Millefeuille: The Emergence of a Multi-Layered Controls System in the European Food Sector
Utrecht Law Review, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 156-176, June 2006
21 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2007
More and more substances used in (the processing of) food as well as food products travel world wide and as a result the food production chain is becoming increasingly complex. It goes without saying that within a free European market, the safety of food products that reach the consumer at the end of the production chain depends entirely on the safety and control measures that are taken in all stages of the production process. Food crises have brought to light serious shortcomings in safety assurance and have made regulatory reform an important issue at European level over the past ten years. In order to re-establish public confidence in food supply, food science, food law and food controls, the European Commission initiated a major regulatory reform. This article goes into the restructuring of European food legislation as far as this affects food controls. The restructuring of European food law has resulted in a controls system in which recourse is had to a command and control system. The food sector is squeezed between four layers of controls. Although a heavily regulated system might seem logical in response to food safety crises the question arises whether this will ultimately prove to be the most effective way to safeguard food safety.
Keywords: official controls, food safety, self controls, rapid alert system, first-line inspections, second-line inspections
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