Do you also get a bit dizzy when acronyms like FAO, JECFA, and CAC start flying around? If you’re in the business of food production, you should know what they stand for and how they are related. Here’s a quick overview.
Codex: This is short for Codex Alimentarius. It’s a collection of internationally adopted food standards, aimed at protecting consumers’ health based on sound science. It also paves the way for international standards, making it easier for food production companies to serve their markets. Codex standards are used at least to some extent in nearly all countries except the USA.
Did you know?
Codex is a Latin word that translates to “tree trunk” but means “book of laws.” Alimentarius is Latin for providing sustenance, nourishment, or nutrition.
CAC: the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which meets once a year to adopt updates to Codex food standards. For example, CAC46 was the 46th meeting held in Rome in Nov-Dec. 2023. But where do they get the proposals to review? From JECFA of course!
JECFA: Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives is an international scientific expert committee that performs risk assessments and provides advice to UN member countries, FAO, WHO, and the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC).
FAO: the Food and Agriculture Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger, to achieve food security for all. Both JECFA and Codex are partially placed under FAO.
WHO: now we’re getting into more familiar territory for everyone. The World Health Organization is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, and like FAO, it’s also placed under the UN. And like FAO, it’s co-responsible for JECFA and Codex.
UN: to finish it off, the United Nations sits at the top of this network of international food organizations and committees. They all contribute to the UN’s purpose to maintain international peace and security.
If you’d like to help better understand how regulatory guidelines affect the colors in your food production, reach out. It’s one of our areas of expertise.
"Here's how Codex fits into the food safety regulatory picture."