Under general food law (Article 2 Regulation (EC) No 178/2002), ‘food’ (or ‘foodstuff’) means any substance or product, whether processed, partially processed or unprocessed, intended to be, or reasonably expected to be ingested by humans. ‘Food’ includes drink, chewing gum and any substance, including water, intentionally incorporated into the food during its manufacture, preparation or treatment.
‘Food’ on the other hand doesn’t include:
- live animals unless they are prepared for placing on the market for human consumption;
- plants prior to harvesting;
- medicinal products;
- cosmetic products;
- tobacco and tobacco products;
- narcotic or psychotropic substances;
- residues and contaminants
Food law covers the laws, regulations and administrative provisions governing food in general and food safety in particular at Community and National level. The laws cover all production stages from actual production (feed, methods of manufacturing etc), energy, nutrients, related substances used in processing (additives, enzymes, flavourings etc), as well as distribution (packaging and food contact material), labelling and advertising.
One of the first interests of the European Community to establish Food laws was to ensure efficient consumer protection and free movement of goods among its Member States.
With the very establishment of the EU, the need for harmonization of policies especially in the areas closely related to the common market of goods became evident. With the aim to address food safety the first EU White paper of food policy, was introduced back in 2000, followed by specific rules for each category of foodstuffs shortly afterwards.
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