Food Law News - EU - 2001
FSA Scotland Letter, 7 August 2001
NUTS - 48th Session of the Meeting of Experts on Standardisaton of Dry and Dried Produce (Fruit)
The 48th meeting of the above UN/ECE committee meeting in Geneva discussed the standards for dry and dried nuts. A copy of the final Report from the meeting is now available on the UN/ECE website at http://www.unece.org/trade/agr/agr_ndxe.htm, alternatively on request we can provide a hard copy of the Report. The meeting concentrated primarily on the standards (inshell and kernels) for walnuts, pistachios and almonds. A brief overview of discussions is given below:
After many years of negotiations the walnut kernel standard has now been agreed. A hard fought battle to try to secure general mandatory declaration of crop year took place but the US opposition proved too difficult and faced with WTO implications the meeting agreed to retain the status quo. Marking will therefore remain optional as agreed between buyer and seller except in the case of inshell walnuts where it is mandatory. The concerns of France and the UK about US proposals to introduce separate tolerances for machine and hand cracked walnuts for each class were supported by other EC countries present. After much debate it was agreed that the walnut kernel standard will retain only one set of tolerances for each class, with slight increases in the allowed percentages. The inshell walnut standard was agreed with removal of reservations.
Both pistachio standards were discussed in depth. It was agreed that processed pistachios i.e. salted, sugared or roasted would be outside the scope of both standards. Discussions on kernels concentrated on moisture content and tolerance limits. Turkey, INC and the US will consider the issue of increased tolerances for halved and broken nuts further and report back to the next session. Turkey (rapporteur) also agreed to consider a reduction in tolerances for shrivelled, peeled pistachios. A suggestion for a separate standard for green pistachios did not find favour but the rapporteur agreed to look at how best to accommodate their requirements into the standard. A warning about light sensitivity for green pistachios will also be included.
On inshell pistachios, moisture content was discussed in detail with the US proposing higher limits while others, including UK, favouring a reduction to 6%. Sizing provisions were discussed at length particularly whether it should be count /oz or No./100g and the use of the terms round and long. Turkey agreed to collect information from delegations and would prepare a new version of this section for the next session. On quality tolerances, the issue of mechanically split pistachios was raised with limits of 0% in Extra Class and Class I proposed and 20% in Class II. Both standards will be discussed again at next years session
Time permitted discussion only of the almond kernel standard in any depth. The meeting agreed that blanched pistachios should be included in the scope. Mouldy almonds were not considered a significant problem and it was agreed a separate tolerance was unnecessary. Tolerances for chipped and scratched kernels were increased in line with current trade practices and it was agreed that broken almonds should be excluded from the standard. There was no real substantive discussion of the inshell almond standard but there was agreement that it should be amended to include a provision for an extra class in line with other standards.
Further comments or proposals (with justifications) on both the pistachio and almond standards have been requested by the relevant rapporteur by the end of this year.
To go to main Food Law Index page, click