Food laws were among some of the earliest enactments for which records exist, and can be traced back to times of the earliest societies (Lásztity, Petró-Turza and Földesi, 2009).
Governments over many centuries have endeavoured to provide for the safety and wholesomeness of food by legal provisions and appropriate punitive action. The big changes in food production and distribution because of the industrialization and rapid growth of urban population, together with public health problems, resulted in the production of many food laws in industrialized nations during the latter part of the nineteenth century. The early twentieth century saw the creation of a separate branch of food law with the establishment of most of the national standards organisations in Europe.
The need for improved health and food control, as well as a rapidly expanding international food trade stimulated cooperation on an international level. A process of intensive international standardisation was initiated, and which resulted in the establishment of a framework for the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) shortly after World War II.
A brief summary of global standardisation initiatives for food authenticity testing has been compiled here. Standardisation work in progress on terms and definitions can be found on the Definitions page.