Food safety

International food standards (Codex Alimentarius)

The Codex Alimentarius Commission is a joint intergovernmental body of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and WHO with 187 Member States and one Member Organization (EU). Codex has worked since 1963 to create harmonized international food standards to protect the health of consumers and ensure fair trade practices.

WHO works on the provision of independent international scientific advice on microbiological and chemical hazards. Scientific advice is the basis for the development of international Food Standards by Codex.


The Global Initiative for Food-related Scientific Advice (GIFSA) has been established in 2007 to ensure sustainable funding of the FAO/WHO activities on the provision of scientific advice to the Codex Alimentarius Commission and Member Countries. Contributions are accepted from governments, organizations and foundations in accordance with WHO and FAO rules.