CODEX Standard for Fish Oil

The CODEX Alimentarius Commission approved a Codex Standard for Fish Oils as proposed by the Codex Committee for Fats and Oils (CCFO) in 2017. The purpose of this Standard was to protect consumer health and promote fair practices in the trade of fish oil. The guidelines, standards and recommendations produced by Codex are not legally binding; however, they do provide a template used by the World Trade Organization (WTO) as an agreed benchmark in global trade disputes.

fish oil

The Codex Standard for Fish Oil can be found in the downloads section of this page and covers the following areas:

  • Scope: Aim and purpose
  • Description: Products to be covered 
  • Essential Composition and Quality Factors:  Fatty acid composition range for named fish oils and limits for quality parameters such as Peroxide Value and Free Fatty Acids.
  • Food Additives:  Such as including tocopherols and rosemary extract as additive in fish oils.
  • Contaminants:  Maximum levels for e.g., arsenic and lead
  • Hygiene:  General and Microbiological
  • Labelling:  Requirements and information needed on labels e.g., possible labelling for farmed salmon
  • Methods of Analysis and Sampling:  Prescribed methods of analysis for the quality parameters and contaminants

It is important to ensure that the Standard for Fish Oil is relevant and applies to currently traded named fish oils. Codex relies on the industry to inform them of any problems with and non-conformances found that is relevant to the standard. IFFO, represented by our then Technical Manager Dr Gretel Bescoby, attended the 2017 Codex Committee on Fats and Oils (CCFO) as an expert on Fish Oil biochemistry, and was able to contribute to the discussion on behalf of IFFO members and ensure a realistic approach to the standard.