Codex Alimentarius Commission [CAC]

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Jun 2, 2022, 6:07

Codex Alimentarius in Latin means food code. In the modern world, it is a code of food standards. The Codex Alimentarius Commission [CAC] is the organization responsible for the implementation of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) Food Standards Program globally. FAO and WHO jointly established it in May of 1963.

Codex Alimentarius Commission [CAC] - Mission and Objectives

The mission of the Codex Alimentarius Commission [CAC] is to protect consumer health. The commission establishes and implements International food standards set jointly by the FAO and WHO. Apart from protecting consumer health, the commission also aims to establish fair food trade and prices.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission [CAC] works with world governments and non-governmental organizations to draft relevant standards and policies. They follow the latest food technology developments and work with member countries to draft policies around them.

Codex Alimentarius Commission [CAC] - Member Countries

The Codex Alimentarius Commission [CAC] is an international intergovernmental organization. The member states of the FAO and the WHO are members of the CAC. As of 2022, there were 188 members and the European Union as part of the CAC.

Timor-Leste was the latest member to be a part of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. Timor-Leste became the 188th member in 2018. India has been a part of the commission since 1964, around the time the commission was formed.

Standards that Member Countries Must Follow

The Codex Alimentarius Commission [CAC] sets food standards recognized by the WHO Agreements as the standards of reference. There are three primary standards Codex sets: regional, commodity, and general.

Regional standards are set by regional coordinating commissions in collaboration with regional members. Commodity standards are Codex standards for specific food groups. General standards deal with labelling, general practices, inspections, certifications, etc.

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India's Participation in Codex Alimentarius Commission [CAC]

Codex has an India chapter. Codex India partners with the National Codex Commission to coordinate the Codex Alimentarius Commission [CAC]'s activities in the subcontinent. NCC is responsible for being a consultant to gather India's input to various Codex processes.

NCC formulates 5-year plans to coordinate with CACs' strategic plans. India has shadow commissions for every branch of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. Most of these commissions are managed by India's Food Safety and Standards Authority (FSSAI).

India's food council has representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and Food Processing. There is also representation from the Ministry of Women and Child Development and various educational institutions.

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Achievements of Codex Alimentarius Commission [CAC]

Since its inception, the Codex Alimentarius Commission [CAC] has achieved a lot. It created a single reference point for policymaking internationally and created international awareness around food safety.

The consumer is better represented, and consumer health safety and protection have taken centre stage. The commission has drafted scientific standards and generated strong participation among the member countries.

The main achievement of the Codex Alimentarius Commission has been to sensitize countries on the hazards of harmful food practices. Based on how food is now regulated globally, it has been successful in its mission.

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FAQs on Codex Alimentarius Commission [CAC]

Q1: What is the main mandate of the Codex Alimentarius Commission [CAC]?

The mandate of the Codex Alimentarius Commission [CAC] is to establish and implement international food standards to protect consumers' health.

Q2: Who can be the members of the Codex Alimentarius Commission [CAC]?

Members of FAO and WHO who are interested in food safety can be a part of the Codex Alimentarius Commission [CAC].

Q3: How does a member country benefit from the Codex Alimentarius Commission [CAC]?

Member countries are kept informed of current food technologies and are assisted with policy decisions around them. Codex Alimentarius Commission [CAC] also conducts risk assessments for member countries

Q4: How many countries are a part of the Codex Alimentarius Commission [CAC], and is India one?

Codex has 188 member countries and the European Union as a member organization. India became a part of the Codex Alimentarius Commission [CAC] in 1964.