The Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) adopted three Codex standards for black, white and green pepper, cumin and thyme, paving the way for universal agreement on identifying quality spices in various countries.
The decision was taken during the Codex Alimentarius Commission’s 40th session in Geneva during 17 to 22 July 2017.
The news was announced by the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry on 26 July 2017.
The step is seen as a major recognition of India’s efforts to benchmark global spices trade.
• The member-countries of CAC unanimously approved the adoption of Codex standards for the three spices, which would facilitate evolving a common standardization process for their global trade and availability.
• The Codex standards were adopted in the wake of India conducting three sessions of Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs at Kochi in 2014, Goa in 2015 and Chennai in 2017. It was only during the Chennai session that the consensus was achieved.
• Subsequently, these drafts were placed before the CAC, and it was adopted by consensus with an overwhelming support from the member-countries.
• With the adoption of the Codex standards on pepper, cumin and thyme, spices have been included for the first time as commodities that will have such universal standards.
• The adoption of the Codex standards would imply that there are now reference points and benchmarks for the member-countries to align their national standards for spices with Codex.
It was in the year 2013 that the need for Codex standards for spices and herbs became a matter of concern, owing to the increased level of issues in spice trade. At that time, there was no Codex committee exclusively for spices and culinary herbs.
Therefore, the first step in development of Codex standards was the establishment of a dedicated Codex committee for spices and herbs.
With the approval of the Union Government, Spices Board India submitted to CAC a proposal for such an exclusive committee for spices and culinary herbs. After completing the background work, it sent delegates to a series of Codex committee meetings all over the world, making a forceful plea for the need for a committee on spices and herbs.
The 36th session of CAC, which met in Rome from 1-5 July 1-5 deliberated on this proposal from India, and later approved it with unanimous support of the member-countries. It heralded the creation of Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs, with India as the host country and Spices Board as the Secretariat. This was the first new Codex commodity committee to be approved in the past 25 years.
When: July 2017
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