General requirements

Food may not be placed on the market if it is unsafe, i.e., if it is harmful to health and/or unfit for consumption. In determining whether a food is unsafe, multiple factors are considered, including: the normal conditions of use, the information provided to the consumer, the likely immediate or delayed effects on health, cumulative toxic effects, if any, and, where appropriate, particular health sensitivities of specific categories of consumers. If food that is unsafe forms part of a batch, lot or consignment, then the entire quantity is presumed to be unsafe. Feed may not be placed on the market or given to any food-producing animal if it is unsafe. Feed is deemed unsafe if it has an adverse effect on human or animal health. Again, the entire quantity of a batch, lot or consignment is considered unsafe if any part of it fails to satisfy the requirements.

Across all stages of the food production chain, business operators must ensure that food and feed satisfies the requirements of food law and that those requirements are adhered to. The Member States enforce the law, ensuring that operators comply with it and apply appropriate measures and penalties for infringements. The traceability of food, feed, food-producing animals and all substances incorporated into foodstuffs must be established at all stages of production, processing and distribution. Business operators must implement appropriate systems and procedures to enable this tracing. If an operator considers a food or feed product that has been imported, produced, processed, manufactured or distributed to be harmful to human or animal health, then steps must be taken immediately to withdraw the product from the market and to notify competent authorities. If a product may have reached consumers, then the operator must inform them and recall the product(s) already supplied.

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