Codex Alimentarius refers to a collection of standards, codes of practice, guidelines and other recommendations. Some of these texts are very general, and some are very specific. Some deal with detailed requirements related to a food or group of foods; others deal with the operation and management of production processes or the operation of government regulatory systems for food safety and consumer protection.

Codex standards usually relate to product characteristics and may deal with all government-regulated characteristics appropriate to the commodity , or only one characteristic. Maximum residue limits (MRLs) for residues of pesticides or veterinary drugs in foods are examples of standards dealing with only one characteristic. There are Codex general standards for food additives and contaminants and toxins in foods that contain both general and commodity-specific provisions. The Codex General Standard for the Labelling of Prepackaged Foods covers all foods in this category. Because standards relate to product characteristics, they can be applied wherever the products are traded.

Codex methods of analysis and sampling, including those for contaminants and residues of pesticides and veterinary drugs in foods, are also considered Codex standards.

Codex codes of practice - including codes of hygienic practice - define the production, processing, manufacturing, transport and storage practices for individual foods or groups of foods that are considered essential to ensure the safety and suitability of food for consumption. For food hygiene, the basic text is the Codex General Principles of Food Hygiene, which introduces the use of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) food safety management system. A code of practice on the control of the use of veterinary drugs provides general guidance in this area.

- 87241/2006-09-16


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