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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
Date of original text

This Regulation lays down the general principles governing food and feed in general, and food and feed safety in particular, at the Community and national levels, in order to ensure a high level of protection of human health and consumers' interest in relation to food, taking into account in particular the diversity in the supply of food including traditional products, whilst ensuring the effective func tioning of the internal market. This Regulation 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 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 and exports of food and feed and international standards); and (4) General Requirements of Food Law (food and feed safety requirements, presentation, responsibilities of food and feed business operators, traceability of food, feed, food-producing animals, and any other substance intended to be, or expected to be, incorporated into a food or feed and liability for defective products).
Chapter III of the Regulation establishes 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. The Authority shall particularly take account of animal health and welfare, plant health and the environment, in the context of the operation of the internal market. Article 23 describes with detail the tasks and functions of the Authority, which include inter alia the collection of data relating to: (a) food consumption and the exposure of individuals to risks related to the consumption of food; (b) incidence and prevalence of biological risk; (c) contaminants in food and feed; and (d) residues (art. 33).
Chapter IV sets out rules regarding the establishment of a rapid alert system for the notification of any direct or indirect risk to human health from food or feed; the establishment of emergency measures for food and feed of Community origin or imported from a third country; development of a general plan for crisis management in the field of the safety of food and feed; and the establishment of a crisis unit and its tasks.
Date of consolidation/reprint
Entry into force notes
This Regulation shall enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Communities. However, articles 11 and 12 and articles 14 to 20 shall apply from 1 January 2005. Articles 29, 56, 57 and 60 and Article 62(1) shall apply as from the date of appointment of the members of the Scientific Committee and of the Scientific Panels.
An unofficial consolidated version of the present Regulation as amended last by the Regulation (EU) 2019/1381 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 is attached.
Serial Imprint
Official Journal L 31, 1 February 2002, pp. 1-24.
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