The Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs (CCSCH) has finalized and recommended quality standards for nutmeg, saffron, chilli-peppers, and paprika during its sixth session.

The committee forwarded these three new proposed standards to the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) for adoption at final step 8 as full-fledged Codex standards. 

Codex standards are globally important because they are prepared by inter-governmental committees and are referred to resolve international trade disputes. It also forms the basis of aligning national standards by Codex member countries.

CCSCH is the youngest of the Codex Commodity Committees. The Committee is chaired by India and Spices Board India functions as its Secretariat. It 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.

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Past performances

In its past five sessions, the committee developed and finalized Codex standards for dried or dehydrated forms of black/white/green pepper, cumin, thyme, garlic, basil, clove, ginger, and oregano.

Normally, the Committee meetings are held once in 18 months. The last meeting session of CCSCH was conducted in a virtual mode, which is a first, in 2021, owing to Covid-19 with more than 250 international delegates, Codex Secretariat in Rome, CCSCH Secretariat in India, and interpreters for four languages.

D Sathiyan, Secretary, Spices Board said the latest session has seen great success by finalizing standards for 3 more spices. The present session witnessed the highest global participation ever, which points to the great interest that countries across the globe have in spices and culinary herbs. The committee is focusing on developing group standards for spices and herbs, which is likely to speed up the process of standards development greatly.  

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CCSCH6 unanimously agreed to forward the three draft standards to Codex Alimentarius Commission for final adoption as Codex standards. This includes dried/ dehydrated forms of nutmeg, saffron, and chilli-pepper and paprika. 

The committee will also continue working on the draft standards of small cardamom and turmeric and will also attempt to take the strategy of grouping spice standards further in the coming 18 months leading to CCSCH7.

Earlier, Rajesh Bhushan, Chairperson, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) virtually inaugurated the 6 th edition of CCSCH.