The Codex Alimentarius, or food code, has become the global reference point for consumers, food producers and processors, national food control agencies and the international food trade.
The Codex Alimenarius system offers a unique opportunity for all countries to join the international community in formulating and harmonizing food standards and ensuring their global implementation. It also allows them a role in the development of codes governing hygienic processing practices and recommendations relating to compliance with those standards.
In addition to food, since the 1990s Codex has also been active in the area of animal feed.
The Codex Alimentarius is a collection of standards, codes of practice, guidelines and other recommendations. Some of these texts are very general, and some are very specific. Some deal with detailed requirements related to a food or group of foods. Others deal with the operation and management of production processes or the operation of government regulatory systems for food safety and consumer protection.
The Codex Alimentarius Commission is the body responsible for completing standards, codes of practice, guidelines and recommendations that constitute the Codex Alimenatarius. The Commission was established in 1961 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization. From their beginnings, FAO and WHO have promoted the improvement of quality and safety standards applied to food. The highest priority of the Codex.
Codex food standards are given high importance by member countries. The standards are considered a vital component in promoting food control systems designed to protect consumer health, including issues related to international trade and the Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures and Technical Barriers to Trade Agreements of the WTO.
The first Statement of Principle Concerning the Role of Science in the Codex Decision-Making Process and the Extent to Which Other Factors are Taken into Account says: “The food standards, guidelines and other recommendations of the Codex Alimentarius shall be based on the principle of scientific analysis”.
For more information on Codex Alimentarius, go to: www.codexalimentarius.net