FAO-WHO 46th session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission adopts new standards

Brief descriptions of some of the standards adopted at the 46th session of the Commission will be published on this page

©FAO/Riccardo De Luca


Rome - The United Nations food standards body, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, is meeting on 27 November to 2 December 2023 to adopt food safety and quality standards.

Charged with protecting consumer health and ensuring fair practices in the food trade, the Codex Alimentarius Commission is a joint initiative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Brief descriptions of some of the standards adopted at the 46th session of the Commission will be published below as they are approved.

For more information on the session, visit the CAC46 information page.


Guidelines for the Control of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli (STEC) in Raw Beef, Fresh Leafy Vegetables, Raw Milk and Raw Milk Cheeses, and Sprouts

ADOPTED- 27.11.2023

Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) are foodborne pathogens which cause human illnesses. They are associated with a variety of food commodities, with beef, dairy products and leafy vegetables and sprouts high on the list. These Guidelines will help risk managers and food business operators in their efforts to reduce foodborne disease by providing science-based advice and a practical guidance on the control of STEC in raw beef, raw milk and raw milk cheeses. Further work on the control of STEC in fresh leafy vegetables and sprouts is under development.


Guidelines for the Safe Use and Reuse of Water in Food Production and Processing

ADOPTED- 27.11.2023

Water is a dwindling resource worldwide and not all food producers and processors have access to safe water sources. But water is needed in all areas of food production, from the field or farm right up to consumption. When it is contaminated, water can carry microbes that cause illness to consumers. These guidelines give advice on the types of water that are suitable for different areas of food production and processing. They advise on a risk-based approach to safe water sourcing so food producers, processors and handlers can reduce and manage hazards associated with water in food production.


Revisions to the Standard for Follow-up Formula (CXS 156-1987)

ADOPTED- 28.11.2023

As part of the revisions to this text, the title has been changed from “Standard for Follow-up Formula” to “Standard for Follow-up Formula for Older Infants and Product for Young Children”. This reflects the two distinct sections into which the Standard is now divided. Meticulous discussions have resulted in a text that ensures, in the first part, that follow-up formula, when used, will support the growth and development of older infants aged between 6 and 12 months. The second part of the text outlines the requirements for drinks or products for young children more than 12 months up to 3 years in age.


General Standard for Food Additives: Inclusion of the provision for trisodium citrate in fluid milk (plain)

ADOPTED- 28.11.2023

Trisodium citrate is a stabilizer used in the processing of milk and, in particular, Ultra Heat Treated (UHT) bovine milk in some countries. It has been the subject of discussion within the Codex Committee for Food Additives for some years, with differing opinions around the technological justification for its use in bovine milk. The adopted provision is restrictive in the use of trisodium citrate and imposes a numerical use level that will limit its application to sterilized and UHT milk from bovine species.


MRLs for Zilpaterol Hydrochloride (cattle kidney, liver, muscle)

ADOPTED- 28.11.2023

Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for zilpaterol hydrochloride in different animal origin products have been adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC). The subject of growth promoters is a contentious one within Codex, and the Commission made its decision by vote. The MRLs were informed by the risk assessment work undertaken by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), which evaluates the safety of food additives, contaminants, naturally occurring toxicants and residues of veterinary drugs in food. Codex texts are voluntary in nature and countries can choose not to adopt the MRLs into legislation.


Code of Practice for the Prevention and Reduction of Mycotoxins Contamination in Cassava and Cassava-based Products

ADOPTED- 28.11.2023

Mycotoxins, in particular, aflatoxins and ochratoxin A are known to arise in cassava and cassava-based products at various stages of growth, post-harvest and storage. Many of these fungal toxins are considered to be carcinogenic to humans. This new Code of Practice provides governments and food businesses, growers, processors and distributors with knowledge about factors that may lead to an occurrence of mycotoxin contamination and ways to detect, reduce or prevent it. The text provides examples of Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) that will help to minimize risk. It also provides a basis for training and education of all those involved in cassava production and trade.


Principles and Guidelines on the Use of Remote Audit and Inspection in Regulatory Frameworks

ADOPTED- 29.11.2023

The new guidelines on the use of remote audit are intended to be applied in conjunction with other Codex texts and provide guidance on ensuring oversight by national competent authorities of National Food Control Systems while also taking advantage of opportunities offered by modern information and communication technologies. The text outlines seven principles that should form the basis of remote audit and inspection in regulatory frameworks, and guidance on planning and implementation. 


Revisions to General Guidelines on Sampling (CXG 50-2004)

ADOPTED- 29.11.2023

The Codex Guidelines on Sampling provide those responsible for the development of sampling plans for product acceptance or food import or export acceptance with guidance on the design of such sampling plans. Development of appropriate sampling plans is an important element of the process of verifying that foods comply with provisions relating to composition, chemical or microbiological contaminants or pesticide residues contained in Codex standards. They are also intended for inspection of food upon receipt by regulatory agencies. Governments will also use them to design sampling plans for trade agreements, including sampling plans used in the resolution of disputes. This revision reflects current scientific and statistical approaches for the development and evaluation of sampling plans.


Revision of Classification of Food and Feed (CXA 4-1989)
ADOPTED- 29.11.2023

The Classification of Food and Feed is intended to ensure the use of uniform nomenclature and classification of foods into groups or subgroups for the purposes of establishing maximum residue limits for pesticides in food and feed individually or by covering groups of commodities with similar characteristics and residue potential. The Classification has been comprehensively revised over the past ten years to allow the reclassification and/or inclusion of commodities in particular those of interest for developing countries such as minor crops, to provide group MRLs to enable the safe international trade of food and feed. The updated standard includes the revision of Class B and E – primary food commodities of animal origin and processed foods of animal origin, respectively. With the completion of these two classes, the revision of the Classification will enable the establishment of MRLs for wider commodity groups that are or have the potential to be marketed in international trade, a milestone achievement. 

In total, 498 new Codex texts were adopted out of which 490 were numerical standards, establishing maximum residue limits for pesticides and veterinary drugs, and maximum levels for contaminants. 26 revision of Codex texts were adopted, which included amongst others more than 800 food additive provisions and numerous methods of analysis and sampling. In addition, 6 new works and 3 priority lists for evaluation were approved.


Giacomo Martella Communications Specialist [email protected]

Ni Jin Communications Officer [email protected]