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 and Russian (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 Chinese, French and Spanish. Click here.

Updated on: 06-06-2017
New Chair and Vice-Chairs to focus on strengthening participation in Codex
29 Aug 2017 - 
Rome Tuesday 29th August 2017 In a letter to all member countries sent via the six Regional  [...]
CAC40 Chairperson’s Side Event
22 Jul 2017 - 
Ms Awilo Ochieng Pernet, Chairperson of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, opened the last side event  [...]
The science that leads to Codex food safety standards
21 Jul 2017 - 
Two officers illustrated for the Codex Alimentarius Commission, during its 40th session, the way FAO  [...]
Should Codex set standards for alcoholic beverages?
21 Jul 2017 - 
The World Health Organization (WHO) led a side event at the 40th Session of the  [...]
Whole-genome sequencing – the future of food safety detection?
21 Jul 2017 - 
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) together with the World Health Organization (WHO) led a  [...]