Imagine this: a Nazi war criminal establishes a secretive organisation embedded within the United Nations through which shadowy corporate interests force countries to remove the nutritional value from food, allowing food companies to profit from spreading malnutrition.
It sounds like fantasy but this is the essence of the accusations that have been levelled at the Codex Alimentarius over the years. This body, whose Latin name means “Food Rules” is indeed run by the United Nations, but beyond that most of the lurid accusations can be rejected out of hand.
However there are countless organisations and agencies which run under the aegis of the United Nations; what makes this one so special that wild myths and theories circulate so abundantly about its true purpose?
The Codex Alimentarius was established in 1962 as a joint venture between the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Health Organisation. Its aim is to establish internationally agreed food standards in order to protect consumers’ health and facilitate the international food trade.
All but a handful of countries in the world are members, who meet in committees to agree on rules and standards. These standards are adopted by consensus, meaning every country has an opportunity to disagree and block adoption. NGOs are allowed to speak at meetings, but they have no direct influence upon the outcomes.
The standards the Coded Alimentarius produces are purely voluntary in nature and members may adopt them for internal or international use as they see fit. (more…)