The Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs (CCSCH) has finalised and recommended quality standards for five spices -- allspice, juniper berries, star anise, turmeric, and cardamom -- during its seventh session held in Kochi.

The committee after lengthy deliberations, approved to forward the draft standards to the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) for adoption as full -fledged Codex standards. The draft standard for vanilla was progressed to step 5 and would be subjected to one more round of scrutiny.

Proposals for development of Codex standards for Dried Coriander Seeds, Large Cardamom, Sweet Marjoram and Cinnamon were put before the committee and were accepted. The committee will work on draft standards for these four spices in its forthcoming sessions.

Codex standards are globally important because they are prepared by intergovernmental committees, are referred to resolve international trade disputes and also form the basis of aligning national standards by Codex member countries.

Standards in Codex are finalized through an 8-step process, with reviews at several stages, using working groups chaired by member countries. The draft standards prepared by working groups are finalized through deliberations and by discussions and consensus in the plenary sessions of the committee.

The seventh plenary session of the CCSCH was the first physical meeting after a gap of five years. As many as 109 delegates from 31 countries attended the five-day long meeting. The session also witnessed participation of a large number of Latin American countries for the first time.

The Committee is chaired by India and Spices Board functions as its Secretariat. M.R. Sudharshan is the current Chairman of the Committee, which is mandated to elaborate worldwide, science-based quality standards for spices and culinary herbs, in accordance with the Codex principles of consumer protection and fair-trade practices.

In its past six sessions, the committee developed and finalized Codex standards for 11 spices and culinary herbs. The next meeting of the Committee will be conducted in a period of 18 months.