Meetings of the Codex Alimentarius Commission

Meeting of the CAC

As noted earlier, the reports of the meetings of Committees and Task Forces are to be considered draft proposals that are to be finalized by the Codex Alimentarius Commission. So the CAC is responsible for setting the standards. The CAC (mostly referred to as the "Commission") is the collection of all Codex Members. One of its tasks is to elect a Chairperson and three Vice-chairs from their Members; the elected Chair and Vice-chairs serve for one year and can be reelected only once. The CAC is supported by the Executive Committee. More details on the Commission and the Executive Committee can be found in the Procedural Manual.

The Commission shall hold one session per year; its location is (alternating) at FAO in Rome or WHO in Geneva. These meetings are quite similar in design to the Committee meetings, with the exception that here all topics of all committees are addressed for final decisions. The agenda and the final report of the CAC meetings are published in the meetings schedule in the six Codex languages.

By having a final discussion on draft proposals in the CAC, one can notice that members and observers who disagree with a draft proposal in a committee meeting can object in that committee meeting, but also for the second time in the CAC meeting. Decisions in the CAC are taken preferably by consensus, but if a proposal is heavily debated the Members can vote for final adoption. All members have one vote, and the majority decides. Until the present day reaching consensus on a proposal is the norm, so voting in the CAC meeting is very rare. A well known example is the vote for the final adoption of the MRL for the use of ractopamine hydrochloride in animal feed in 2012 (69 votes in favor, with 67 votes against).

Codex Secretariat

The Commission and the parent organization FAO and WHO are supported with regard to the activities of the Codex Alimentarius by the Codex Secretariat. This Secretariat is staffed by persons from different Member countries, and it is hosted at the FAO headquarters in Rome.