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Regulation (EC) No. 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council 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

Type of law

This Regulation, which consists of five Chapters, has been adopted in order to provide the basis for the assurance of a high level of protection of human health and consumers’ interest as regards food. It establishes common principles and responsibilities as well as the means to provide a strong science base, the efficient organizational arrangements and procedures to support decision-making in matters of food and food safety. The Regulation shall apply to all stages of production, processing and distribution of food and feed. However, it shall not apply to primary production for private domestic use nor to the domestic preparation, handling or storage of food for private domestic consumption. For the purposes of these provisions, article 2 lays down the definition of food. The general principles hereby established shall be applied also to feed produced for food-producing animals. Chapter II of the Regulation contains the said general principles. It consists of the following four Sections: (1) General Principles of Food Law (risk analysis, precautionary principle, protection of consumers’ interest); (2) Principles of Transparency (public consultation and information during the preparation or revision of food law, access to public information); (3) General Obligations of Food Trade (imports, exports); (4) General Requirements of Food Law (food and feed safety requirements, presentation, advertising and labelling requirements, responsibilities of food and feed business operators). Chapter III of the Regulation sets up the European Food Safety Authority, which shall provide scientific advice as well as scientific and technical support for the Community’s legislation and policies in all fields having an impact on food and feed safety. It shall particularly take account of animal health and welfare, plant health and the environment. Article 23 describes with detail its tasks and functions, which include inter alia collection of data (art. 33). Chapter IV establishes, as a network, a rapid alert system for the notification of any direct or indirect risk to human health from food or feed. The system shall involve Member States, the Commission and the above-mentioned authority. Article 53 establishes emergency measures.
Date of text
Entry into force notes
This Regulation entered into force on 21 February 2002. Nevertheless, articles 11 and 12 as well as articles 14 to 20 shall apply from 1 January 2005.
An unofficial consolidated version of the present Regulation as amended last by Regulation (EU) No. 652/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 is attached.
Serial Imprint
Official Journal L 31, 1 February 2002, pp. 1-24.
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