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The Codex Alimentarius Commission is the international body responsible for the execution of the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme. Created in 1962 by FAO and WHO the Programme is aimed at protecting the health of consumers and facilitating international trade in foods.

The Codex Alimentarius (Latin, meaning Food Law or Code) is a collection of international food standards adopted by the Commission and presented in a uniform manner. It includes standards for all the principal foods, whether processed or semi-processed or raw. Materials for further processing into foods are included to the extent necessary to achieve the purposes of the Codex Alimentarius as defined. The Codex Alimentarius includes provisions in respect of the hygienic and nutritional quality of food, including microbiological norms, provisions for food additives, pesticide residues, contaminants, labelling and presentations, and methods of analysis and sampling. It also includes provisions of an advisory nature in the form of codes of practice, guidelines and other recommended measures.

This is the second publication of the Codex Alimentarius. The first publication was in 1981. Prior to 1981 standards adopted by the Codex Alimentarius were published individually as Recommended Standards (CAC/RS series).

The Second Edition of the Codex Alimentarius is now being revised and updated to take into account decisions made by the 23rd and 24th Sessions of the Codex Alimentarius Commission.

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