International Regulations

International food standards are set by the Codex Alimen-tarius Commission, which was established by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) Assembly in 1961-1962. The Codex Ali-mentarius Commission membership is open to all member nations and associate members of FAO and/or WHO, and currently comprises more than 160 members. The overall objective of the Codex is to ensure consumer protection and to facilitate international trade.

Scientific risk assessment provides the basis for Codex risk management decisions. Two FAO/WHO scientific advisory bodies, the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) and the Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR) focus their activities primarily on risk assessment. These committees are independent of the Codex system and advise FAO and WHO and their members. Within Codex, risk management is defined as the process of considering risk assessment results, weighing policy alternatives, and, if required, selecting and implementing appropriate control options including regulatory measures. The outcome of the risk management process is the development of standards, guidelines, and other recommendations, which are developed by the Codex subsidiary bodies, such as the Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants (CCFAC), the Committee on Pesticide Residues (CCPR), and the Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Food (CCRVDF). In the case of food contaminants, the normal approach is for CCFAC to set levels of contaminants that are as low as reasonably achievable. The CCRVDF recommends maximum residue limits (MRLs) for residues of veterinary drugs in food, and the CCPR sets ADIs and MRLs for pesticide residues. Monitoring of both the effectiveness of the control measure (through periodic evaluation of the decision) and its impact on risk to the exposed population is expected following implementation of the control measure (3).

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