Food safety rules
The new rules will take the form of regulations rather than directives as at present, giving member countries greater freedom to deal with local problems.
Harmonised hygiene rules, "have proved difficult to enforce in traditional food production and in food businesses in remote islands, secluded mountain areas and other geographically isolated regions," said David Byrne, EU Commissioner for health and consumer protection.
He said Member States "are better placed to judge and find appropriate solutions, provided the basic principle of food safety is not compromised.
The focus is on setting objectives while leaving business flexibility in deciding the safety measures to take, rather than prescribing them in great detail."
The new regulations stitch together the basic hygiene provisions of 17 existing directives that provide a patchwork of rules for food in all sectors though with notable gaps at primary production level (i.e. farms).
In future producers will have the primary responsibility for safety through self-checking programmes while a harmonised Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system will become obligatory for all non-primary food operators.
"These types of self-checking programmes are already in place in parts of the food industry, notably in larger food factories, but were not yet required in for example slaughterhouses," said Mr Byrne.
Britain's Food Standards Agency welcomed the Commission proposals, saying they accorded well with the FSA's own key objectives. An FSA spokesman said the concept of "proportionality" under which regulations were applied flexibly and took into account the size of a company was particularly useful.
The trend towards greater simplification of regulations across the entire food chain was also welcome.
The new regulations have to be approved by the European Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers.
The Commission hopes they can be adopted by the end of the year.
By Alan Osborn
The levels of selenium in the soil in some parts of the world is declining - a possible consequence of intensive farming. Recent research has demonstrated the mineral plays a vital role in human healt...
The UK's Food Standards Agency has welcomed the proposed inquiry announced by the Welsh Assembly Health Minister into the E. coli O157 outbreak in Wales....
The UK's Food Standards Agency has issued precautionary advice on the level of vitamin A in the diet for people who eat liver regularly and those at risk of osteoporosis....
The Food Standards Agency has today (Monday) published a consultation on proposals to set UK targets for levels of salt in a wide range of foods....
The Food Standards Agency today (Tuesday) announced proposals for improving controls on imported food arriving at Heathrow Airport....
The Food Standards Agency has commissioned new work to examine refinements to its nutrient profiling model....
The Food Standards Agency has announced a £10m to be paid to local authorities in England to promote a new food safety initiative....
The Food Standards Agency has announced the setting up of an incidents task force to strengthen existing controls in the food chain in order to reduce the possibility of future contamination incidents...
- Unilever 2016 investor day - the top takeaways
- The key questions for digital strategists in 2017
- Wessanen's move for Spain's Biogran - analysis
- Have food promotions reached tipping point?
- Burger King, Jollibee: foodservice focus, Nov 2016
- General Mills jobs to go in business revamp
- Verlinvest, China Resources invest in Oatly
- B&G acquires pasta sauce group Victoria Fine Foods
- Japan's Nagatanien buys Chaucer Food Group
- Tyson sets up US$150m investment fund