Skip to main content

Quick-Frozen Food

EU legislation

Council Directive 89/108/EEC (OJ L 40, p34, 12/02/1989) of 21 December 1988 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to quick-frozen foodstuffs for human consumption.

Implementing Measures

  • Commission Directive 92/2/EEC (OJ L 34, p30, 11/2/1992) of 13 January 1992 laying down the sampling procedure and the Community method of analysis for the official control of the temperatures of quick-frozen foods intended for human consumption
  • Commission Regulation (EC) No 37/2005 (OJ L 10, p18, 13/01/2005) of 12 January 2005 on the monitoring of temperatures in the means of transport, warehousing and storage of quick-frozen foodstuffs intended for human consumption

National legislation

  • European Communities (Quick-Frozen Foodstuffs) Regulations 1992 (S.I. No. 290 of 1992)
  • European Communities (Monitoring of Temperature in the means of Transport, Warehousing and Storage of Quick-Frozen Foodstuffs and Sampling Procedure and Methods of Analysis for Control of the Temperatures of Quick-Frozen foods intended for human consumption) Regulations, 1995 (S.I. No. 370 of 1995)

'Quick-frozen' foodstuffs are defined in the above legislation as those foodstuffs which

  • have undergone a suitable freezing process known as 'quick-freezing' whereby the zone of maximum crystallization is crossed as rapidly as possible, depending on the type of product, and the resulting temperature of the product (after thermal stabilization) is continuously maintained at a level of -18 °C or lower at all points, and
  • which are marketed in such a way as to indicate that they possess this characteristic

The Regulations only apply to foodstuffs which have undergone the quick freezing process as specified. Air, nitrogen and carbon dioxide meeting specific purity criteria are the permitted cryogenic agents. The temperatures at which quick-frozen foodstuffs shall be distributed and stored, and the appropriate labelling requirements and enforcement procedures are set out. An indication must be given as to the minimum durability of the product and the appropriate length of time that the product can be stored by the purchaser. Products should be labelled 'quick-frozen'. Quick-frozen foods must be packaged in pre-packaging which protects them against external contamination and drying.

The Regulations also deal with the monitoring of temperature in the means of transport, warehousing and storage for quick-frozen foodstuffs intended for human consumption. Sampling procedures and methods of analysis for control of the temperatures of quick-frozen foods are also described. Manufacturers, storers, transporters, local distributors and retailers of quick frozen foodstuffs should fit their means of storage or transport with appropriate instruments for monitoring or measuring air temperature and keep appropriate records.