Are Countries Obliged to Implement Codex Standards and Guidelines?
A great deal of discussion is currently taking place within the natural products industry, both in the United States and elsewhere, as to whether or not countries are actually obliged to adopt Codex standards and guidelines. In fact, it is arguably true that there is no single categoric obligation for governments to adopt Codex standards and guidelines. However, the preamble to the SPS Agreement (to which all WTO Members are signatories) specifically mentions Codex and states that WTO Members (and hence all SPS signatories) desire to further the use of harmonized sanitary and phytosanitary measures between Members on the basis of international standards, guidelines and recommendations developed by the relevant international organizations, including the Codex Alimentarius Commission. (18) Article 3.1 of the Agreement goes even further than this, however, and states, To harmonize sanitary and phytosanitary measures on as wide a basis as possible, Members shall base their sanitary or phyt