The 2004 rules merged, harmonised and simplified detailed and complex hygiene requirements previously contained in a number of Council Directives covering the hygiene of foodstuffs and the production and placing on the market of products of animal origin.
The rules in place since 2006 innovate in making a single, transparent hygiene policy applicable to all food and all food operators right through the food chain ("from farm to fork"), together with effective instruments to manage food safety and any future food crises throughout the food chain.
A Commission report (2009) recounts the experience gained, including the difficulties encountered (in 2006, 2007 and 2008) from the implementation of the hygiene package by all interested actors. It does not suggest any detailed solutions to the difficulties reported and is, therefore, not accompanied by proposals.
The report is accompanied by a Staff Working Document where annexes referred to in the report can be found.
The hygiene rules include flexibility for certain establishments e.g. micro-enterprises explained in the following document:
A Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the future necessity and use of mechanically separated meat in the EU, including the information policy towards consumers, was adopted on 2 December 2010.