IMPORTANT LEGAL NOTICE : The information on this site is subject to a disclaimer and a copyright notice.

Food and Feed Safety
EUROPA > European Commission > DG Health and Consumer Protection > Overview > Food and Feed Safety  Site Map | What's New | A to Z Index | Mailbox
Biological Safety of Food - Introduction

Biological hazards such as bacteria, viruses or prions are present in food, in particular, in products of animal origin. Salmonella in poultry, Listeria monocytogenes in dairy and meat products, biotoxins in live molluscs and BSE from cattle in particular all pose serious risks to public health. Following the food crises of the 1990s, new measures were taken by the Commission to increase the level of food safety and restore consumer confidence. These measures, based on sound scientific opinion, include :

  • A co-ordinated and holistic approach towards food hygiene, covering all levels of the food chain and applying a transparent hygiene policy to all food and feed operators;
  • Increasing knowledge of sources and trends of pathogens by monitoring zoonotic agents throughout the food and animal feed chain. Establishing control programmes for Salmonella and other food-borne zoonotic diseases to reduce the public health risk and to provide the basis for adopting measures to manage these risks;
  • An assessment of the safety and quality of all types of foodstuffs by setting out microbiological criteria, applicable at the site of food production as well as products on the market;
  • Effective control of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (BSE, Scrapie, etc). Development of measures to avoid contagion of other animals or contamination of the consumers. Harmonisation of TSE measures in Member States and the TSE import rules applicable to third countries;
  • Prohibition of the recycling into feed or technical products of certain animal by-products and identifying safe alternative methods for the use or disposal of animal waste.
Press Releases
Consumer Voice Newsletter
International Affairs
Import Conditions
Pets and Animal Welfare

Food Safety home page
Animal Health and Welfare home page
Plant Health home page
Food and Veterinary Office home page