Unfit for Human Consumption. The Elusive Element in the EU Food Safety Concept of Article 14 GFL
40 Pages Posted: 29 May 2019
Date Written: April 13, 2019
According to Article 14(2) of Regulation (EC) 178/2002 ‘the General Food Law,’ unsafe food, the core concept in EU food safety law, encompasses food that is injurious to health as well as food unfit for human consumption. This paper reports on an empirical study of interpretations in several EU Member States of the concept unfit for human consumption and its relation to injuriousness to health. It appears that a broad spectrum of conditions and situations is brought under this concept. Interpretations among Member States vary considerably. Substantive, procedural and communicational non-compliances may be found under the concept. Also, not otherwise regulated conditions may lead to the classification of food as unfit for human consumption.
The paper argues in favour of a return to the initial approach of the European Commission in its proposal for what is now the General Food Law. Food should only be classified as unfit for consumption if it is likely to be injurious to health due to conditions such as indicated in Article 14(5) of the General Food Law. In case of non-compliance with other provisions of food law, Member States can enforce. A detour via classification of the non-complying food as unfit for consumption is not needed to this end.
Keywords: Unfit for Human Consumption, Unsafe Food, Food Law, General Food Law
JEL Classification: K20, K23, K30, K32, Q18
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