Understanding Codex

Understanding Codex New 4th edition 2016

The Codex Alimentarius, or the food code, has become the global reference point for consumers, food producers and processors, national food control agencies and the international food trade. The code has had an enormous impact on the thinking of food producers and processors as well as on the awareness of the end users – the consumers. Its influence extends to every continent, and its contribution to the protection of public health and fair practices in the food trade is immeasurable.

The significance of the food code for consumer health protection was underscored in 1985 by the United Nations Resolution 39/248, whereby guidelines were adopted for use in the elaboration and reinforcement of consumer protection policies. The guidelines advise that “When formulating national policies and plans with regard to food, Governments should take into account the need of all consumers for food security and should support and, as far as possible, adopt standards from the Codex Alimentarius or, in their absence, other generally accepted international food standards”.

The booklet "Understanding Codex" was first published in 1999 to foster a wider understanding of the evolving food code and of the activities carried out by the Codex Alimentarius Commission – the body responsible for compiling the standards, codes of practice, guidelines and recommendations that constitute the Codex Alimentarius.

Since the first publication there have been many changes to the way in which Codex works. This new 4th edition, currently available only in English (July 2016) has been revised with current data and is now presented with a new format to help all those wishing to learn about international standards for food safety to begin to "Understand Codex".

The 3rd edition of Understanding Codex is still available in French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese and Russian. Translations of the 4th edition are expected by the end of 2016.

Updated on: 18-08-2016
Codex Secretary Tom Heilandt adresses the 85th OIE General Session
24 May 2017 - 
May 23rd 2017 Paris. World Organisation for Animal Health Speech: Tom Heilandt The actual speech as it  [...]
Regional Meeting for Near East begins in Rome
15 May 2017 - 
The regional meetings provide an incredibly important opportunity for dynamic discussion on major and emerging  [...]
New Chair for CCMAS Dr Marót Hibbey
6 May 2017 - 
On Monday 8th May the Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling holds its 38th  [...]
CCFICS 23rd Session - co-hosted in Mexico
30 Apr 2017 - 
Safe food to consumers should not be compromised regardless of the economic standing of the  [...]
Codex Chairperson Joins Kazakhstan Colleagues at Almaty Marathon
26 Apr 2017 - 
The Chairperson of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, Mrs Awilo Ochieng Pernet joined the General Director  [...]