Food Safety

The European Union’s food safety policy aims to protect consumers, while guaranteeing the smooth operation of the single market.

Dating from 2003, the policy centres on the concept of traceability both of inputs (e.g. animal feed) and of outputs (e.g. primary production, processing, storage, transport and retail sale). The EU has agreed standards to ensure food hygiene, animal health and welfare, and plant health and to control contamination from external substances, such as pesticides. Rigorous checks are carried out at every stage, and imports (e.g. meat) from outside the EU are required to meet the same standards and go through the same checks as food produced within the EU.

From Farm to Fork

EU food safety policy and action is concentrated in 4 main areas of protection:

  • Food hygiene: food businesses, from farms to restaurants, must comply with EU food law, including those importing food to the EU.
  • Animal health: sanitary controls and measures for pets, farmed animals and wildlife monitor and manage diseases, and trace the movement of all farm animals.
  • Plant health: detection and eradication of pests at an early stage prevents spreading and ensures healthy seeds.
  • Contaminants and residues: monitoring keeps contaminants away from food and animal feed. Maximum acceptable limits apply to domestic and imported food and feed products.

Expert Group Member

ECSLA is a member of the European Commission´s Advisory Group on the Food Chain and Animal and Plant Health. The Advisory Group on the Food Chain has been established in 2004 in order to consult stakeholders in an open and transparent way at the European level during the preparation, revision and evaluation of EU food legislation.

It provides the European Commission with stakeholders’ views on food safety policy, and specifically on issues related to food safety and food labelling and presentation. The Advisory Group is composed of 45 EU-level stakeholder organisations.