Food and Drug Regulation in an Era of Globalized Markets   |  June 9, 2015

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Since its founding in 1963, the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex) has served as a global standard-setting organization, presiding over the safety and quality of food across the world. Codex promulgates nonbinding, voluntary standards, intended to reflect international consensus on any given food item. As the “global reference point” for food quality standards, consumers, food producers and processors, national food control agencies and the international food trade all heavily rely upon Codex. Codex is driven by two, arguably competing missions: to adopt standards that protect consumer health and that promote fair trade. This chapter discusses the tension created by the organization’s mission by exploring its structure and how that structure has become susceptible to greater outside influence after the rise of the global trade regime overseen by the World Trade Organization. Specifically, this chapter focuses on the role of outside influences and potential negative implications for consumer protection and equity in ensuring a globally safe food supply.

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