The Codex Alimentarius Commission is an intergovernmental body of the United Nations, established by FAO and WHO in 1963. It develops harmonised international food standards, guidelines and codes of practice to protect the health of the consumers and ensure fair practices in the food trade. The Commission also promotes coordination of all food standards work undertaken by international governmental and non-governmental organizations.
The Codex Alimentarius includes standards for all the principle foods, whether processed, semi-processed or raw, for distribution to the consumer. Materials for further processing into foods should be included to the extent necessary to achieve the purposes of the Codex Alimentarius as defined. The Codex Alimentarius includes provisions in respect of food hygiene, food additives, residues of pesticides and veterinary drugs, contaminants, labelling and presentation, methods of analysis and sampling, and import and export inspection and certification. Thus, it looks at both horizontal as well as vertical standard setting so far as food is concerned.
Codex standards and related texts are not a substitute for, or alternative to national legislation. Every country’s laws and administrative procedures contain provisions with which it is essential to comply. Codex standards and related texts contain requirements for food aimed at ensuring for the consumer a safe, wholesome food product free from adulteration, correctly labelled and presented. A Codex standard for any food or foods should be drawn up in accordance with the Format for Codex Commodity Standards and contain, as appropriate, the sections listed in the Codex procedural manual.
1. In May, 1963 the Sixteenth World Health Assembly approved the establishment of the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme with the Codex Alimentarius Commission as its principle organ.
2. In 1963 the commission held its first session in Rome in July 1963. Some 120 participants from 30 countries and 16 international organizations attended.
3. India is a member of Codex Alimentarius Commission since 1964.
4. Currently the Codex Alimentarius Commission has: 186 Codex Members - 185 Member Countries and 1 Member Organization (EU); 220 Codex Observers - 50 IGOs, 154 NGOs; 16 UN agencies.
The Executive Committee consists of the Chairperson and the Vice-Chairpersons of the Commission, and the Coordinators together with seven further Members elected by the Commission at regular sessions from among the Members of the Commission, one each coming from the following geographic locations: Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Near East, North America, South-West Pacific. The Executive Committee shall, between sessions of the Commission, acts on behalf of the Commission as its executive organ. In particular, the Executive Committee may make proposals to the Commission regarding general orientation, strategic planning, and programming of the work of the Commission, study special problems and shall assist in the management of the Commission’s programme of standards development, namely by conducting a critical review of proposals to undertake work and monitoring the progress of standards development. The Chairperson and Vice Chairperson of the Executive Committee are also the Chairperson and Vice Chairperson of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. The present Chairperson and Vice Chairperson of Codex Alimentarius are as follows:
(1) Chairperson – Mrs Awilo Ochieng Pernet (Switzerland).
(2) Vice-Chairperson – Mr Guilherme Antonio da Costa Jr. (Brazil), Ms Yayoi Tsujiyama (Japan) and Mr Mahamadou Sako (Mali).
Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC)
Executive Committee of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CCEXEC)
The various Committees working under Codex Alimentarius Commission are:
1. Codex Committee on Contaminants in Foods (CCCF)
2. Codex Committee on Food Additives (CCFA)
3. Codex Committee on Food Hygiene (CCFH)
4. Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems (CCFICS)
5. Codex Committee on Food Labelling (CCFL)
6. Codex Committee on General Principles (CCGP)
7. Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling (CCMAS)
8. Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU)
9. Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues (CCPR)
10. Codex Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in foods (CCRVDF)
B. Commodity Committees
1. Codex Committee on Fish and Fishery Products (CCFFP)
2. Codex Committee on Fresh Fruits and Vegetables (CCFFV)
3. Codex Committee on Fats and Oils (CCFO)
4. Codex Committee on Processed Fruits and Vegetables (CCPFV)
5. Codex Committee on Sugars (CCS)
6. Codex Committee on Milk and Milk Products (CCMMP)
7. Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs (CCSCH)
C. FAO/WHO Coordinating Committees
1. FAO/WHO Coordinating Committee for Africa (CCAFRICA)
2. FAO/WHO Coordinating Committee for Asia (CCASIA)
3. FAO/WHO Coordinating Committee for Europe (CCEURO)
4. FAO/WHO Coordinating Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean (CCLAC)
5. FAO/WHO Coordinating Committee for North America and South West Pacific (CCNASWP)
6. FAO/WHO Coordinating Committee for Near East (CCNEA)
Each Committee meets once in a year or once in 2 years depending upon its nature. The Codex Alimentarius Commission has designated a member country of the Commission, which has indicated its willingness to accept financial and all other responsibility, as having responsibility for appointing a chairperson of the Committee. This country is referred to as host country. The host country is responsible for appointing the Chairperson of the Committee from among its own nationals. Should this person for any reason be unable to take the chair, the host country shall designate another person to perform the functions of the chairperson for as long as the chairperson is unable to do so.