European Union

Food safety in the EU

Ensuring safe food from farm to fork

Health protection is the aim of all EU laws and standards in the agriculture, animal husbandry and food production sectors. An extensive body of EU-wide law covers the entire food production and processing chain within the EU, as well as imported and exported goods.

EU countries implement these harmonised standards and establish controls to enforce them. The EU audits the application and effectiveness of the laws and controls, and also provides training to the responsible EU and international authorities.

EU food safety policy and action is concentrated in 4 main areas of protection:

  • Food hygiene: food businesses, from farms to restaurants, must comply with EU food law, including those importing food to the EU.
  • Animal health: sanitary controls and measures for pets, farmed animals and wildlife monitor and manage diseases, and trace the movement of all farm animals.
  • Plant health: detection and eradication of pests at an early stage prevents spreading and ensures healthy seeds.
  • Contaminants and residues: monitoring keeps contaminants away from food and animal feed. Maximum acceptable limits apply to domestic and imported food and feed products.

 

The European food safety authority (EFSA) provides independent risk assessments and scientific advice which inform the EU’s food safety standards.

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