At the end of the 1990s, food safety began to be at the centre of European Community food policies. The publication of the “White Paper on Food Safety” in 2000 lay the basis for the approval, two years later, of the first framework legislation relating to food: Regulation (EC) No 178/2002, also called the General Food Law Regulation.
In force since 1 January 2005, the Regulation lays down rules for food traceability, defined as the “ability to trace and follow a food, feed, food-producing animal or substance intended to be, or expected to be incorporated into a food or feed, through all stages of production, processing and distribution”. Food business operators must therefore have systems and procedures in place which enable them to provide the following information to the competent authorities, when requested:
- Who supplied them with a food, feed or any substance incorporated into a food
- The identity of the businesses to which they have supplied their products (“traceability … shall be established at all stages of production, processing and distribution”).