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General Provisions

The pursuit of a high level of protection of human life and health is one of the fundamental objectives of food law, as laid down in Regulation (EC) No 178/2002. The Regulation also lays down other common principles and definitions for national and EU food law. It places primary responsibility to produce safe food on the food business operator (FBO). The Regulation defines a food business as "any undertaking, whether for profit or not and whether public or private, carrying out any of the activities related to any stage of production, processing and distribution of food;" and food business operator as " the natural or legal persons responsible for ensuring that the requirements of food law are met within the food business under their control ".

Regulation (EC) 178/2002 places the following responsibilities on FBOs:

  • Safety - FBOs shall not place unsafe food on the market
  • Responsibility - FBOs are responsible for the safety of the food which they produce, transport, store or sell
  • Traceability - FBOs must be able to rapidly identify any supplier or consignee
  • Transparency - FBOs must immediately inform the competent authorities if they have a reason to believe that their food is not safe
  • Emergency - FBOs must immediately withdraw food from the market if they have a reason to believe that it is not safe
  • Prevention - FBOs must identify and regularly review the critical points in their processes and ensure that controls are applied at these points
  • Co-operation - FBOs must co-operate with the competent authorities in actions taken to reduce risks