Questions and answers on the Codex Alimentarius Guidelines for Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF)

An introduction to the Guidelines, including their main objectives and impact, and how to use them.

Mother holding a child
UNICEF/UNI462546/Mohamdeen

About

The Codex Guidelines for Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF), adopted in November 2022, defines RUTF as a food for special medical purposes (FSMP) and sets out the rules for food safety and requirements for its nutritional composition.

It provides international food standards, guidelines and codes of practice that contribute to the safety and quality of food. These standards help to protect consumer health and ensure fair practices in the international food trade. Governments can use the Codex RUTF Guideline to regulate manufacturers as they scale up RUTF production to tackle the malnutrition crisis currently affecting millions of children. In many countries, food legislation is consistent with Codex. However, a government can choose to adopt a higher or lower level of protection provided there is a justification based on scientific, health or other legitimate grounds.

The CODEX Alimentarius Commission (CAC) is a joint body of FAO and WHO, that develops international food standards and guidelines. The new guideline also enables the development of new versions of this life-saving product that are best suited for the local context.

This document provides a short introduction to the Guidelines, describing how to use them and their main objectives and impact.