Global body adopts universal standards for three spices

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New Delhi, July 26 (IANS) International food standards-setting body Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) has adopted universal standards for three spices — black, white and green pepper, cumin and thyme, the Indian government announced on Wednesday.

The CAC adopted three Codex standards for these spices at a meeting in Geneva last week, a Commerce Ministry statement said here.

“In a major recognition of India’s efforts to benchmark global spices trade, the CAC has adopted three Codex standards for black, white and green pepper, cumin and thyme,” it said.

This “would facilitate evolving a common standardisation process for their (spices) 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 (CCSCH) at Kochi (2014), Goa (2015) and Chennai (2017). The Chennai session succeeded in achieving this consensus,” it said.

“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,” it added.

Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the adoption of these standards will imply that there will be now reference points and benchmarks for the 188 CAC member-countries for trade of these spices.

“The move will bring harmony to the global spice trade and ensure availability of high quality, clean and safe spices to the world,” she said.

According to the government, although only 109 spices are notified in the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) list, their actual number, as used in various countries, would be much higher.

In 2013, the need for Codex standards for spices and herbs became a matter of concern owing to the increased level of issues in spice trade.

The statement said the Spices Board India submitted a proposal to CAC for an exclusive committee for spices and culinary herbs.

Historically, developed countries, being the major importers of spices, have always insisted on unreasonably strict standards, which have had adverse effects on spice trade, the Indian government said.

This is an issue that Codex, jointly formed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), seeks to address, it added.

–IANS

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