Advice line: 1890 33 66 77

Food Hygiene - Introduction


Following a recommendation of the European Commissions’ White Paper on Food Safety in 2000, a major review of European Community food hygiene legislation was carried out. At the time the legislation governing food hygiene was contained in a number of Directives which had gradually developed since 1964. However, this legislation was a mixture of different disciplines (hygiene, animal health, official controls) and were detailed and complex. It was agreed to recast the legislation to improve, simplify and modernise it and to separate aspects of food hygiene from animal health and food control issues.

As part of the White paper recommendations,   Regulation (EC) No. 178/2002  was adopted on the 28th January 2002. This Regulation establishes the common basis for food law in all Member States and provides the framework for the development of EU food law which includes the suite of legislation referred to as ‘the hygiene package’. Further information on  Regulation (EC) No. 178/2002  can be found in the section titled General Principles of Food Law.

Hygiene Package

The current regime of hygiene rules was adopted in April 2004 by the European Parliament and the Council and became applicable on the 1st January 2006. This collection of legislation is often referred to as ‘The hygiene package’ and it aims to introduce consistency and clarity throughout the food production chain from 'farm to fork'.

The ‘hygiene package’ is comprised of rules on the following:

• Hygiene of foodstuffs 

• Specific hygiene rules for food of animal origin 

• Microbiological criteria for foodstuffs 

• Implementing rules 

• Transitional measures for the new rules 

• National rules


Official controls

• Specific rules for the organisation of official controls on products of animal origin 

• Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 on official controls performed to ensure the verification of compliance with feed and food law, animal health and animal welfare rules 

Last reviewed: 17/1/2012

Food Supplements


Food Labelling