What is the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP)?

usp logo

The U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) is a U.S.-based international scientific consortium and nonprofit that issues and maintains safety standards for foods and drugs. Today these ratings are used by more than 140 countries as a universal governing standard for determining and recognizing food grade quality.

The USP also provides participants with its free Food Fraud Database, an online database that is easily searchable to identify known issues of risk and fraud in the food and drug industry.

But perhaps the USP’s most significant contribution to the international standardization of food grade and safety guidelines is the USP Food Chemicals Codex (FCC). This weighty tome includes all known international standards that indicate food purity, ingredients identification and food grade safety. The codex has been published since 1966 and, since its acquisition by the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention in 2006, has been maintained by the USP ever since. These standards are capable of offering what any other single governing agency or organization, governmental or private, cannot – a centralizing influence over the food, food ingredients, food additives, food packaging and food grade industry as a whole.

By understanding in greater depth what “food grade” refers to and how to verify it, individuals and organizations reduce the risk of contamination via growing, manufacturing, preparation, production, packaging, distribution and consumption of food grade items today.