About Codex Alimentarius
C O D E X A L I M E N T A R I U S is about safe, good food for everyone - everywhere.
International food trade has existed for thousands of years but until not too long ago food was mainly produced, sold and consumed locally. Over the last century the amount of food traded internationally has grown exponentially, and a quantity and variety of food never before possible travels the globe today.
International Food Standards
The C O D E X A L I M E N T A R I U S international food standards, guidelines and codes of practice contribute to the safety, quality and fairness of this international food trade. Consumers can trust the safety and quality of the food products they buy and importers can trust that the food they ordered will be in accordance with their specifications.
Protecting Consumer Health
Public concerns about food safety issues often place Codex at the centre of global debates. Veterinary drugs, pesticides, food additives and contaminants are some of the issues discussed in Codex meetings. Codex standards are based on sound science provided by independent international risk assessment bodies or ad-hoc consultations organized by FAO and WHO.
While being recommendations for voluntary application by members, Codex standards serve in many cases as a basis for national legislation.
Removing Barriers to Trade
The reference made to Codex food safety standards in the World Trade Organization's Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures (SPS Agreement) means that Codex has far reaching implications for resolving trade disputes. WTO members that wish to apply stricter food safety measures than those set by Codex may be required to justify these measures scientifically.
Since its foundation in 1963, the Codex system has evolved in an open, transparent and inclusive way to meet emerging challenges. International food trade is a 2000 billion dollar a year industry, with billions of tonnes of food produced, marketed and transported.