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EU food legislation

Why to deal with this? In all Member States and many third countries, the overarching principles concerning food safety and consumer protection are established in national legislation. However, at EU level, food legislation has evolved without some of these basic principles having been established in an overarching legal instrument.

On the 28th of January 2002 the European Parliament and the Council adopted Regulation (EC)178/2002 laying down the General Principles and requirements of Food Law. The aim of the General Food Law Regulation is to provide a framework to ensure a coherent approach in the development of food legislation. At the same time, it provides the general framework for those areas not covered by specific harmonised rules but where the functioning of the Internal Market is ensured by mutual recognition. European legislation in the food sector covers, most importantly, the following issues:

  • food safety and food hygiene
  • use of pesticides, food supplements, colourings, antibiotics or hormones
  • addition of vitamins, minerals and similar substances to foods
  • products in contact with foodstuffs, such as plastic packaging
  • food labeling
  • health claims
When is it suitable/applicable? When developing a new product/process, make sure at an early stage that you have taken into account all relevant food, packaging and labeling legislation to avoid legal problems and market access delays. Apart from EU law, have in mind that in certain target market(s) you may have to meet additional requirements. Check national legislation, too.
When is it NOT suitable/applicable? For products sold in the EU, food legislation must be complied with at all times.
What costs are related to it (financial, time effort etc.)? It is worthwhile to take some time to check the applicable European and national food legislation in order to avoid additional costs (caused by needs to re-design or re-develop a products, changes in packaging/labelling, etc) at a later stage.

What’s the relevant HTE output? Food legislation is not the focus of the Hightech Europe project. However, EU food law is highly relevant to innovations stemming from biotechnology and nanotechnology. The research insitutes and technologies which can be found by using the search function of this Food Tech Innovation Portal will be able to advise on who can help concerning which legal issue.
Whom can I talk to from the HTE team? All partners should be able to signpost you to organisations competent in the area of food law.

Relevant internet links Links:
Online databases and tools n/a
Where to get advice, consultancy? Support:
  • Enterprise Europe Network
  • Relevant national and regional ministries
  • Food standards agencies
  • Law firms specialized in food law
  • Food clusters and food industry associations
  • Chambers of Commerce
Related innovation sheets Hygiene requirements, Standards, norms & certifications, Legal x pre feasibility, Legal x feasibility, Legal x development, Legal x launching

Title EU food legislation
Aspect Legal
Latest Version 23-07-2012
Completed by ZENIT


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Created by Hte zenit on 23 July 2012, at 14:57