Presentation of the Codex Alimentarius
The Codex Alimentarius Commission was established in 1963 by FAO and WHO to develop food standards, guidelines and other texts, such as Codes of Practice, under the Joint FAO/WHO Programme on Food Standards. The main aims of this programme are the protection of consumer health, the promotion of fair practices in the food trade and the coordination of all food-related standardization work undertaken by both governmental and non-governmental organizations.
Currently, the Codex Alimentarius Commission has 189 member states and 1 member organization (the European Union) and 243 observers (60 intergovernmental organizations, 167 non-governmental organizations and 16 organizations in the UN system).
One of the main aims of the Commission is the preparation of food standards and their publication in the Codex Alimentarius. The legal basis for the Commission’s activities and the procedures it is required to follow are published in the Codex Alimentarius Commission Procedural Manual.Like all other aspects of the Commission’s work, Standards preparation procedures are clearly defined, open and transparent.
Under its Rules of Procedure, the Commission is authorised to set up two types of subsidiary bodies:
• Codex Committees, which prepare draft standards for submission to the Commission (committees dealing with general issues, committees dealing with products and intergovernmental panels).
• Coordinating Committees, which are used to coordinate food standards activities at the regional or group level, including the development of regional standards (Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Near East, North America and South West Pacific).
All standards, guidelines, codes of practice and texts of an advisory nature are available in the List of Standard on the Codex Commission website.
The relationship between the Codex Alimentarius Commission and the governments of member countries is achieved through the “Codex Contact Points (CCPs)”. For Morocco, member of this Commission since 1968, this CCP is provided by the Office National de Sécurité Sanitaire des produits alimentaires (ONSSA).