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The EU integrated approach to food safety aims to assure a high level of food safety, animal health, animal welfare and plant health within the European Union through coherent farm-to-table measures and adequate monitoring, while ensuring the effective functioning of the internal market.

The implementation of this approach involves the development of legislative and other actions:

  • to assure effective control systems and evaluate compliance with EU standards in the food safety and quality, animal health, animal welfare, animal nutrition and plant health sectors within the EU and in third countries in relation to their exports to the EU;
  • to manage international relations with third countries and international organisations concerning food safety, animal health, animal welfare, animal nutrition and plant health;
  • to manage relations with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and ensure science-based risk management.

The integrated approach to food safety is covered by the following web sections.

Food overview


Every European citizen has the right to know how the food he eats is produced, processed, packaged, labelled and sold.

The central goal of the European Commission's Food Safety policy is to ensure a high level of protection of human health regarding the food industry — Europe’s largest manufacturing and employment sector.

The Commission's guiding principle - primarily set out in its White Paper on Food Safety - is to apply an integrated approach from farm to fork covering all sectors of the food chain.

Animals overview


The objective of the Animal Health policy is to raise the health status and improve the conditions of the animals in the EU, in particular food-producing animals, whilst permitting intra-Community trade and imports of animals and animal products in accordance with the appropriate health standards and international obligations.

The general aim of the Animal Welfare policy is to ensure that animals don’t need to endure avoidable pain or suffering and obliges the owner/keeper of animals to respect minimum welfare requirements.

The EU zootechnical legislation aims at the promotion of free trade in breeding animals and their genetic material considering the sustainability of breeding programs and preservation of genetic resources.

Plants overview


The European Commission takes actively part in the setting of international phytosanitary and quality standards for plants and plant products.

EU legislation has, over the years, provided for the harmonised protection of our 'green resources'. Issues like pesticides, plant variety rights or Genetically Modified Organisms are some of the topics you will find in this section.