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Internal Market and Trade: the role of standardisation in improving safety in the EU's food supply

18 March, 2013

The free movement of safe and wholesome food is an essential aspect of the internal market and contributes significantly to the health and well-being of EU citizens as well as to their social and economic interests. Due to globalisation and the availability of new technological processes, the European agro-food sector is becoming more and more complex.

 On 14 March 2013 a joint JRC-CEN workshop was held for the 4th time since 2006. Stakeholders – policy makers, representatives of competent authorities, official and private control laboratory managers, research organisations, industry and trade, accreditation bodies, and standard developing organisations – discussed current and future needs for standardised methods of analysis for food and feed. Lively group discussions ensued in the afternoon when participants discussed how to make the current standardisation system related to food testing even more efficient.

Standardised methods of analysis offer many advantages, the proven performance and the extensive documentation being their hallmarks. JRC has a long tradition in supporting CEN by providing collaboratively validated methods for food safety control; in addition, a series of workshops have been jointly organised to discuss the scientific basis and requirements for food testing standards. 

Background note
The EU regulatory framework aims to ensure protection of the health and well-being of consumers. This includes amongst other the setting of maximum limits for a diverse array of undesirable substances in the food chain, the description of appropriate sampling and analysis methods for official control purposes as well as a rapid warning and response system. The effectiveness of this integrated system depends to a large degree on the harmonised implementation of control, monitoring and enforcement mechanisms across the EU Member States, but also worldwide.

For official control purposes EU food safety legislation gives preference to either methods described in Community legislation or methods that comply with internationally recognised rules or protocols, for example those that the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) has accepted.


Latest update 18 March, 2013

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