Dr David Jukes, The University of Reading, UK

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Last updated, 8 February, 2019

Food Hygiene Legislation in the European Union

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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.

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 Figure

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

"Hygiene Package" - Main Legal Documents

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.:

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:

This page was first provided on 19 July 2010
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