Codex Alimentarius

The Codex Alimentarius is an international code of food standards developed by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), under the United Nations, as a joint program of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The food safety standards, guidelines, and recommendations established by Codex are the official food safety references used by the World Trade Organization (WTO) in international trade disputes.

The Codex Alimentarius includes the following standards, guidelines, and recommendations:

  • Food additive uses 
  • Labeling requirements 
  • Definition and composition of products 
  • Maximum levels of contaminants, pesticides, and veterinary drug residues 
  • Microbiological guidelines 
  • Agricultural and food production codes of practice

How Does Codex Operate? 

Codex works through general subject committees, commodity committees, and ad hoc intergovernmental task forces. Ad hoc intergovernmental task forces exist for a specified time period to deal with a particular issue. General subject committees, such as food additives, food hygiene, and labeling, affect all food products. Commodity committees develop compositional and quality standards for specific commodities, such as fats and oils, fresh fruits and vegetables, and fish and fishery products. 

How Does Codex Affect You? 

  • Provides a basis for international trade 
  • Provides a basis for settlement of trade disputes 
  • Develops global standards for foods that may affect your business 
  • Develops standards that may limit your products’ acceptance abroad 
  • Becomes the law for food standards in many countries 
  • Influences national approach to regulations

Exponent's CODEX Experience and Services 

Our multidisciplinary team of scientists is extensively involved in the work of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. The team is strengthened by members who have a vast amount of international experience in policy and scientific positions with foreign and domestic government agencies, international organizations, and multinational companies. The Codex Alimentarius team provides in-depth expertise in individual technical areas, as well as a broader cross-discipline/cross-committee perspective. Team members have been members of JECFA (Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives) and the WHO and FAO panels of JMPR (Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues). We regularly take part in expert consultations held by both the FAO and WHO. Our broad coverage of these international activities provides clients with timely information and opportunity for effective impact in a cost-efficient manner. 

We routinely participate in: 

  • The full spectrum of Codex General Committees 
  • Selected regional coordinating committees 
  • Special consultations to Codex 
  • JMPR 

Our services include:

  • Issue monitoring and tracking through participation in Codex Committee meetings 
  • Issue review and impact analysis 
  • Technical support and strategic guidance and leadership in proactive efforts 
  • Position papers for formal submission to Codex Committees 
  • Preparation of prescribed Working Documents and risk assessments required by JMPR and JECFA 
  • Individualized workshops and training on Codex Alimentarius and other international regulatory issues.