Food Law News - EU - 2005

FSA Consultation, 29 July 2005

FOOD LAW - Guidance on the General Food Law Regulation 178/2002

Comments are sought on EC guidance on Articles 11, 12 and 16–20 of the General Food Law Regulation EC 178/2002. This will enable us to assess how the EC guidance has been working in practice and inform a Commission review of the EC guidance due to begin in September and to be completed by the end of year. Responses are requested by: 20 October 2005

Consultation details

The guidance notes seek to distinguish between what businesses need to do to comply with the legal requirements of Regulation 178/2002 and what they can do by way of best practice. The key elements of the guidance notes concern:

The Agency has inserted additional clarification in shaded boxes. We would welcome feedback on whether this clarification is useful to business and whether in your view this should be taken into account in any revised EC guidance.

Views are also sought on revised Agency guidance notes on food requirements, which have been amended to include guidance on Article 14 and the concept of ‘unfit’ food.

Formal consultations on the requirements of Regulation 178/2002, domestic ‘implementing’ legislation and accompanying Food Standards Agency guidance notes were carried out in 2001 and 2004. However, the European Commission published its own guidance on 20 January, which was subsequently incorporated into revised Agency guidance. The European Commission has announced that a review of this guidance will begin later in the year, and the Agency has decided to consult formally on it in order to inform this process.

The EC guidance is more detailed than the original UK guidance notes. In particular, this guidance is more specific about:

The EC guidance also encourages food and feed businesses to adopt ‘internal traceability’ systems, even though this is not a legal requirement under Regulation 178/2002.


EC Regulation 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, came into force on 21 February 2002, although certain key provisions did not apply until 1 January 2005. The draft Regulation was subject to an extensive consultation process with stakeholders. It was published in the Official Journal No. L 31 on 1 February 2002, and can be accessed via the Commission website. Although as an EC Regulation it is directly applicable in Member States, there was nevertheless a need to review domestic legislation in order to ensure that this was in conformity with both the general principles and the requirements of the Regulation. There was also a need to introduce new enforcement powers and penalties in relation to the obligations on food and feed businesses in Articles 14 – 20, to apply from 1 January 2005. Three new Statutory Instruments were adopted to meet these requirements.

Agency guidance notes on the new legislative requirements for food were issued on 31 December 2004. EC guidance was issued on 20 January. The Agency guidance was subsequently revised to take account of the EC guidance and reissued for comment on 10 March. The EC guidance can be accessed as a pdf document on the EU website.

See the draft documents:

To go to main Foodlaw-Reading Index page, click here.