Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Many of the food ingredients being used in the past and at present are viewed with suspicion by the consumers and the food industry seems to be getting more and more sensitive to these concerns. There are many food additives coming under the category of GRAS ( Generally Recognized As Safe) which was supposed to assure that they are safe but unfortunately no review system is in place to continuously assess their safety, in spite of newer and more sensitive methodologies emerging and  more scientific data available. Food Chemical Codex (FCC) provides updated information on all aspects of chemicals used by food and pharmaceutical industries and serves as a common denominator for comparison and assessment of foods through out the world. The 8th edition which was recently brought out is a veritable source of information useful to the industry.   

"The latest specifications for the identity, quality and purity of more than 1,100 food ingredients, test methods to verify specifications, key guidance on critical issues such as impurities testing for metals, and full content from an upcoming Food Fraud Database are all included in the new Food Chemicals Codex (FCC), Eighth Edition. Published by the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), FCC is a compendium of internationally recognized standards for the authenticity of a wide variety of ingredients including colorings, flavorings, nutrients, preservatives and processing aids. Via FCC, USP provides a unique combination of specifications for the authenticity and quality of each ingredient and test methods to verify these specifications, as well as reference materials suitable to confirm that the test methods are executed appropriately and measurement results therefore can be trusted. "The food industry is constantly innovating with new products and ingredients designed to meet consumer desires for healthful, flavorful and convenient foods," said Praveen Tyle, Ph.D., USP executive vice president and chief science officer. "At the same time, manufacturers are increasingly sourcing their ingredients globally. Public standards provided by FCC can serve as a key resource for manufacturers in managing their supply chains by providing specifications to authenticate their ingredients, and can also help differentiate suppliers. These standards may be particularly important for more complex, natural ingredients and for high-value ingredients, where price competition is fierce. Quality standards for ingredients can help ensure all parties have the same expectations regarding required quality, which can be written into contractual agreements, and can help protect against substandard ingredients—one of the safety nets for the global food supply chain," Dr. Tyle continued.
It is a reality that no country in the world can live in isolation and interdependence in many areas is unavoidable. Global sourcing of food materials and ingredients has become common and such a procurement system requires standards and assessment methods acceptable o the suppliers as well as the buyers. FCC standards provide such a reference source serving world trade admirably well.
With agencies like ISO, WHO/FAO Codex Alimentarius Commission and others also in this field there is an urgent need to harmonize all the standards under one proof. Duplication of efforts by different organizations in the same area is best avoided.


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