Codex Alimentarius is a commission operating under the auspices of FAO/WHO of the United Nations. It has the task of preparing standards and codes of practice for food products and processes. It operates through a series of committees to which member countries can nominate representatives. The development of each standard is carried out in a series of eleven formal steps, each of which involves approval by the member governments.

The purpose of Codex standards is to facilitate international trade and countries which have formally acceded to the Commission, undertake to adopt these standards in their national legislation. Until then however, these standards are not binding on those countries.