Qatar: Panel to discuss new GCC food proposals

By Ali Babiker
Staff Reporter

The 13th meeting of the GCC Technical Committee for  Foods and Agricultural  Products, which was opened yesterday in Doha, will discuss several important issues governing the import and sale of food products in Qatar, a spokesman for the Ministry of Environment said.
The two-day meeting will be informed of the proposals submitted to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for approval as technical regulations. It will also review what has been achieved in  2010 and discuss new proposals from the member states.
Among the proposals are extending the expiry period of some food products, according to the decision of the Joint Standing Committee for Monitoring Human Food in Qatar, preparing proposals for important foods in the GCC market, adding a new article that allows for adoption of some products and changing and adding to the GCC Technical Regulations.
The Branch Committees of the main Food Committee will present their regular reports. Those committees are: the Technical Branch Committee of Organic, Functional and Genetically Modified Foods, the Technical Branch Committee for Additives and Food Pollutants and the Technical Committee for Food Labels.
Some of the proposals approved to be submitted to the WTO are the package labels of tobacco, tea, herbals and canned children’s foods, the general requirements of risk assessment and tracking of the genetically modified foods.

The meeting is to discuss proposals from some member states on creation of a specialised committee to follow up all the new international developments with regard to halal food products.

It will also discuss the possibility of extending expiry dates of  soya milk, frozen fruits and fruit mash and instant coffee as has been decided by the Joint Standing Committee for Monitoring Human Foods in Qatar.
Mixtures of dry coffee and products, caramel sauce and syrups, sports drinks, low sodium- synthetically flavoured and oxygen saturated bottled drinking water, will also be discussed at the meeting.
The meeting will also take up proposals of the Food Committee for 2011.
Nawaf bin Ibrahim al- Manie , Director of the Qatari Standardisation Department, said  that the GCC Technical Committee for Foods and Agriculture Products had approved more than 1,000 food standard specifications and technical regulations since its establishment.
He added: “This meeting will discuss the 2011 plan which includes 57 proposed specifications in addition to the use of plastic  for packaging of hot foods and the possibility of using plastic to pack honey products and the allowed additives to cigarettes”.