The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) today announced it is sponsoring a public meeting to provide information and receive public comments on agenda items, and draft U.S. positions to be discussed at the first session of the Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs (CCSCH) of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex). The Codex session will be held in Kochi (Cochin), India from Feb. 11 to 14, 2014.

The public meeting will be held Jan. 23, 2014, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at USDA Headquarters – Jamie L. Whitten Building, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Ave, Room 107-A, Washington, D.C., 20250. Documents and agenda items related to the CCSCH session will be accessible at the Codex website. To join the public meeting by conference call, dial 1 (888) 844-9904 and use participant code: 5126092.

During the meeting, the committee will discuss:

  • Activities of International Organizations relevant to the work of CCSCH
  • Work management modalities of the CCSCH
  • Mechanisms for prioritization of the work
  • Proposals for New York (replies to CL 2013/22-SCH)
  • Matters referred by the Codex Alimentarius Commission and other Codex Committees and Task Forces

CCSCH is hosted by India, and is responsible for promoting worldwide standards for spices and culinary herbs in their dried and dehydrated state in whole, ground, cracked or crushed form. The committee consults as necessary with other international organizations in the standards development process to avoid duplication.

Codex was established in 1963 by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the World Health Organization (WHO). Codex seeks to protect the health of consumers and ensure fair practices in the food trade through adoption of food standards, codes of practice and other guidelines developed by its committees, and by promoting their adoption and implementation by governments.

For more information about the public meeting, or to submit written comments, contact: Kenneth Lowery, U.S. Codex Office, Room 4861, 1400 Independence Avenue, Washington, DC 20250; telephone: (202) 690-4042; fax: (202) 720–3157; or via e-mail at:

Editor's Note: For useful background information on public and industry concerns about the potential presence of pathogens in spices and the U.S. FDA's response to those concerns, see the following articles: