Stakeholder news from Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling


The Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling (CCMAS) specifies reference methods or develops criteria for suitable methods of analysis and sampling for Codex Standards. It also considers and endorses methods of analysis and sampling proposed by Codex Committees, except those related to pesticide residues and veterinary drugs in food, the assessment of microbiological quality and safety in food and food additives and contaminants which are under the mandate of other Codex Committees.  

The CCMAS also considers issues submitted to it by the Codex Alimentarius Commission and defines procedures, protocols and guidelines for quality assurance systems and assessment of proficiency for food laboratories. The international public have access to these free Standards, enabling laboratories to provide results that are considered comparable worldwide.

With the ever-increasing list of food products imported and exported, the results of tests produced in regard to these products around the world, is critical. Codex Committees like CCMAS continue to ensure the safety and quality of the International Food trade.

As a large exporter of food, Australia’s participation is crucial. The 35th session of CCMAS was held on 3-7 March 2014 in Budapest, Hungary, and the Australian delegation provided valuable input and deliberation in regard to analytical testing and sampling required for our export practices.

The Codex Committee on Fish and Fish Products (CCFFP) provided CCMAS with Performance criteria for methods for the determination of marine biotoxins in the Standard for live and Raw Bivalve molluscs.  The criteria for AOAC 2005.06 was endorsed for determination of Toxin analogues by chemical methods; however it should be noted it covers only major toxic components.  

CCMAS endorsed the Biological and Functional methods to determine Paralytic Shellfish Toxicity; AOAC 959.08 (mouse bioassay) as well as AOAC 2011.27 (receptor binding assay). Concern was raised that some countries are unable to obtain saxitoxin reference materials as the trade in saxitoxin is restricted by the Chemical Weapons Convention.

CCMAS reviewed and provided technical input to the proposed performance criteria from the Codex Committee on Contaminants in Foods (CCCF) for the draft maximum levels of DON (Deoxynivalenol) in cereals and cereal-based products. Proposed sampling plans were also provided by CCCF, but further advice was requested by CCMAS regarding:

  • The rationale for the aggregate sample weight (proposed at 1-5kg);
  • Whether 3 increment samples is sufficient for samples >50kg; and
  • Whether or not the particle size should be specified for the test portion.

The Explanatory Notes to supplement the Principles for the use of sampling and testing in International Food trade (CAC/GL 83-2013) were prepared during the 35th session and provide explanation and practical examples of the Principles which focus on the use of sampling and testing procedures for determining whether foods in international trade are in compliance with particular specifications.  

With publications such as APLAC TC007 referring food testing laboratories to monitor the Codex site as an acceptable reference for sources of test methods (where they are not specified by Regulators), there is ongoing work for the Australian delegation, including:

  • Review and update of methods currently contained in CODEX STAN 234-1999;
  • Continued consideration of methods of analysis and sampling plans which have been proposed by Codex Commodity Committees and/or Standards Development Organisations; and
  • Further elaboration of Explanatory Notes and practical examples to supplement the Principles for the Use of Sampling and Testing in International Food Trade.

Stakeholders are encouraged to submit their Method and Sampling concerns to the Australian delegation for discussion at future Sessions. The 36th Session of CCMAS is to be held in early March 2015, with the Australian Panel meeting held prior to this. Stakeholders are encouraged to attend this meeting, or to provide their method and sampling issues for inclusion at the meeting.

For more information about how to become an ‘Australian Registered stakeholder’, you are invited to contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.