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Nutrition and Labelling

With advancements in technology, it is possible today to produce food that caters to innumerable preferences and expectations. Confronted by so many options, consumers nowadays are often faced with the challenge of understanding exactly what they are buying and consuming. Food information, such as nutrients and ingredients, are more important than ever before in helping consumers make informed choices when buying food.

The role of Codex in Nutrition and Labelling

Codex provides guidance on the compositional requirements of foods so that they are nutritionally safe. Codex also provides guidance on general labelling of foods and the health or nutrient claims producers make on labels, with terms such as "low fat", "high fat" etc. Codex guidance ensures that consumers understand what they are buying and that "it is what it says it is". 

The Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary uses (CCNFSDU) addresses a wide range of technical and regulatory issues for foods that can contribute to the prevention of nutritional deficiencies and diet-related non-communicable diseases. The Codex Committee on Food Labelling  (CCFL) sets standards and guidelines for nutrition information on food packages enabling consumers to make informed food choices. As fora in which member countries, leading industry associations and consumer organisations actively participate, the Nutrition and Labelling committees are important tools for influencing the food system and gaining global consensus on nutrition topics.

Related Codex Texts

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Key Facts

  • 793 million people suffer from chronic hunger.
  • 161 million children under the age of five are stunted.
  • 3.4 million people die each year due to overweight and obesity.
  • The cost of malnutrition is of about 3.5 trillion USD per year.

Nutrition and Food Systems

Boitshepo Giyose, Senior Nutrition Officer of the FAO Nutrition and Food Systems Division, explains the importance of nutrition and how it should be main streamed across all sectorial policies