The national CODEX Committee of Sri Lanka submitted its comments and arguments on the use food additive Sulpher Dioxide (SO2) in Food Category 12.2.1, as contained in document CX/FAC/06/38/9 part 1.
Since November 2004, Sri Lanka has encountered problems with a number of consignments of “ Ceylon Cinnamon “ exported to the European Union on the grounds that the consignments contained Sulphur Dioxide ( SO2).
Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) is a known, accepted & a widely used food additive & is described as ‘ one of themost important & versatile additiveswith a good safety record ‘ used in the food industry.
As is known, there are no international standards that govern the use of SO2 in cinnamon as a food preservative or an anti-oxident or as an anti browning (bleaching) agent in foods.
Sri Lanka also raised the issue of specific trade problem due to the non existence of international standard and guideline at the WTO SPS Committee where it was agreed to bring to the urgent attention of CODEX Committee. In this regard a letter was sent with the approval of the WTO-membership by the Chairman of the WTO SPS Committee to the Chairperson of the Codex Alimentarius.
Cinnamon represents the 3 rd largest export agriculture crop of Sri Lanka. It supports the lively hood of over 70,000 small holder cinnamon growers & provides employment to over 350,000 people. At present, Sri Lanka is the single largest exporter of true cinnamon ( Cinnamomum zeylancum ) in the world accounting for 75% of the world demand for cinnamon.
The cinnamon industry has traditional practices in cinnamon peeling & in fumigation & the use of SO2 has been known to the industry for centuries. SO2 has been used for 2 purposes, viz for its biocidal activity & for bleaching. Considering the conditions existent at the plantations, this fumigation is an ideal method that could be used very effectively to obtain the desired results.
As shown in document ALINORM 05/28/12, appendix IX, the Codex is working on SULPHITES, SO2 & other sulphites ( E 220 –E228 ) in food category number 12.2.2 seasonings and condiments. The document shows that category 12.2.1 herbs and spices is not included in this work program. If not, Sri Lanka would like to request the CCFAC to include cinnamon in the work program and use a fast track approach.
We would like to work closely with the other CCFAC members to find a solution to our problem and get a CODEX standard for sulphur dioxide in