Dr David Jukes, The University of Reading, UK

Providng access to food law since May 1996

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Last updated, 19 April, 2024

Food Hygiene

Providing access to EU and UK legislation

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Note: The topic of food hygiene overlaps with official controls. See: Official Control Legislation in the EU. In addition to the legislation mentioned here, there are additional veterianry and zootechnical controls which may have relevance.

Early EU hygiene legislation was developed as part of the controls of animal production and is often termed 'veterinary legislation'. This area was originally the responsibility of the part of the Commission known as Directorate-General (DG) VI (Agriculture). Manufactured food products were mainly the responsibility of DG III (Industry or, later, Internal Market) where more general controls (often term 'horizontal' legislation) were introduced as part of the 'internal market' programme. This included Directive 93/43 on hygiene for foodstuffs not covered by the various veterinary hygiene controls. DG VI also developed a large number of new Directives in support of the 'internal market' programme - each one was for a different type of animal product (often termed a 'vertical' approach').

Following the BSE crisis and the adoption of a more unified structure within the European Commission with the creation of DG Health and Consumer Protection, there was considerable pressure to produce a more simplified legislative system. The adoption of the Commission's White Paper on Food Safety (in 2000) eventually provide the incentive to make progress and a fully updated set of 3 hygiene regulations was adopted in 2004 - known at the time as the 'hygiene package'. This included Regulation 852/2004, Regulation 853/2004 and Regulation 854/2004. These 3 Regulations have since been amended and supplemented by additional controls with Regulation 854/2004 being completely replaced by updated comprehensive official controls contained in Regulation 2017/625.

The following diagram, covering both hygiene and official controls, illustrates how the 2004 'hygiene package' and the 2004 official control regulation updated the earlier legislation (note that amendments to the former Directives have not been shown):

A pdf file of this figure is also available. See: Development of EU Official Control and Hygiene Legislation Figure

The following diagram illustrates the amendments and additions that have taken place to the 3 hygiene controls since the new controls were adopted in 2004:

A larger version of this figure (as pdf) is also available. See: EU Food Hygiene - Developments since 2004

For the Commission's page on this topic, see: Food Hygiene.

EU Legislation - the 'Hygiene Package'

Quick Links to Consolidated Texts
(but check below for additional amendments not yet included) :

Adopted at the same time as the 'Hygiene Package' was a Directive specifically designed to repeal the various Directives which had provided requirements for hygiene of foods derived from animal products:

Consolidated Texts

As there have been significant amendments, it is easiest to consult the consolidated versions of the Regulations which contain an updated version of the complete text of the amended Regulations - these may however not contain any very recent amendments.:

EU Legislation - Implementing measures

Consolidated Texts

Where there have been significant amendments, it is easiest to consult the consolidated versions of the Regulations which contain the complete current text of the amended Regulations:

Supporting Documents

The following publications provide additional guidance:

COMMISSION NOTICE on the implementation of food safety management systems covering Good Hygiene Practices and procedures based on the HACCP principles, including the facilitation/flexibility of the implementation in certain food businesses (OJ C 355, 16.9.2022, page 1)

Replaced the original 2016 version - see: COMMISSION NOTICE (OJ C278, 30.7.2016, page 1)

FoodDrinkEurope Publication: Guidelines on Food Allergen Management in the Supply Chain

This short publication (4 pages) is linked to the above Commission Notice and, for food allergen management, provides many useful supporting links.

Guidance on the Implementation of Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/2158 of 20 November 2017 Establishing Mitigation Measures and Benchmark Levels for the Reduction of the Presence of Acrylamide in Food (Published January 2020)

FoodDrinkEurope Guidelines on food safety culture - Food Safety Culture: From Theory to Practice

Published by FoodDrinkEurope in June 2023. Provides some guidance linked to the hygiene requirements established by the amending Regulation 2021/382

UK Legislation

Brexit: Prior to the IP Completion Day (31 December 2020), the legal requirements given in the EU Regulations listed above still applied to the UK. Since IP Completion Day, the EU Regulations above have been incorporated into UK legislation but with amendments to correct deficiencies. Information on this is given below. For more details of the process of incorporating EU legislation into UK law, see the separate page: UK Food Law: EU Legislation as Amended for the UK. Provisions for the enforcement of the controls (originally the EU Regulations but now as amended) have been provided in the UK Regulations listed below. For Northern Ireland, EU rules still apply.

1st January 2021: For interim guidance, see:

EU Legislation amended for application in the UK: with links to


Requirements for implementation and enforcement are provided separately for the four parts of the United Kingdom. Use the links to access the documents on

This page was first provided on 19 July 2010
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