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Impact of the Codex Alimentarius

The Influence of the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme on EU Food Law

Bernd van der Meulen
Keywords: Codex Alimentarius, EU food law

The FAO and the WHO have set up a joint food standards programme with the Codex Alimentarius Commission at its core. The Codex Alimentarius Commission has a membership base of its own. It adopts standards by consensus of its member countries, based on the scientific input from risk assessment bodies that also form part of the joint FAO/WHO food standards programme. The purpose of the standards of the Codex Alimentarius is to harmonise national and regional food legislation at a global level. This article explores to what extent the influence of the Codex Alimentarius is actually present in EU food law. To this end, it identifies the major fields of EU food law on the basis of a pre-existing framework for analysis. The article shows that the Codex Alimentarius is present in all these major fields in concepts, methods, principles and rules of conduct for food businesses.
Keywords: Codex Alimentarius; EU food law.

Prof. Dr. B.M.J. van der Meulen (<>) is director of the European Institute for Food Law <> and Professor of Comparative Food Law at Renmin University of China Law School (Beijing) through the Program of Top-level Foreign Experts of the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs of the People’s Republic of China. He is also board member of the Global Harmonization Initiative (GHI) <>. An earlier version of this article was posted online as working paper in the European Institute for Food Law working paper series. I am grateful for feedback received on this paper from Bart Wernaart, Neal Fortin and Dario Bevilacqua. Comments are welcome at: <>.


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