European food and feed law

The vast majority of food and feed regulation which impacts on food businesses in Scotland originates from European food and feed law.  

The vast majority of food and feed regulation which impacts on food businesses in Scotland originates from European food and feed law. 

Important areas of EU food law

Official food and feed controls

Regulation EU 2017/625 on official controls and other official activities performed to ensure the application of food and feed law, rules on animal health and welfare, plant health and plant protection products – known as the Official Controls Regulation (OCR) – is an overarching piece of legislation that sets operational standards for the performance of official controls and other official activities by competent authorities (CAs) across the European Union (EU).

As of 14th December 2019, the OCR will repeal and replace existing legislation (including Regulations 882/2004; 854/2004 and 669/2009) which is integral to the activities of Food Standards Scotland (FSS) as the national CA responsible for the delivery of official food and feed controls in Scotland, and other food and feed enforcement bodies such as Local Authorities (LAs).

EU food hygiene regulations

The EU package of food hygiene regulations is an most important area of EU food law.  Retained EU Regulation 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs establishes the basic hygiene requirements that apply to all food businesses.  The regulation requires businesses to identify and manage the risks associated with their operation through appropriate food safety management controls based on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles.  

Food information for consumers

The EU Food Information to Consumers Regulation No 1169/2011 (FIC) covers the general food labelling and nutrition information requirements for pre-packed foods. General food labelling includes areas such as the name of the food, ingredients lists and allergen information.  Nutrition information includes areas such as the energy content and amounts of fat, carbohydrate, salt and protein present in a food. In addition, the Regulation requires food businesses to provide allergen information to consumers for food sold loose and in catering situations.

Additional regulations

In addition there is a wide range of other technical EU regulations that apply in Scotland, covering topics such as compositional standards of food, food additives, food contact materials, microbiological criteria for foodstuffs, animal feed hygiene, and chemical contaminants which collectively ensure a farm to fork approach to food safety.

The execution and enforcement of EU food and feed law in Scotland is achieved through relevant Scottish primary and secondary legislation, as detailed in the Scottish Food and Feed Law Guide.