A single food or animal feed is often known under several common names. In a like manner, the use of similar names for different commodities is not uncommon. In this classification uniform terminology associated with recognised scientific names has been developed.
Different common names used for the same or a closely related commodity, or cultivars of the same agricultural crop have been cross-referenced as far as possible to a single common name. Similarly a qualification has been used to modify a common name, where the use of a generic name fails to identify the specific commodity adequately.
However, specific cultivars distinguished by their own common names in agricultural practice and in international trade are indicated with these common and scientific species and cultivar names, eg nectarine, a specific peach variety or cultivar is distinguished from all other peach cultivars.
In cases where commonly used regional or national English names are different from the correct English common name, priority is given to the latter and the other names are referred to it eg., “corn” is referred to the correct name, “maize”.
The common names, scientific names and descriptions used in existing Codex standards were taken into account and given priority as far as possible.
The terminology used in this classification closely follows “Plant and Plant Products of Economic Importance Terminology Bulletin (1974)” and the terminology used in various FAO statistics.
Within the broad classes of Foods of Plant Origin and Foods of Animal Origin, usage distinguishes groups of similar commodities such as Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts, Mammalian Products, Aquatic Animal Products etc. The present classification uses 19 types of commodities:
Class A Primary Food Commodities of Plant Origin 5 types
B Primary Food Commodities of Animal Origin 5 types
C Primary Feed Commodities 1 type
D Processed Food of Plant Origin 4 types
E Processed Food of Animal Origin 4 types
The “Type” definitions developed for this classification are based on physical characteristics and traditional use and to a lesser extent on botanical or zoological associations. A Food “Type” is in general much too broad to be covered by a single (general) maximum residue limit.
With the “Types”, groups have been developed whose members show similarities in their behaviour with respect to residues and in the nature of the agricultural practices to which they are subjected and, to a certain extent, in their botanical or zoological associations.
The terminology and definitions in the classification recognise and respect, as far as possible, regional differences which occur in the use of certain food commodities. Sometimes, these are inconsistent with regard the “Types” to which the commodity(ies) belong.
There are no universally recognised guides to distinguish between different uses of the same commodity, eg, a herb may be used sparingly for flavouring of other food commodities in one geographical region but in substantial amounts as a pot vegetable in another region. If, however, a commodity exists in forms which differ in appearance, or if different cultivars are involved, the commodity (crop or animal species) is separately included in two or more groups, eg turnip, listed as a root crop (Group 016) and turnip leaves, listed with leafy vegetables (Group 013).
As far as practicable, the commodity “Group” or “Sub-Group” names currently used by the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues for the establishment of Codex maximum residue limits for pesticides have been used. However, in some cases the definition of the commodities covered by existing “Group” maximum residue limits for groups of commodities are occasionally not applicable to the groups used in this classification.
For each group in the classification, reference is made to the potential for acquiring residues, the portions of the crops or animals which are normally consumed and the portions of the commodities to which the MRLs apply (and which are analysed).
The commodities, listed in alphabetical order of the English common names with a group (and also the groups and subgroups to which maximum residue limits apply) are marked with successive numbers of four digits, preceded by two letters indicating the group in which the specific commodities are classified.
Every commodity derived from a single crop or animal species (or specific variety) carries, with a few exceptions, the same number, but this is preceded by different letter codes; e.g.,
Sugar beet VR 0596
Sugar beet leaves or tops (animal feed) AM 0596
Sugar beet molasses DM 0596
Sugar beet pulp (dry) AB 0596
In this case the number 0596 is given to Beta vulgaris, L., var. saccharifera (sugar beet). The fodder beet, Beta vulgaris, var. rapa, has its own code number AM 1051.
Cashew apple FT 0295
Cashew nut TN 0295
Owing to the number of related commodities in some of the groups, extra code numbers sometimes had to be used which were not related to the primary food commodity from which these commodities are derived. Reference to the additional code numbers (between 1200 and 1299) is given with the primary food commodity at its first appearance in the classification. For further details see page xxxxii and xxxxiii.
In every group a sufficient number of code numbers is reserved to allow the addition of new commodities, with code numbers with the range allotted to the group.
The numbers 0001 - 0200 were reserved for “Group” and “Subgroup” code numbers. The first single primary food commodity in the classification has the Code number 0201 (FC 0201 Calamondin, a species belonging to the Citrus family). In principle the four-digit code number system can accommodate 9799 individual commodities, taking into account the 200 numbers reserved for Group and Sub-Group maximum residue limits.