The two “big” issues at this meeting were expected to be: (1) the final push for adoption of a standard for Follow-up Formula for infants and older children; and (2) the establishment of nutrient reference values (NRVs) for persons aged 6-36 months. Indeed, the Chairwoman had wisely set aside plenty of time for the delegates to discuss both issues. Yet, as it turned out, they were resolved in record time. Although at the end of the meeting the Chairwoman was gracious enough to give the credit to the delegates, it was obvious to me (and many others) that the credit belonged to her.
NRVs for Persons Aged 6-36 Months
Curiously, the general meeting did not begin on Monday, March 6th. Rather, that day began bright and early with a Physical Working Group (PWG) meeting ably chaired by Irish delegate Dr. Mary Flynn to discuss the general principles for setting the NRVs for Vitamins A, D, C, K, and E, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, Vitamins B6 and B12, folate, pantothenic acid, biotin, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, iodine, copper, selenium, manganese, phosphorus, and potassium for these older infants and young children. And, even then, since this was really only the first tentative step in the process, the PWG was given the narrow task of just addressing the first several nutrients and making suggestions to the regular Committee when it began meeting the following day. (Although a PWG’s recommendations to the full Committee do not have to be followed, they generally are.)
The PWG attendees debated definitions and orders of priority for the handful of (Codex) Recognized Authoritative Scientific Bodies (RASBs) to dictate the NRVs, with many wanting the World Health Organization (WHO) to trump any and all other RASBs for any NRVs to be set by Codex.