fortified products specifically designed to meet the nutritional needs of children 6-23 months and to empower them to make choices to provide adequate nutrition for their infants and young children....Thus, consumers will not be able to distinguish between appropriate high quality fortified complementary foods specifically formulated to fulfill the needs of infants and young children aged 6-23 months, and non-age specific products making nutrient content claims (such as regular breakfast cereals, milk drinks, or even snack foods). The latter may thus appear to offer more health benefits than higher-quality, specially formulated products that are not permitted to communicate this important content information. This could have negative consequences when mothers/caregivers make choices regarding the products they use to complement the traditional foods fed to infants and young children. While potato crisps and chips (which have been reported to be given to young children) can be advertised because they are not aimed (though consumed) by those under 3 years of age 4, fortified products offering good nutrition cannot under these guidelines in their present form as per WHA Resolution 63.23."



We called for the Guidelines to include a ban on products sharing the same branding as breastmilk substitutes.  

Ghana partially supported our call but proposed much weaker wording which does not really address our main concern which is clearly illustrated in the case of Nestle Bear Branding of Coffee Creamer in LAOS HERE .

Ghana proposed this text:  "The products covered by these guidelines are not breastmilk substitutes and should not be presented as such"

Brazil supported us - saying that this product must not discourage breastfeeding.

The Chair, Pia Noble  said we can't go beyond what was said in Codex Cereal based standard and that what Brazil suggested would go beyond that. US supports Ghana.  


ISDI - the baby food industry - made an appalling suggestion right at the end of the debate  (click HERE )  calling for a STATEMENT THAT “The label should also include a statement that formulated complementary foods are to be given when nutritional requirements are not covered by locally available foods in order to prevent a deterioration of nutritional status”

Thankfully ISDI's point was not supported by Ghana and  Botswana pointed out that it gave  a very misleading message, implying  that local foods are not nutritious.  So the ISDI suggestion was not taken up.


Agenda Item 4 - we intevened to ensure that reference levels for vitamins and minerals are set by TRULY independent bodies - not industry funded bodies such as ILSI

Agenda item 6 - General Principles for the addition of essential nutrients to foods

we intervened in an effort to protect the essential composition of breastmilk substitutes. This was supported by the US. 


Item 7Proposed Draft Amendment of the Standard for Processed Cereal-Based Foods for Infants and Young Children (CODEX STAN 74-1981) to Include a New Part B for Underweight Children at Step 4.  


Item 8 Proposal to Review the Codex Standard for Follow-up Formula (CODEX STAN 156-1987) 

The discussion will crentre on whether to revise the 1987  follow-on formula Standard.    The companies and the  exporting countries will want to promote the many new types of formulas for older babies and they will have  industry funded research as scientific back up. 

Some rather good Comments by  CANADA are HERE

IBFAN's comments from last year are HERE

CLICK HERE for a new paper: Compositional Requirements of Follow-up Formula for Use in Infancy: Recommendations of an International Expert Group Coordinated by the Early nutrition Academy

Infant formula manufacturers opposing proposed Hong Kong promotion ban

Six of the world’s leading infant formula manufacturers are opposing a Hong Kong government proposal to ban the promotion of baby food products for children under the age of three.






CAC report.pdf535.72 KB
Comments Supplemenary.pdf313.95 KB
nf34_01e-7.pdf92.26 KB
Canada FUMs Supplements.pdf110 KB
Briefing on Codex COIC.pdf121.07 KB
IBFAN V4 comments FUF.pdf371.95 KB
Berts paper FUFs.pdf221.14 KB
ISDInf34_CRD18x-1.pdf223.03 KB