The Codex Alimentations Commission Education Essay


For the different economic, cultural and custom background of different countries, their food labeling system and related regulations and laws are different. What is food labeling and what food label including? Generally speaking, four main subjects are regulated by food labeling regulations and laws of various countries. First of all, the basic information of food is presented, including the origin of food, weight, quality guarantee period, manufacturing countries, ingredients and others. Secondly, the production technology of food is presented to prevent some dangerous technology to be used in the procedure of production. Thirdly, nutritional information is provided also. The regulations on nutrition label are established in recent ten years. The nutrition label includes nutrition compositions and nutrition notifications. Considering the relationship between nutrition compositions and non-infectious diseases, the State of America has promoted the nutrition label to become a compulsory label in food appearance. And European Union is working on this promotion too. Fourthly, information on certification is also a new composition of label information. Food with special certification is recognized superior to other food of that sort in a particular aspect. In Europe, there are many kinds of food certification, including forage product certification, GLOBALGAP, safe agro-food certification, green food certification, organic product certification, food safety management certification, green market certification and so on (Cheftel, 2005).

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Food labeling represents the safety and quality of food. It usually determines whether consumers will choose it or not. When choosing and comparing among food of different brands or companies, consumer usually faces many difficulties in evaluating the quality and safety of different kinds of food. Generally speaking, most of customers are not experts of the food and they cannot access the food accurately without help. Therefore, it is necessary for customers to rely on the food label. Food label is the obvious signals prepared for consumers to understand the traits of food. Dawar and Parker (1992) has pointed out that the obvious signal includes brand names (Akerlof, 1970; Ross 1988), brand advertisement (Milgrom and Roberts, 1986), food appearance (Nelson, 1970), prices (Milgrom and Roberts, 1986), or good reputation in market (Cooper and Ross, 1985).

These food labels provide main references for consumers when they face difficulties in accessing food of different brands. The food label could reduce the risk of making a bad selection, when consumers are lacking special knowledge in that field and it is hard to access the objective food.

One important composition of food label is in which country the food is produced. Label, which is designating geographic source, is establishing and protecting the reputation in the interests of a group of companies. It relies on voluntary and free participating. In the member countries of EU, the label is completely protected by laws and regulations (e.g.,2081/92/EC and 2082/92/EC). Consumer usually uses beliefs on the collective of companies to evaluate performance of individual firm in the group (Tirole, 1996). Another form is customers usually combine the quality of products with the reputation of manufacturing country, "physical production environment and tradition of agricultural and product transformation practice"(Landon and Smith, 1998; Luz Loureiro and McCluskey, 2000). The regional traits of food labels can contribute much to the customers` decision on which kind of food is better (Landon and Smith, 1998; Luz Loureiro and McCluskey, 2000).

2.1.2 The definition of nutritional labels

Simply speaking, the broaden meaning of nutritional label mainly involve with 3 perspectives: label, statement of nutritional contents and statements of Hygiene. Even though the nutritional label has the similar meaning with statement of nutritional contents, their detailed indexes and functions are not different. Many consumers like considering the nutritional labels to be tables of food contain. Simply speaking, the statement of nutrition content reflects the components of food, characteristics of food and functions of food and it is the main measure to express the food information to consumers. Moreover, the statement of nutrition content also plays the role of guidelines to conduct nutritional education and lead them to select Hygieney food. Nowadays, the statement of nutrition content is demanded to satisfy consumer's latest requirements better. Canada firstly allows this kind of statement include weakening heart disease. America only allows this kind of statement in about 6 kinds of food. The Hygiene statement means those words imply, explain and mention the relation between one certain food factor and Hygiene demands.

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2.1.3 Development history of global nutritional labeling

From the year of 1985 and 1998, CAC (Codex Alimentations Commission) issues 6 pieces of regulations on the food nutritional labeling. These 6 documents all have the function of guiding and coordination and they have great influences to promote the development of international trade. The table 1 lists some countries' primary rules and standards on food nutritional labeling. With the development of science and economy, related rules and stands on food nutritional labeling are modified and upgraded all the time.

Table 1 relevant standards and regulations of food nutritional label in various country






Nutrition improvement law (No. 248 in 1952)


Food Labeling Law



Law of package and labeling of Canadian consuming goods



Hungary food law

The UN


Labeling, statement and orders of ads (79/112/EEC)


Orders on food nutritional labeling (70/496/EEC)


Statement of general guidelines (the modified version in 1991)



Guidelines of food nutritional labeling (CAC/GL2-1985 and modified in 1993)

some especial nutritional labeling (CODEX ST AN 146-1985)

general rules of labels of special prepackaged food (CODEX ST AN 1-1985, modified in 1991)


Draft of the application of statement of Hygiene and nutrition


Guidelines of application of the tern of "Muslin food"



Rules of components and labeling of food and drug (modified version)



Rules of general food labeling

The UK


Rules of general food labeling


Law of faint



Nutritional labeling education law (NLEA)


Diet supplement Hygiene and education law (DSHEA)


Special nutritional food labeling (GB 13432-92)



General rules of food labeling (CB7718-94 is replaced by GB7718-87)


General standards of Hygiene-care foods (GB16740-97)



The sale regulations of Singapore food



National food department's Regulations on labeling nutritional components and some suggestions (SLV FS 1993:21)

National food department's Regulations on labeling nutritional components and some suggestions of special nutritional food (SLV FS 1993:31)

National food department's Regulations on labeling nutritional components and some suggestions of faint food (SLV FS 1993:21)



Law of food nutritional labeling by Poland agricultural and economic department



Standards on food additives, measuring tools, vessel and package

CCFL which is belong to CAC hold annual meeting every second year to make or modify international general food labeling law, the regulations of for food ads words and some thing the like. According to Handbook of CAC procedure, each country should make their national labeling laws on the base of international general food labeling law. And each country should point out all the differences and exceptions from the international general label law. Moreover, the regulations on general food stands made by CAC should also be brought into the international general law. Besides the requirements from general standards, other content necessary to be added should reasonable and strict enough. In recent, the requirements related with food labeling issued by CAC are as follows:

Food nutritional labeling in America

America is considered to own the strictest and the most complete food nutritional labeling law. The research and creation of new status in America is leading across the world. Early in 1970, America started to attach nutritional labels. In the year of 1990, NLEA signed by the president of Bush claims to attach the nutritional labels to almost all kinds of food in America. In 1993, Nutritional Labeling Law and Introductions of Labeling of Food with Special Functions are issued so as to reduce the misunderstandings of consumers resulted from unscientific ads promotion in the market. The ultimate aim of them is to help consumers choose more suitable and Hygieneier food. They change the disordered management of American food market and they also shows that America attaches much importance to food nutritional law. on 23rd September, 1997, FDA put forwards formal rules and modified the Federal Law to strengthen the content of food nutritional labeling. According to it, all the companies should attach nutritional labels to the food. The information on nutritional labels consists of unit of food, share of each box and nutrition knowledge. The modified regulations make more detailed requirements. Since 1st April, 2005, FDA request to stand out information on calorie in food nutritional labels and to mark amount during each meal. On 1st January, 2006, America started to carry out Consumer Protection Law. According to this law, nutritional labels of traditional food and supplements should contain the amount of TFAS. On 24th September, 2008, FDA put forward a proposal in relation with food labels on import food. In October of 2003, the American agricultural department makes a regulation on organic food. Its application provoked the development of organic agriculture.

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(2) Food nutritional labeling in UN

In 1990, the UN issued an Ordinance of Food Nutritional Labeling and this ordinance is applied with all kinds of food that can be directly eaten without the additive elements. Since 10th April of 2002, all the UN members suggested to add transgenic factors in the food labels so as to make consumers free right to choose this kind of food. In 2006, the UN issued the NO. 1924/2006 rules on food nutrition and Hygiene statement. These rules have been put into practice on 1st July of 2007 and applied with any kind of food and drinks which are sold in the UN market. These rules are aimed to provide more strict and reliable information on nutrition in the package. In practice, they can avoid misunderstandings of consumers. With the creation of new technology, new material and new additives, new terms about food nutrition and indexes increased at the same time. In 2002, the UN food scientific committee put forward primary suggestions on modification of nutritional labeling indexes. On 9th July of 2008, it issued the NO. G/TBT/N/EEC/198 report. This report modified the previous NO. 90/496/EEC ordinance. Moreover, food labeling is one of the report focuses of WTO/TBT in recent. Between 2006 and 2007, WTO/TBT report has totally 2100 pieces of rules and ones about labeling account for 163 pieces. The following picture reflects the food nutritional label of sandwiches in the UN, according to their standards.

(3) Food Nutritional Labeling in Japan

The same to the UN and America, in Japan there are also a series of regulations on food nutritional labeling to manage the nutritional elements and nutrition statement of food. In 1995, Japan put forward Nutrition Improvement Law (No. 284). According to this piece of law, except for meet of birds, all the other processing food must attach nutritional labels. Since July of 2003, new food labeling system is carried out in July of 2003. This new kind of system demand each kind of fresh marine product, meat and vegetables to attach obvious produce place, product name, material, amount, contain, dead line and reserve ways. As the imported product, besides above content, the primary country, produce place and importer names are all needed.

(4)Food Nutritional Labeling in Australia

The food standards of Australia and New Zealand make a strict regulation on the food labeling. According to it, imported food should attach detailed information of importer, product time, dead line, code, description, primary production place, elements of food and some thing the like in English. Moreover, food containing saccharine, phenyl, caffeine and something the like mush attach related warm in the package of food.

(5) Food Nutritional Labeling in Malaysia

In order to protect the awareness right, standard the marking ways of nutritional labels and nutritional statement, and to promote faire competition, Hygiene department of Malaysia put forward a draft of nutritional labeling law in the beginning of 2002, according to guidelines of food nutritional labeling by CAC. This draft demanded that companies should attach food labels to 7 kinds of predominant food with greatest consumption amount. In March of 2003, Malaysia modified the Food Regulations. According to the new regulations, since 1st March of 2004, those 7 kinds of predominant food with greatest market share can be sold only after attached with related nutritional labels. Therefore, Malaysia becomes the sixth country carry out compulsory nutritional labeling system after the America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

(6)Food Nutritional Labeling in Russia

The national standardization committee remade and carried out TOCTP51014 -2003/Gneral Requirements of Food Consumption Statement. According to it, the food labels must contain the information on original place, company names and address, product names, product elements, amount, contain, product elements, eating value, application and preserve conditions, dead line, preserve period, package time, code, additives and some thing the like. This information should be translated into Russian.

2.2 The food labeling in China and the UK

2.3 The food nutritional labeling in China and the UK

2.3.1 Food Nutritional Labeling in China

In China, recently the national quality checking department and national standardization management committee issued two pieces of national compulsory standards: GB7718-2004 General Rules of Pre-package Food and GB 13432-2004 General Rules of Special Pre-package Food. These standards strengthen the practical function of food labels and do not allow cheating consumers. moreover, the food additives which consumers cares more about must be marked exactly and at the same time they advocate companies to mark energy and nutritional factors. On 1st, September of 2008, traditional regulations on publishing illegal behaviors on food labels are replaced with regulation of food labels. The new regulation of food labels is mainly from two perspectives namely label content and label forms to rule food label. Compared with previous rules, it added the requirements of food production place, split chargers, warms, and the smallest sale unit. In addition, China also has relevant regulations on imported and exported food. On 1st April of 2000, management way of imported and exported food began to be applied. In the year of 2005, Chinese Commercial Department put forward a guideline of imported and exported food labels and limitations of additives. It is aimed to provide relevant technological regulations, standards and requirements of foreign countries where China usually needs to import and export food. Through the comparison, that guidance offers related supposed suggestions. On 1st May of 2008, Chinese Hygiene Department made Chinese food nutritional labeling management rules and put it into practice. These rules have totally 21 terms including 3 technological appendixes namely mark rule of food nutritional elements, reference value of Chinese food nutritional factors and claim rules of food nutrition and nutritional element. Food companies have freedom to carry it out. Once the food manufacturers make or claim nutritional elements of the food, they should mark according to it. Otherwise, food companies have no need to change the package.

Chapter 3 Methodology

3.1 Introduction

This dissertation utilizes both qualitative and quantitative methods, which involves with primary collection strategies, as well as content analysis of secondary sources. Author adopts this integrated method because either of them has its own special advantages and they can make up the disadvantages of the other (Creswell, 1994). Between them, the primary data collection strategies make a biggest contribution to this research. In detail, the data collection strategy is made up of two broaden parts. On the one hand, a questionnaire survey was conducted to investigate current situations of nutritional labeling in China and the western countries. On the other hand, in order to develop the questionnaire content, a qualitative approach was used with focus groups being convened to ascertain the important themes. Two focus groups are conducted to acquire information about the attitudes towards and the understanding of Chinese current food nutrition labeling. Nevertheless, the content analysis of secondary data also plays an important role in this research. In secondary research, it mainly relied on literature and websites in order to achieve objective. A literature review is able to address previous study on the definition of food label, nutritional labeling, the basic content of nutritional label, how to mark them and the development history of food nutritional labeling. Website resources include online papers will help to achieve the object. Through the secondary research, it could be found out the useful information regarding Chinese nutritional labeling.

3.2 Data collection method

3.2.1 Primary data Questionnaire survey method

(1) Definition

Fowler (1988) defined a survey as providing a quantitative or numeric description of some fraction of the population-the sample-through the data collection process of asking questions of people. Creswell (1994) suggested this data collection, in turn, enables a researcher to generalize the findings from a sample of responses to a population.

(2) Strengths of questionnaire survey

In the field of academic study, questionnaire is the most popular method widely used by researchers from different sciences. Especially in the researches about marketing, questionnaire plays the most important role in data collection. Fowler (1988) spoke highly of this method and he pointed out that this method can effectively provide a quantitative or numeric description of some hidden truth. Creswell (1994) suggested this data collection method can help a researcher to generalize some common thing among a complex group. McClelland (1994) also pointed out the practical uses of questionnaire and he said that a questionnaire survey can provide accurate and relevant data through thoughtful design, testing, and detailed administration. McClelland (1994) points out there are many advantages in using questionnaire survey rather than other types of data gathering and research methods. Firstly questionnaire survey can be administered to a large population because they do not require individual from different geographical locations to assemble in one primary place (Oppenheim, 1992). This also avoids high costs. Secondly they are a non-intrusive means of gathering feedback, as opposed to individual interviews, focus groups, and sometimes on-site observations. This is because respondents can provide input in a tension- or intimidation-free environment at their convenience (Creswell, 1994). Thirdly biasing, which can easily surface in individual interviews owing to the manner in which questions are posed by the interviewer (sender) and perceived by the respondent (receiver) is minimized. Finally, completing questionnaires is relatively simple and straightforward and does not require and excessive amount of time.

(3) Questionnaire design

Though the questionnaire can help researchers achieve much helpful information, a good questionnaire is not that simple to design (Oppenheim, 1992). Firstly, it is important to design the questionnaire effectively to attain the necessary data as much as possible (Janesick, 1998). The purpose and the meanings of the investigation as well as the requirements are involved in the questionnaires. The researcher will put out all possible questions, and then decide whether they are suitable for the investigation and make the questionnaires perfect. Secondly, the questionnaires will be hand out in several ways. Thirdly, the data accumulated to help analysis the results. These questionnaires must be effectively designed (Creswell, 1994). The lack of basic information, uncompleted questionnaires and uncovered questionnaires will be deemed to be void. Only the completed questionnaires can serve as the basis for later analysis. Of course, it is very important to assure personal information of responders confidential.

In this research, the questionnaire is aimed to reflect differences between Chinese and Foreign in attitude towards food nutrition labeling of their own country. The questions include a series of questions. Questionnaire respondents are totally 100 Chinese and foreigners who have awareness of food nutrition labeling in both China and western countries. Author will send questionnaires to above 100 respondents in person and tell them his research aim and persuade them respond the questionnaires honestly. Focus group method

(1) Definition

Morgan (1997) has defined focus group as a form of qualitative research which is basically a group interview, although not in the sense of an alternation between a researcher's questions and the research participants' responses. Instead, the reliance is on interaction within the group, based on topics that are supplied by the researcher who typically takes the role of a moderator. Morgan (1993) suggested focus groups are able to contribute to the development of a quantitative investigation. Focus group data can inform the actual content of the survey questionnaire-its wording, item development, and even the research questions that affect its design. Wimmer and Dominick (1997) has defined focus groups as a research strategy for understanding consumer attitudes and behaviour, by involving a group of people to share their thoughts, feelings and opinions on a subject matter. Morgan (1997) points out the main advantages of focus group in comparison to participant observation is the opportunity to observe a large amount of interaction on a topic in a limited period of time based on the researcher's ability to assemble and direct the focus group sessions.

(2) Strengths of focus group

One advantage of focus group sessions is that respondents can enlarge and refine their responses through their interaction with other group members, something which tends to lead to more accurate and detailed information than what emerges from an individual interview. Furthermore, the situation and atmosphere of the group is more exciting than that of a standard interview and the "crowd" makes individuals fell more secure in expressing themselves (Malholtra, 1996). Morgan (1997) points out the strength was clear in comparison to participant observation because focus groups not only give access to reports on a wide range of topics that may not be observable, but also ensure that the data will be directly targeted to the researcher's interests. As Fern notes, however, other claims about the supposed superiority of group interaction for purposes other than "idea generation" remain untested-and some are so vague as to be untreatable (Fern, 1982). A more concrete demonstration of the strength that focus group offer through concentrated observations on the researcher's interests is the conclusion that two eight-person focus groups would produce as many ideas as 10 individual interviews (Fern, 1982).

(3) Composition of focus group

Morgan (1993) suggested focus groups are able to contribute to the development of a quantitative investigation. Generally speaking, focus group is a panel of people (typically made up of 6 to 10 participants). Small groups work best when the participants are likely to be both interested in the topic and respectful of each other (Morgan, 1997). In this research, after the questionnaire survey, author is ready to select a few from questionnaires respondents as the participants of focus group. The participants are demanded to show their opinions of their comments and suggestions on current nutritional labeling in their countries. This will help to dig out the fundamental reasons for the differences between Chinese and Foreign nutritional labeling so as to find out the fundamental reasons for current issues of Chinese nutritional labeling.

3.2.2 Secondary data

Briefly speaking, the secondary data was from the following aspects:

a) The previous literatures in relation with this research;

b) The authorized magazines and papers;

c) Information on line

Rowley and Slack (2004) point out literature reviews are important in supporting the identification of a research topic, question or hypothesis; identifying the literature to which the research will make contribution, and contextualizing the research within that literature; building an understanding of theoretical concepts and terminology; facilitating the building of a bibliography or list of the sources that have been consulted; suggesting research methods that might be useful; and in analyzing and interpreting results. The researcher will first identify the scope of the literature, and then search the information targeted. For example, under the theme of consumers' online behavior, the sources and the time of the information can be limited to collect the valuable and the typically significant information, Chinese and foreign languages included. The researcher inspects and studies the related books and papers carefully, through the library information network and the search engine to guarantee the reliability and validity of the information (Rowley and Slack, 2004). In this research, secondary data are mainly achieved from literatures and websites. Literature review can address previous findings about nutritional labeling, food labeling, the content and the development history of Chinese nutritional labeling. Journal articles and online reports were utilized. For the secondary data of this dissertation, content analysis method is applied.

3.3 Research ethics

The study will try to avoid conflicts in terms of morality and ethics. The questionnaires are also designed in a moral neutral manner, not forcing any individuals and units involved in the investigation. The real names of respondents will not appear at all in the subsequent discussions, including personal names and the names of multinationals. Moreover, to respect the achievements of previous researchers, author list all of the detailed sources that have been consulted in this dissertation.

3.4 Research limitations and reliability

Oppenheim (1992) points out that disadvantages of questionnaire survey are: Firstly it is generally low response rates, and consequent biases; secondly people with language difficulties; thirdly there is no opportunity to correct misunderstandings or to probe, or to offer explanations or help; fourthly there is no control over the order in which questions are answered, no check on incomplete questionnaires; finally there is no opportunity to collect ratings or assessments based on observation. Then main disadvantage of focus group is there can be disagreements and irrelevant discussion which distract from the main focus (Morgan, 1997). One set of problems involves topics in which the participants' level of involvement is either too low or too high. If the participants' have little involvement with a topic, the researcher may collect only scattered instances of the desired material. Morgan (1997) points out there are problems with having only two focus groups. If what they say is highly similar, then this provides much safer ground in concluding that group dynamics were not responsible for this content. Also, if the discussions in the two groups differ, then this is a fair warning that saturation has not been achieved.

Nevertheless, the integration of them will overcome above advantages. Morgan (1993) suggested focus groups are able to contribute to the development of a quantitative investigation. Focus group data can reflect the actual content of the survey questionnaires which can not been discovered or can easily misled by the surface of them. By the way of involving a group of people to share their thoughts, feelings and opinions on a common subjective, Wimmer (1997) thought focus groups as an effective research strategy to understand responders' attitudes and behavior. Krueger and Casey (2000) suggests that to compare the contrast on how certain types of people talk about an issue they must be separated into different groups. This allows conversation to flow more freely within the group (Morgan, 1997). According to Morgan (1997), compared with the way of participant observation, focus group has an obvious advantage that it can observe a large amount of interaction on a topic in limited time. The rationale behind the grouping was to encourage participation by providing a comfortable environment for the participants, both physically and for psychological reasons. Therefore, with a view to develop the function of focus group adequately, author is centered in improving ability to guide and organize the focus group's emphases. Moreover, with a view to increase the reliability of the results from focus group, author achieves the participant's declaration (Appendix 2 and 3). Regardless the integrated method of quantitative and quantitative analysis approaches, from the perspective of questionnaire, it is also reliable. Each questionnaire will be retained for later inspection. Respondents investigated will not be asked to sign their names on the questionnaire for the sake of personal information security and anonymity. The information will also be gained from forums and E-mails. The quantitative and qualitative methods are both adopted in this research. The literature cited in the study, as well as the legal provisions possibly to be used will be marked with the author, provenance, and the date of the publication or the promulgation. The validity and reliability of the data (whether primary or secondary) to be used for research are ensured by the author.