Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC)

The Codex Alimentarius Commission(CAC)is an international food standards body established jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). 

Why is it in news? (as of April 2021)

The fifth session of the Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs (CCSCH) began on April 20 with a series of virtual sessions held till April 29, 2021, with nearly 300 experts from 50 countries participating in the deliberations. CCSCH was established under Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC).

In this article, we shall discuss at length the objectives, significance and members of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. This is an important topic from the IAS Exam perspective. Thus, aspirants must go through the various aspects of the Commission given below. 

UPSC aspirants can also get the list of Important Committees and Commissions in India at the linked article. 

The aspirants can read more relevant information from the links provided below:

Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC):-Download PDF Here

Codex Alimentarius Commission – A Brief Background

  • The Codex Alimentarius Commission was established in May 1963
  • It is jointly managed by the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization
  • As of 2021, the Codex Alimentarius Commission has 189 Codex Members made up of 188 Member Countries and 1 Member Organization (The European Union)
  • India became a member of Codex Alimentarius in 1964
  • Membership of the Commission is open to all Member Nations and Associate Members of FAO and WHO, which are interested in international food standards
  • The Commission meets in regular session once a year, alternating between Geneva and Rome
  • CAC works in the six United Nations (UN) official languages, which are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish
  • All the budgetary matters are handled together by WHO and FAO
What is the Codex Alimentarius?

The Codex Alimentarius is a collection of international food standards that have been adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC).

Codex Standards cover all the main foods, whether processed, semi-processed or raw. Codex provisions concern the hygienic and nutritional quality of food, including microbiological norms, food additives, pesticide and veterinary drug residues, contaminants, labelling and presentation, and methods of sampling and risk analysis.

Objectives of the Commission

The official mandate of Codex Alimentarius Commission is to implement the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme, among the aims/purposes of which are:

  1. To protect the health of the consumers and ensuring fair practices in the food trade;
  2. To promote coordination of all food standards work undertaken by international governmental and non-governmental organisations;
  3. To determine priorities and initiating and guiding the preparation of draft standards through and with the aid of appropriate organizations;
  4. To finalise standards elaborated under (3) above and publishing them in a Codex Alimentarius either as regional or worldwide standards, together with international standards already finalised by other bodies under (2) above, wherever this is practicable;
  5. To amend published standards, as appropriate, in the light of developments.

CODEX Committees

The food standards development work of the Commission is assisted by its Executive Committee and its subsidiary bodies. This executive body is the Executive Committee of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CCEXEC). 

India, as the Regional Coordinator for FAO/WHO Regional Coordinating Committee for Asia (CCASIA) is a member of the CCEXEC. 

Given below are the subsidiary bodies for the Commission:

  • Committees, which prepare draft standards for submission to the Commission; may be either General Subject external link or Commodity specific
  • Coordinating Committees, through which regions or groups of countries coordinate food standards activities in the region. Currently, there are six Codex regions:
    • Kenya, Africa
    • India, Asia
    • Netherlands, Europe
    • Chile, Latin America and South-West Pacific
    • Vanuatu, North America and South-West Pacific
    • Iran, Near East 
  • Task Forces, ad hoc Intergovernmental Taskforce with very limited terms of reference established for a fixed period of time

Know about the Different Committees and their Recommendations at the linked article. 

Codex Standards

Codex standards can be general or specific and are recognised by WTO Agreements as reference standards:

  • General Standards, Guidelines and Codes of Practice – These core Codex texts, typically deal with hygienic practice, labelling, contaminants, additives, inspection & certification, nutrition and residues of veterinary drugs and pesticides and apply horizontally to products and product categories
  • Commodity standards – Codex commodity standards refer to a specific product although increasingly Codex now develops standards for food groups
  • Regional standards – Standards developed by the respective Regional Coordinating Committees, applicable to the respective regions

Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC):-Download PDF Here

IAS aspirants can check the UPSC Syllabus for the prelims and mains examination for the Civil Services Exam at the linked article. 

Get the latest exam updates, study material and preparation tips at BYJU’S. 

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