The Codex Alimentarius (Latin for “Book of Food”) is a collection of internationally recognized standards, codes of practice, guidelines and other recommendations relating to foods, food production and food safety.
Its name is derived from the Codex Alimentarius Austriacus. Its texts are developed and maintained by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, a body that was established in early November 1961 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), was joined by the World Health Organization (WHO) in June 1962, and held its first session in Rome in October 1963. The Commission’s main goals are to protect the health of consumers and ensure fair practices in the international food trade. The Codex Alimentarius is recognized by the World Trade Organization as an international reference point for the resolution of disputes concerning food safety and consumer protection.
As of 2012, there were the 186 members of the Codex Alimentarius Commission: 186 member countries and one member organization, the European Union (EU). There were 215 Codex observers: 49 intergovernmental organizations, 150 non-governmental organizations, and 16 United Nations organizations.