Food Law News - EU - 2009

FSA Interested Parties Letter (ECO 156), 20 August 2009

HYGIENE – Commission Report: EU Review of Food Hygiene Legislation

This letter updates you on the European Commission’s review of EU food hygiene legislation, and seeks your views on how the issues raised by the Commission might be taken forward.


New EU food hygiene laws have applied in the UK since January 2006. These are:

The regulations were implemented in England by the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006. Similar regulations apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

As these regulations took an innovative approach to EU hy giene legislation, the food hygiene package contains the legal requirement for the Commission to submit a report to the European Parliament and Council, reviewing the experience gained from their application and, if appropriate, accompanying the report with relevant proposals. Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 also requires the Commission to consider if it is desirable and practicable to extend the HACCP requirements to primary producers.

Recent developments

The European Commission has been gathering evidence for this review over the past year or so, and has recently published its report. [A copy is avialble on this site. See: Commission's Hygiene Report]

The report is a factual account of experience so far, as reported to the Commission by Member States, industry and consumer representatives, and the Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office. The report states that the overall experience of the food hygiene package is regarded as positive, and there is broad support for the principles introduced by the Regulations. Member States do not consider that the package requires a fundamental overhaul, given the relatively limited experience of implementation. The report concludes there is no support for extending the application of HACCP-based procedures to primary production at this time. The Commission has found that the application of the new legislation did not lead to any major issues and overall Member States have taken the necessary steps to ensure compliance.

The report does identify some difficulties in implementation, but it does not suggest any detailed solutions. The report is not accompanied by any legislative proposals.

Next steps

It is not yet clear how the Commission intends to take forward the review, or whether it plans to bring forward any proposals to amend the current legislation. Sweden currently has the rotating EU Presidency, and has planned three Working Groups this autumn to give Member States opportunity to discuss the content of the Commission’s report. The first of these Working Groups is expected to take place on 14 September.

In the meantime we are developing our response to the report and would welcome your views on it. In particular:

It would be helpful to have your comments before the first meeting of the Working Group on 14 September.

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