Food safety and general food law

Food safety and general food law

drinks production plant

Under general food law food businesses have responsibility for keeping traceability records whereas enforcement officers have responsibility to check that traceability records are being kept to meet the requirements of the general food law.

Food businesses have responsibility for ensuring food safety, the keeping of traceability records and withdrawal, recall and notification of unsafe food, for food export and presentation of food.

It is the responsibility of enforcement officers when carrying out food safety inspections to check that traceability records are being kept to meet the requirements of Regulation (EC) 178/2002 on general food law and any other regulation relevant to specific foods and that appropriate advice given on best practice with regard to traceability. For example best practice may include internal traceability and where there is effective internal traceability more targeted withdrawals or recalls may be carried out even though this is not strictly necessary in law.

In England, the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 at Regulation 19.1 creates offences for breach of Regulation 178/2002. These are set out in Schedule 2 (specified EU provisions) of the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013. In Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales the traceability requirements contained in Regulation (EC) 178/2002 are enforced by Regulations 3 (b), 4 (c), and 6 (a) of the General Food Regulations 2004.

Food authorities have responsibility for enforcing these Regulations and taking appropriate action in cases of breach or possible breach. For details on what measures may be appropriate see the sections in the Food Law Code of Practice on prosecutions, improvement notices, prohibition procedures, emergency prohibition procedures, detention of food, and seizure of food, informal approached, etc.

The main provisions, offences and defences of the relevant legislation are available at: http://www.food.gov.uk/foodindustry/regulation/foodlaw/