New Standards From Codex Commission

Published online: Jul 10, 2003
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Codex Alimentarius (meaning food code) Commission, the food standards body of the United Nations Food and Agriculture and the World Health organizations has adjusted guidelines used to control the world's food.

Meeting July 9 in Rome, the Commission adopted a landmark agreement on how to assess the risks to consumers from foods derived from biotechnology, including genetically modified foods.

On the matter of safety on foods derived from biotechnology, Codex laid out broad general principles to make the analysis and management of risks related to biotech foods uniform across the 169 member countries.

Provisions include pre-market safety evaluations, product tracing for recall purposes, and post-market monitoring.

The guidelines cover the scientific assessment of DNA-modified plants, such as potatoes and corn.

They also include provisions for assessing the product's allergenicity and determining if the produce may provoke unexpected allergies in consumers.

The commission also adopted a new standard of higher levels of radiation on food products. This will make food safe for longer periods of time. The process, which uses gamma ray irradiation, kills bacteria and increases shelf life. Irradiated foods are proven safe and do not contain any radioactive traces.