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Food safety


European Union (EU) food safety policy is mainly governed by Articles 168 (public health) and 169 (consumer protection) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

The EU’s food safety policy aims to protect consumers, while guaranteeing the smooth operation of the single market. EU legislation covers the entire food chain — ‘from farm to fork’ — in an integrated way and applying a ‘one health’ approach. 

It deals with safety aspects covering primary production, hygiene conditions in food processing, packaging, labelling and official controls on food safety compliance.

The EU has agreed on certain standards to ensure food hygiene, animal health and welfare, and plant health and to control contamination from external substances, such as pesticides. Rigorous checks are carried out at every stage, and imports (e.g. meat) from outside the EU are required to meet the same standards and go through the same checks as food produced within the EU.