To mark its 60th year, Sarah Cahill, Steve Wearne and Tom Heilandt reflect on the history of the Codex Alimentarius Commission from its inception to its scope and continuing evolution in serving the interests of consumers and the food and beverage industry alike.
The Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) met for the first time in 1963, when thirty countries and sixteen international organisations built the backbone of the multi-committee structure that would produce the Codex Alimentarius, or “Food Code”. In the post-war period, as agriculture production increased and more cross-border food trade followed, the need for norms to facilitate such trade emerged. Entities such as the International Dairy Federation (IDF), in existence since 1903, were already providing some standards in the dairy sector, and other standard-setting organisations such as the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) were being established. However, gaps existed when it came to food.
In the early 1950s, the World Health Organization (WHO) expressed the view that the increasing use of various chemical substances in the food industry presented a new public-health problem. At the same time the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) was recognising the rapidly growing importance of internationally accepted food standards as a means of protecting consumers and producers in all countries, of effectively reducing trade barriers and avoiding duplication and conflicting standards. This led to the FAO agreeing in 1961 to establish the CAC, subsequently endorsed by WHO in 1962.
Among the initial priorities of the CAC were food additives, food labelling, methods of sampling and analysis and basic food hygiene rules. In addition, it was agreed to draw up standards for the principal foodstuffs in international trade with initial attention focusing on fats and oils, fruit preserves, fruits juices, cocoa beans, cocoa and chocolate, and honey and sugar. One may imagine that the priorities of 60 years ago would be different from today, but while work on individual food products has significantly reduced, those initial four priority areas – food additives, food labelling, food hygiene and methods of analysis and sampling – remain among the most active areas of Codex work today and key developments in a few of these areas are outlined below.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
The cookie is set by GDPR cookie consent to record the user consent for the cookies in the category "Advertising & Targeting".
This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent WordPress Plugin. The cookie is used to remember the user consent for the cookies under the category "Analytics".
This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Necessary".
This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent WordPress Plugin. The cookie is used to remember the user consent for the cookies under the category "Performance".
This cookie is native to PHP applications. The cookie is used to store and identify a users' unique session ID for the purpose of managing user session on the website. The cookie is a session cookies and is deleted when all the browser windows are closed.
This session cookie is served by our membership/subscription system and controls whether you are able to see content which is only available to logged in users.
Performance cookies are includes cookies that deliver enhanced functionalities of the website, such as caching. These cookies do not store any personal information.
This cookie is set by Cloudflare content delivery network and, in conjunction with the cookie 'cf_use_ob', is used to determine whether it should continue serving “Always Online” until the cookie expires.
This cookie is set by Cloudflare content delivery network and is used to determine whether it should continue serving “Always Online” until the cookie expires.
This session cookie is served by our membership/subscription system and controls which types of content you are able to access.
This cookie is set by Litespeed Server and allows the server to store settings to help improve performance of the site.
This cookie is set by OneSignal push notifications and is used for storing user preferences in connection with their notification permission status.
This cookie is set by Youtube and is used to track the views of embedded videos.
Analytics cookies collect information about your use of the content, and in combination with previously collected information, are used to measure, understand, and report on your usage of this website.
This cookie is set by LinkedIn. The purpose of the cookie is to enable LinkedIn functionalities on the page.
This cookie is set by YouTube and registers a unique ID for tracking users based on their geographical location
This cookie is set by LinkedIn and is used to store the language preferences of a user to serve up content in that stored language the next time user visit the website.
This cookie is set by LinkedIn and used for routing.
This cookie is set by LinkedIn share Buttons and ad tags.
We embed videos from our official Vimeo channel. When you press play, Vimeo will drop third party cookies to enable the video to play and to see how long a viewer has watched the video. This cookie does not track individuals.
This cookie is set by Spotler and tracks an anonymous visitor ID.
This cookie is set by Spotler and enables it to track the Load Balance Session Queue.
This cookie is set by Spotler to track the Internet Information Services (IIS) session state.
This cookie is set by Spotler and stores the UTM values for the session. UTM values are specific text strings that are appended to URLs that allow Communigator to track the URLs and the UTM values when they get clicked on.
This cookie is set by Google Analytics and is used to calculate visitor, session, campaign data and keep track of site usage for the site's analytics report. It stores information anonymously and assign a randomly generated number to identify unique visitors.
This cookies is set by Google Universal Analytics to throttle the request rate to limit the collection of data on high traffic sites.
This cookie is set by Google Analytics and is used to store information of how visitors use a website and helps in creating an analytics report of how the website is doing. The data collected including the number visitors, the source where they have come from, and the pages visited in an anonymous form.
Advertising and targeting cookies help us provide our visitors with relevant ads and marketing campaigns.
This cookie is set by Advanced Ads and measures the browser width.
This cookie is set by Advanced Ads and measures the number of previous page impressions.
This cookie is set by Advanced Ads and sets geo-location, user role and user capabilities. It is used by cache busting in Advanced Ads Pro when the appropriate visitor conditions are used.
This cookie is set by Advanced Ads and sets the referrer URL.
This cookie is a browser ID cookie set by LinkedIn share Buttons and ad tags.
This cookie is set by Google DoubleClick and stores information about how the user uses the website and any other advertisement before visiting the website. This is used to present users with ads that are relevant to them according to the user profile.
This cookie is set by LinkedIn and is used for tracking.
This cookie is set by Linkedin and is used to track visitors on multiple websites, in order to present relevant advertisement based on the visitor's preferences.
This cookie is set by YouTube. Used to track the information of the embedded YouTube videos on a website.