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Standards, norms & certifications

Why to deal with this? Growing concerns about food quality and safety have led to an increasing number of standards and regulations released by different organisations.

Compliance with the respective standard is usually certified by independent certification bodies.

The standards can be divided in mandatory or voluntary standards. Four levels of standard ruling/ standards setting organisations can be distinguished:

  • multilateral standard ruling (e.g. WTO) and multilateral standard setting organisation (e.g. Codex Alimentarius)
  • supranational standard setting organisations (e.g. trading blocs like the EU)
  • national standard setting organisations (e.g. EU member states)
  • private industry and trade (e.g. collective and corporate standards)

The following graph is an overview over the most important standards in Europe:

Overview of international food standards, Source: GIZ 2007

There are additional standards for aspects of the product other than food quality or hygiene, such as organic or sustainability labels or seals.

When is it suitable/applicable? In order for a food product to be traded in the EU market, it needs to comply with the mandatory standards. Moreover, non-compliance with common voluntary standards (such as HACCP, IFS) can seriously hamper market entry for those products.
When is it NOT suitable/applicable? For different product groups, different standards apply (e.g., if you manufacture food processing equipment, you will need to comply with different standard than if you produce meat products). Therefore you need to check whether your products complies with the standards demanded by retail and trade in your sector.warning.png"For different product groups, different standards apply (e.g., if you manufacture food processing equipment, you will need to comply with different standard than if you produce meat products). Therefore you need to check whether your products complies with the standards demanded by retail and trade in your sector." cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.
What costs are related to it (financial, time effort etc.)? Calculate enough time and money to set up an efficient quality management system and to go through the certification process (audits, documentation etc.) .

What’s the relevant HTE output? Hightech Europe does not focus on food labels and standards.
Whom can I talk to from the HTE team? Most partners are familiar with these or can put you in touch with an organisation that is.

Relevant internet links Links:

- Very extensive document on food quality and safety standards as required by EU Law and industry: http://www2.gtz.de/dokumente/bib/07-0800.pdf - Website of Codex Alimentarius: http://www.codexalimentarius.org/ - IFS certification http://www.ifs-certification.com As there are innumerable standards, we cannot give a full acoount of the most useful internet sources. Further information on specific standards is available on the internet.warning.png"Links: - Very extensive document on food quality and safety standards as required by EU Law and industry: http://www2.gtz.de/dokumente/bib/07-0800.pdf - Website of Codex Alimentarius: http://www.codexalimentarius.org/ - IFS certification http://www.ifs-certification.com As there are innumerable standards, we cannot give a full acoount of the most useful internet sources. Further information on specific standards is available on the internet." cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

Online databases and tools Tools:

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Where to get advice, consultancy? - Certification bodies (TUEV, Bureau Veritas, etc.)

- Private law firms specialised on food law - National food standards agencies

Related innovation sheets EU food legislation, Legal x pre feasibility, Legal x feasibility, Legal x development, Legal x launching

Title Standards, norms & certifications
Aspect Legal/IP
Latest Version 28-08-2012
Completed by ZENIT


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Created by Hte zenit on 28 August 2012, at 15:28