Codex Alimentarius in food production

Food production must be carried out according to strict food safety and hygiene standards to prevent any type of contamination from reaching the final consumer.

For this reason, in 1963 the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) created the Codex Alimentarius Commission, whose objective was to ensure the safety and quality of food.

Below, we take a closer look at this set of standards.

What is the Codex Alimentarius or “Food Code”?

The Codex Alimentarius is the grouping of standards, codes and recommendations approved by the largest international food standards body: the Codex Alimentarius Commission (annexed to the FAO and WHO).

This document was created to ensure the proper handling of food by all members of the food industry and to assure consumers of the quality and safety of the products they consume.

What is the Codex Alimentarius for?

The Codex Alimentarius serves to protect the integrity of consumers by promoting a series of practices within the food sector. This list of standards seeks to guide manufacturers and to promote a series of common requirements within the international food trade, harmonising in some way the infinite number of legal differences that exist in each country and seeking an international food legislation.

How many standards does the Codex Alimentarius contain?

The Codex contains more than 200 standards written in different languages and covering the following areas:

  • Food labelling.
  • The use of additives.
  • The use of contaminants.
  • Food hygiene.

As mentioned above, these standards are not mandatory but a recommendation for the governments of each country to decide whether or not to introduce them into their legislation.

What are the regulations in food production?

The regulation of food production depends on each country, but several countries have used this code as a basis for introducing their own food legislation. The Codex Alimentarius is an international reference that helps to harmonise standards related to food safety and comprises 188 member states.

Among the functions of the Codex Alimentarius Commission is also to organise a multitude of meetings between the various international experts in the sector to raise awareness and ensure compliance with food safety standards. It is a meeting point not only for manufacturers and governments, but also for scientists, consumer groups and food authorities, as its standards include evaluations of food medicines, information on additives and limits on pesticides.

What is the relationship between Codex Alimentarius and food labelling?

One of the issues addressed by the Codex Alimentarius is the information that food labelling should contain to ensure proper understanding by consumers. The general principle (and one that should be self-evident) is that no false or misleading information should be provided on a food label. This also includes any health claims that are intended to be made about the product and which mislead the consumer.

According to these rules, the following information must be compulsory on food labels to ensure that the information is clear and specific:

  • Name of the specific food.
  • Treatment to which it has been subjected.
  • List of ingredients in descending order of content.
  • Allergenic or intolerant ingredients (eggs, soya or crustaceans).
  • Food additives.
  • Net content and drained weight by volume and weight.
  • Name and address of the manufacturer.
  • Country of origin.
  • Batch identification.
  • Storage instructions.
  • Use by date.
  • Instructions for use, if any.

What does clean labelling or clean label mean today?

Clean labelling (like the Food Codex) aims to ensure the truthfulness of the information on food labels. This trend, which has been at the forefront of the industry for some time now, is well known at Amerex.

Like the standards mentioned above, Amerex is characterised by transparency with our customers when it comes to our products. With more than 40 years of history in the industry, our goal has been to research and design tailor-made products for all types of food. As a result, 95% of our products are clean label.

Food safety and quality do not have to be at odds with a clean label. At Amerex we have the Biamex or Safemix range, whose purpose is to ensure the protection of the food by being able to remove/decrease the use of additives; or the Fermitrat range of maturation starters for sausages.

If you want to know more about our clean label, organic and vegan ingredients, do not hesitate to contact us!

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