Sunday, September 9, 2012

Food Safety Regulations-Europe

European Commission

The European Union (EU) is an unique economical and political partnership of 27 European countries covering almost the continent Europe. It was created after Second World War. Since then the EU has developed in to a huge single market with Euro as its common currency. One of its main goals is to promote human rights both internally and around the world. Member states of EU are
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvian, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Roumania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.

Policies and Activities of EU

The EU member countries have transferred some of their law-making authority to the EU in certain policy areas, such as agriculture and fisheries. In other areas, such as culture, policy-making is shared between EU and the national governments. Some of the important policy areas of EU are listed below,
  1. Agriculture
  2. Environment
  3. Economic and Monetary affairs
  4. Foreign and security policy
  5. Climate action etc.,
Food safety and Quality, the topic of our interest comes under agriculture which is known as European Common Agricultural Policy.

International Food Councils

Codex Alimentarius (Book of Codex Alimentarius which is called as the bible of food safety), was formed in 1963 by the international food organisations WHO(World Health Organisation) and FAO(Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United States). This commission develops harmonised international food standards, guidelines and codes of practise to protect the health of the consumers and ensure fair trade practises in the food trade. The Commission also promotes coordination of all food standards work undertaken by international governmental and non-governmental organisations. 

EU Agricultural Policy- Not just farming

EU Farm Policy known as Common Agricultural Policy– ensures adequate European food production goes hand in hand with economically viable rural communities and action on environmental challenges such as climate change, water management, bio energy and biodiversity.

Above mentioned bodies are responsible for policies related to agriculture. For food safety and quality EU has


EFSA committed to Europe's Food safety policies from 2002. Also EFSA is responsible for Risk assessments and risk management related to food safety and hygiene. They also provide independent scientific advices on food safety and risk assessment. In Europe, risk assessment is done separately from risk management. EFSA is the main commission works on risk assessment on food safety but risk management is done individually by member state governments by local policies.

EFSA’s remit covers food and feed safety, nutrition, animal health and welfare, plant protection and plant health. In all these fields, EFSA’s most critical commitment is to provide objective and independent science-based advice and clear communication grounded in the most up-to-date scientific information and knowledge.

EFSA’s goal is to become globally recognised as the European reference body for risk assessment on food and feed safety, animal health and welfare, nutrition, plant protection and plant health.

EFSA explains risk assessment of food and feed

Regulation 178/2002

European Council delivers three types of policies for all the states of EU on food safety
  1. Regulations- Obligatory to be followed by all the states of EU
  2. Directives- Should be implement but can be changed according to local policies
  3. Advices- Advices to the states on improvement of policies
Regulation (EC) No 178/2003 of the European Parliament and the Council of 28 January 2002 laid down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and also the procedures in matters of food safety. The key elements of this regulation are
  1. Responsibility of food and feed businesses to ensure that only safe food/feed is placed on the market, and that foods that are unsafe are withdrawn from the market
  2. Rules imposing traceability of all foodstuffs, animal feed and feed ingredients, and procedures for developing food law and dealing with food emergencies
  3. Rapid communication between the Member States on dangerous substances found in feed and possible recalls.
Along with the main regulation 178/2002 there are some more additional regulations delivered by EFSA and EC for different sections on food safety such as
  • Food Labelling proposals - regulation EC 68/2007
  • Allergens- Regulation EC 5/2008
  • Nutrition and Health Claims- Regulation EC 1924/2006
  • Addition of vitamins, minerals- Regulation EC 1925/2006
  • Novel Foods- Regulation EC 258/97
  • Microbiological criteria- Regulation EC 2073/2005
  • Pesticide level on food- Regulation EC 396/2005
  • Labelling of organic foods- Regulation EC 834/2007
  • Quality of Milk- Regulation EC 273/2008
  • Absence of Gluten- Directive 89/398/EEC
Whenever a new regulation is passed by EC the old regulation which was under practice is replaced by the new one if its on the same subject. So the regulations on food safety are updated by EC and EFSA continuously by research. Continuing this article we will be discussing about some state food regulations and bodies in France. 


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