July 7, 2009

New Standards Set For Cancer-Causing Chemicals In Foods

According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), a joint food safety commission has set rules to cut the level of cancer-causing chemicals in food.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission, a cooperative body of the FAO and the World Health Organization (WHO), adopted 30 new standards and guidelines to protect consumers' health last week.

The group passed measures to reduce acrylamide, a cancer-causing chemical, in carbohydrate-rich foods such as French fries, potato chips, coffee, and bread.

"Applying Codex standards and guidelines are an important part of ensuring that consumers in every part of the world can be protected from unsafe food," said Ezzeddine Boutrif, director of FAO's Nutrition and Consumer Protection Division.

According to a statement issued by the Commission, the group also adopted standards for salmonella and other bacteria in powdered formula for children six months or older.

The Commission also created a set of microbiological testing parameters that they believe will help producers prevent contamination of foods with listeria monocytogenes.

The group is also working to establish maximum levels for melamine in food and feed after 6,200 children in China became sick from drinking formula containing high levels of the industrial chemical.

The Commission hopes to "help governments differentiate between unavoidable melamine occurrence and the deliberate adulteration of food and feed."

Rules set by the Commission, which includes 181 member states as well as the European Union, are the standard by which the World Trade Organization reviews nations' observance of international trade agreements on sanitation and food safety.


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