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Food products of animal origin – official controls


Regulation (EC) No 854/2004 on the organisation of official checks on products of animal origin intended for human consumption



It lays down specific rules for organising official checks on food intended for human consumption.


The legislation places the following requirements on all EU countries:

  • National authorities must approve premises that comply with EU food hygiene rules and give each one a code to indicate the types of products involved.
  • Food businesses must offer every assistance to inspectors carrying out the checks. This includes providing access to all buildings and to any documentation or records requested.
  • Audits of good hygiene practice must cover issues such as design and maintenance of premises and equipment, pest and temperature control and hygiene training.
  • The competent authority must perform special ‘hazard analysis and critical control point-based’ procedures, to verify whether food businesses apply EU rules on microbiological criteria, residues, contaminants and prohibited substances.
  • Inspectors check whether staff at all stages of the production process apply the relevant rules. They may examine the company's records, take samples for laboratory analysis and assess any risks that may be present.

The legislation covers different types of food:

  • Fresh meat: an official veterinarian must carry out specific checks both before and after animals are killed in slaughterhouses, game handling premises and plants where meat is cut and prepared for sale.
  • Live bivalve molluscs: national authorities classify the areas from which shellfish such as oysters, mussels and clams are harvested according to the cleanliness of the water. The classification determines whether the shellfish may be sold directly for human consumption or may first need to be treated in a purification centre.
  • Fishery products: regular checks are made on the hygiene conditions of fishing vessels, markets (auction and wholesale), storage and transportation conditions and on the fish themselves when they are landed and first sold.
  • Untreated (i.e. raw) milk and dairy products: checks verify that the requirements for raw milk are being met and that rules on animal welfare and use of veterinary medicinal products are respected.
  • Food may only be imported into the EU from countries and premises that demonstrate they meet EU standards.


It applies from 20 May 2004.


Regulation (EC) No 854/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 laying down specific rules for the organisation of official controls on products of animal origin intended for human consumption (OJ L 139, 30.4.2004, pp. 206–320)

Successive amendments to Regulation (EC) No 854/2004 have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version is for reference purposes only.

last update 04.02.2016