The globalisation of the food chain is continually throwing up new challenges and risks to the health and interests of EU consumers. The central goal of the European Union's food safety policy is to achieve the highest possible levels of protection for human health and consumers' interests in relation to food. This it seeks to do by ensuring that food is safe and appropriately labelled - taking into account diversity, including traditional products - while at the same time ensuring the effective functioning of the internal market. To that end, the EU has developed a comprehensive body of food safety legislation, which is being continually monitored and adapted as new developments arise. This legislation is based on risk analysis. The establishment of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) was a key step to support the work of the EU institutions in protecting EU consumers in this field, providing independent scientific advice on existing and emerging risks.
The guiding principle of EU food safety policy is to apply an integrated approach from farm to table, covering all sectors of the food chain, including feed production, plant and animal health, animal welfare, primary production, food processing, storage, transport, retail sale, importing and exporting. This comprehensive and integrated approach, where the responsibilities of the food and feed operators and the competent authorities are clearly defined, represents a more coherent, effective and dynamic food policy.