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The Food Police?

The finding by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland of horse meat in frozen beef burgers invokes the following legal provisions:

A)            Articles 14 (1) and 16 of Regulation (EC) N° 178/2002 on General Food Law;

B)            Regulations 5 (1) and 6 of the European Communities (General Food Law) Regulations 2007.

Under Article 14 (1) of Regulation No. 178/2002, “Food shall not be placed on the market if it is unsafe”. “Unsafe” includes food unfit for human consumption.

The Regulation goes on…

“In determining whether any food is unfit for human consumption, regard shall be had to whether the food is unacceptable for human consumption according to its intended use, for reasons of contamination, whether by extraneous matter or otherwise, or through putrefaction, deterioration or decay.”

So, food is contaminated if it contains extraneous matter.

Article 16 of Regulation No. 178/2002 provides;

“Without prejudice to more specific provisions of food law, the labelling, advertising and presentation of food or feed, including their shape, appearance or packaging, the packaging materials used, the manner in which they are arranged and the setting in which they are displayed, and the information which is made available about them through whatever medium, shall not mislead consumers.”

Under Regulation 5 (1) of the European Communities (General Food Law) Regulations 2007;

“A food business operator is guilty of an offence if the food business operator places unsafe food on the market or otherwise contravenes Article 14 of the EC Regulation.”

Under Regulation 6 of the European Communities (General Food Law) Regulations 2007;

“A food business operator is guilty of an offence if the food business operator fails to comply with Article 16 of the EC Regulation in the labelling, advertising or presentation of food.”

So, citizens will want to know if there will be prosecutions for the Irish beef burger incident.

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