Food Safety Legal Obligations
Food hygiene and food safety legal standards are set by EC Regulations, designed to unify and standardise food safety requirements throughout all member states.
The preparation of a HACCP System is an important legal prerequisite for ALL food businesses. This applies whether the food business involves primary production, processing, manufacturing, distribution, retailing or catering.
HACCP Systems should be reviewed periodically (eg, at least annually) or if there are substantive changes to food processes or products.
Food business operators must now undertake risk-based assessments in accordance with the principles of HACCP and put into practice an appropriate food safety management system.
The primary responsibility for food safety now rests with the food business operator. There are potentially significant penalties in criminal law for non-conformance.
Microbiological criteria for foodstuffs now apply to perishable products which have the potential to cause food poisoning. Manufacturers in particular must follow the legal requirements for microbiological criteria when determining the durability / shelf-life of such products.