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Food Safety


EU Rules regarding Food Hygiene cover all stages of the production, processing, distribution and placing on the market of food intended for human consumption.

"Placing on the market" means the holding of food for the purpose of sale, including offering for sale, or any other form of transfer, whether free of charge or not, and the sale, distribution and other forms of transfer themselves.

The rules for food business operators adopted in April 2004 and that came into force on 1 January 2006 are provided for in the following key acts:

The hygiene rules take particular account of the following principles:

  • Primary responsibility for food safety borne by the food business operator
  • Food safety ensured throughout the food chain, starting with primary production
  • General implementation of procedures based on the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points principles (HACCP)
  • Application of basic common hygiene requirements, possibly further specified for certain categories of food
  • Registration or approval for certain food establishments
  • Development of guides to good practice for hygiene or for the application of HACCP principles as a valuable instrument to aid food business operators at all levels of the food chain to comply with the new rules.
  • Flexibility provided for food produced in remote areas (high mountains, remote islands) and for traditional production and methods

NB: Primary production for domestic use and domestic preparation of food for private consumption are not regulated by Community rules

Rules for competent authorities

The rules for competent authorities on official controls and import conditions for food of animal origin were revised on 14 December 2019, implementing or supplementing Regulation (EU) 2017/625:

Additional specific implementing Regulations of the hygiene package

Related key rules

  • Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety
  • Regulation (EU) 2017/625: Official Control Regulation.
  • Regulation (EU) 2016/429 on transmissible animal diseases and amending and repealing certain acts in the area of animal health (Animal Health Law)

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