In an era of rapidly changing food technologies and ever-increasing global food trade, risk control throughout the food chain has become critical. To meet the emerging challenges of the 21st century, food control systems need to keep abreast of the latest developments, operate on the concept of risk analysis and be harmonised with international standards and best practices developed within the Codex Alimentarius, established by FAO and WHO in 1960 (FAO, 1969). The Codex Alimentarius is a set of internationally accepted food standards and related texts presented in a uniform manner. Its aim is to provide the consumer with a safe, healthy, and adulteration-free food product, correctly labelled and presented. The Codex Alimentarius contains standards for all major foods, processed, semi-processed or raw, intended for distribution to consumers, (e.g., freshness of products, rules for freezing, fruit and vegetables processing, cereals, pulses, fats and oil, fish, meat and milk and milk products). It also contains provisions on food hygiene, food additives, pesticide and veterinary drug residues, contaminants, labelling and presentation, methods of analysis and sampling, and import and export control and certification. The Codex Alimentarius has a global dimension, as experts from 166 countries are working on it. Although it does not replace national food safety laws and regulations, many countries choose to implement its provisions at national and regional level (Skrzypek, 2020).
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A general obligation is placed on food business operators to ensure that all stages of production, processing, and distribution of food under their control satisfy the relevant hygiene requirements laid down in Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004. The rules in place since 2006 innovate in making a single, transparent hygiene policy applicable to all food and all food operators right through the food chain (“From Farm to Fork”), together with effective instruments to manage food safety and any future food crises throughout the food chain. A Commission report (2009) recounts the experience gained, including the difficulties encountered (in 2006, 2007, and 2008) from the implementation of the hygiene package by all interested actors. It does not suggest any detailed solutions to the difficulties reported and is, therefore, not accompanied by proposals (EC, n.d.2).
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