Book:LIMS Selection Guide for Food Safety and Quality/Standards and regulations affecting food and beverage labs/Regulations and laws around the world

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2.2 Regulations and laws around the world

The safety and quality of food is a high priority for most countries around the world, though how that safety and quality is regulated and legislated varies, sometimes significantly. The following subsections briefly address the primary regulations and legislation enacted in seven major countries and supranational unions around the world. (It is beyond the scope of this FAQ to address them all.) Similarities among the countries may be seen in their goals, but it should be noted that differences—significant and nuanced—exist among them all in regards to regulatory approaches to sampling, testing, risk, and importing[1][2][3], which should not be surprising given the cultural, political, and functional differences across regions and nations of the world.[1]

2.2.1 Food Safety Act 1990 and Food Standards Act 1999 - United Kingdom

The Food Safety Act of 1990 and Food Standards Act of 1999 represent the core of food safety regulation in the United Kingdom, though there are other pieces of legislation that also have an impact.[4][5] The Food Safety Act of 1990 encourages entities to "not include anything in food, remove anything from food, or treat food in any way which means it would be damaging to the health of people eating it"; serve or sell food that is of a quality that "consumers would expect"; and ensure food is labeled, advertised, and presented clearly and truthfully.[4][5] The Food Standards Act of 1999 later created the UK's Food Standards Agency (FSA) "to protect public health from risks which may arise in connection with the consumption of food (including risks caused by the way in which it is produced or supplied) and otherwise to protect the interests of consumers in relation to food."[6] One of the ways the FSA does this is through enforcing food safety regulation at the local level, including within food production facilities, as well as setting ingredient and nutrition labelling policy.[7] Regulations and guidance from the FSA address not only labelling but also radioactivity monitoring, meat processing, manure management, Salmonella testing, temperature control, dairy hygiene, and more.[8]

2.2.2 Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006 - India

This act was enacted in 2006 to both consolidate existing food-related law and to establish the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), which develops regulations and standards of practice for the manufacture, storage, distribution, and packaging of food.[9][10] However, an audit of FSSAI by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in December 2017 revealed some deficiencies in the FSSAI's activities, including an overall "low quality" of food testing laboratories in the country.[9] Nonetheless, the FSSAI remains the primary regulatory watchdog, developing standards and guidelines for food and enforcing those standards. This includes setting limits for food additives, contaminants, pesticides, drugs, heavy metals, and more, as well as defining quality control mechanisms, accreditation requirements, sampling and analytical techniques, and more.[10]

2.2.3 Food Safety Law - China

The Food Safety Law is described as "the fundamental law regulating food safety in China."[11] Enacted in 2009 and revised in 2015, the Law "builds up the basic legal framework for food safety supervision and management" and "introduces many new regulatory requirements," including "not only general requirements applicable to food and food additives, but also specific requirements for food-related products and other product categories."[11] Among these activities, the Law describes how food testing laboratories shall conduct their activities, from accreditation and sampling to testing and reporting.[12]

2.2.4 Food Sanitation Act and Food Safety Basic Act - Japan

The Food Sanitation Act of 1947 and the Food Safety Basic Act of 2003 represent the most important pieces of food-related legislation in Japan, though there are others. The Food Sanitation Act was originally enacted "to prevent sanitation hazards resulting from eating and drinking by enforcing regulations and other measures necessary from the viewpoint of public health, to ensure food safety and thereby to protect citizens' health."[13] The Food Safety Basic Act recognized the effects of "internationalization" and changing dietary habits, as well as scientific and technological shifts in food production, as a primary driver for modernizing food safety and sustainability in the country, and it also created the Food Safety Commission of Japan.[14] Between the two pieces of legislation, standards and specifications for food and food additives, as well as associated tools and packaging, are addressed, as are inspection standards, production standards, hygiene management, and individual food and ingredient safety.[15]

2.2.5 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and other acts - United States


The Food Safety Modernization Act of the United States was signed into law in January 2011, giving the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) more regulatory authority to address the way food is grown, harvested, and processed.[16][17] It has been described by the FDA as "the most sweeping reform of our food safety laws in more than 70 years."[17] The FSMA, at its base, has five key aspects, addressing preventive controls, inspection and compliance, safety of food imports, mandatory recall response, and food partnership enhancement.[17] However, FSMA continues to evolve, with additional rules getting added since its enactment, including rules about record management, good manufacturing practice (GMP) for human food and animal feed, and laboratory accreditation (referred to as the LAAF Rule).[18]

Another important regulatory body in the US is the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), which is overseen by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). The FSIS and its authority to regulate are derived from three different acts: the Federal Meat Inspection Act of 1906, the Poultry Products Inspection Act of 1957, and the Egg Products Inspection Act of 1970.[19] The FSIS has developed its own regulatory requirements for meat, poultry, and egg products, including for inspections, imports and exports, labeling, and laboratory testing.[20][21][22]

2.2.6 General Food Law Regulation (GFLR) - European Union

The GFLR was enacted across the European Union in 2002 as part of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002, and it is described as "the foundation of food and feed law" for the EU.[23] Along with setting requirements and procedures for food and feed safety, the GFLR also mandated the creation of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), an independent body assigned to developing sound scientific advice about and providing support towards the goals of food, beverage, and feed safety in the EU.[16][23] As such, the EFSA develops broad and sector-specific guidance[24], as well as other rules related to scientific assessment of food safety matters, e.g., Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005 on microbiological criteria for foodstuffs.[25] The EFSA also develops food classification standardization tools such as the Standard Sample Description (SSD2) data model, to better ensure an appropriate "format for describing food and feed samples and analytical results that is used by EFSA’s data providers."[26]

2.2.7 Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA) - Canada

In November 2012, the SFCA was enacted to place regulatory "focus on prevention to ensure a food that is imported, exported or shipped from one province to another, is manufactured, stored, packaged and labelled in a way that does not present a risk of contamination."[27][28] Though Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) enforcement of the SFCA's regulations didn't start until January 2019[27], the consolidation of 14 sets of existing food regulations by the SFCA has managed to improve consistency, reduce administrative burden, and enable food business innovation.[29] An interpretive guide published by the CFIA, Understanding the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations: A handbook for food businesses, summarizes and explains some of the nuances of the SFCA and its 16 parts on matters such as trade, licensing, preventive controls, packaging and labeling, and traceability.[29]


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  2. U.S. Government Accountability Office (February 2005). "Food Safety: Experiences of Seven Countries in Consolidating Their Food Safety Systems". Retrieved 07 December 2022. 
  3. Whitworth, J. (22 February 2022). "Report finds food testing policies different between countries". Food Safety News. Retrieved 07 December 2022. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Food safety regulations". Scarborough Borough Council. 10 November 2022. Retrieved 07 December 2022. 
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  6. "1999 c. 28, The Food Standards Agency, Section 1". Retrieved 07 December 2022. 
  7. "Food Standards Agency". Retrieved 07 December 2022. 
  8. "Guidance and regulation: Food Standards Agency (FSA)". Retrieved 07 December 2022. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Implementation of Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006". PRS Legislative Research. Retrieved 07 December 2022. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006". Food Safety and Standards Authority of India. Retrieved 07 December 2022. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (24 April 2015). "Food Safety Law (2015)". Law and Environment Assistance Platform. United Nations Environmental Programme. Retrieved 07 December 2022. 
  12. Foreign Agriculture Service Staff (18 May 2015). "China's Food Safety Law (2015)" (PDF). GAIN Repo. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 07 December 2022. 
  13. "Food Sanitation Act (Act No. 233 of 1947)". Japanese Law Translation. 24 December 1947. Retrieved 07 December 2023. 
  14. "Food Safety Basic Act" (PDF). Food Safety Commission of Japan. 23 May 2003. Retrieved 07 December 2022. 
  15. Baker McKenzie (2018). "Japan: Food product and safety regulation". Asia Pacific Food Law Guide. Retrieved 07 December 2022. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 Weinroth, Margaret D; Belk, Aeriel D; Belk, Keith E (9 November 2018). "History, development, and current status of food safety systems worldwide" (in en). Animal Frontiers 8 (4): 9–15. doi:10.1093/af/vfy016. ISSN 2160-6056. PMC PMC6951898. PMID 32002225. 
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 "Food Safety Modernization Act and Animal Food". U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 20 October 2022. Retrieved 07 December 2022. 
  18. "FSMA Rules & Guidance for Industry". U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 20 October 2022. Retrieved 07 December 2022. 
  19. Food Safety and Inspection Service (21 February 2018). "Our History". U.S. Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 07 December 2022. 
  20. "9 CFR Part 412 - Label Approval". Code of Federal Regulations. 31 October 2022. Retrieved 07 December 2022. 
  21. "Federal Register Rules". Food Safety and Inspection Service. Retrieved 07 December 2022. 
  22. National Agricultural Library. "Food Safety Standards". U.S. Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 07 December 2022. 
  23. 23.0 23.1 "General Food Law". Food Safety. European Commission. Retrieved 07 December 2022. 
  24. "Guidance and other assessment methodology documents". European Food Safety Authority. Retrieved 07 December 2022. 
  25. "Commission Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005 of 15 November 2005 on microbiological criteria for foodstuffs". EUR-Lex. 3 August 2020. Retrieved 07 December 2022. 
  26. "Food classification standardisation – The FoodEx2 system". European Food Safety Authority. Retrieved 07 December 2022. 
  27. 27.0 27.1 "Safe Food for Canadians Act". Manitoba Government. Retrieved 07 December 2022. 
  28. "Safe Food for Canadians Act (S.C. 2012, c. 24)". Justice Laws Website. Government of Canada. 17 June 2019. Retrieved 07 December 2022. 
  29. 29.0 29.1 Canadian Food Inspection Agency (2018). Understanding the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations: A handbook for food businesses. Government of Canada. ISBN 9780660269856.