European citizens need to have access to safe and wholesome food of the highest standard.
A series of food incidents in late 1990s draw attention to the need to establish general principles and requirements concerning food and feed law at Union level. Accordingly, the European Commission developed an integrated approach to food safety 'fromfarm to table', primarily set out in its White Paper on Food Safety . It covers all sectors of the food chain, including feed production, primary production, food processing, storage, transport and retail sale.
In 2002, the European Parliament and the Council adopted Regulation (EC) No 178/2002laying down the general principles and requirements of food law (General Food Law Regulation).
The General Food Law Regulation is the foundation of food and feed law. It sets outs an overarching and coherent framework for the development of food and feed legislation both at Union and national levels. To this end, it lays down general principles, requirements and procedures that underpin decision making in matters of food and feed safety, covering all stages of food and feed production and distribution.
It also sets up an independent agency responsible for scientific advice and support, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
Moreover, it creates the main procedures and tools for the management of emergencies and crises as well as the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF).
The General Food Law Regulation ensures a high level of protection of human life and consumers' interests in relation to food, while ensuring the effective functioning of the internal market.