Official food monitoring in Germany

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The official food control in Germany is based on the Food, Commodities and Feed Code (LFGB) and aims to protect the consumer from health hazards as well as misleading and deception with regard to the transport of food , cosmetic products , consumer goods and feed . In addition, food control deals with the products not covered by the LFGB according to wine and tobacco law .

Food inspection personnel

The implementation of the monitoring of food law regulations is the responsibility of specially trained personnel. Certain monitoring measures are reserved for scientific staff. In food monitoring, these are mainly veterinarians , food chemists or ecotrophologists ; chemists , biologists and doctors work less frequently in this area . Non-academically trained persons are only allowed to carry out surveillance measures if they can prove that they are food inspectors. An exception is the monitoring of food of animal origin, for which official technical assistants who, among other things, can prove their expertise as meat or poultry meat inspectors, or hunters who take samples for trichinae inspection in order to hand in small quantities of large game, can be assigned tasks of official food monitoring.

The persons charged with the surveillance act as police authorities. You and, in the case of imminent danger, also the police officers responsible are authorized to

  • To enter land, operating rooms and means of transport in or on which products are manufactured, treated or placed on the market
  • to inspect all commercial written and data carriers, in particular records, waybills, manufacturing descriptions and documents about the materials used in the manufacturing process and to make copies, excerpts, printouts or copies of these, including from data carriers, or to request printouts of electronically stored data as well as means, To inspect facilities and equipment for transportation;
  • to take pictures or recordings of means of transport, land, operating rooms or rooms;
  • to request all necessary information, in particular information about production, handling, the substances used for processing and their origin, placing on the market and feeding;
  • Request or take samples.

The owners of the corresponding facilities, equipment and land, their representatives, and consequently the food business operators and their staff, have to tolerate this and assist with it, for example by providing information and designating and opening rooms.

If the public prosecutor's office discovers food law violations during or after criminal proceedings have been initiated, it must immediately inform the food control authority in accordance with Section 42 (6) LFGB ; for its part, the food control authority has to submit a fact to the public prosecutor's office as soon as it has evidence that the matter is a criminal offense.

Food Control Authorities

According to the Basic Law, protection during the movement of foodstuffs, luxury goods, consumer goods and animal feed is the subject of competing legislation . In practice, food law is mainly regulated by federal laws and regulations and increasingly by direct and priority EU regulations .

The states implement federal laws as a separate matter. The federal states have set up appropriate authorities for this purpose. At the level of the state governments, food monitoring is assigned to one department. This department often has the terms consumer protection , health , nutrition or agriculture in its name. The minister or senator responsible for food monitoring has coordinating tasks and exercises technical supervision and, as a rule, also legal supervision of the authorities subordinate to him.

Food monitoring requires the interaction of specialist staff at two types of workplaces.

The monitoring of food companies through factory tours and goods controls is organized on a decentralized basis. As a rule, there is a food control office for every rural district and every independent city / city district, usually connected with the veterinary office , since the official veterinarians who are academically qualified in food hygiene work there. In most countries, the food inspection offices have been integrated into local self-government .

In addition, there are central investigation centers in the federal states that have laboratories and experts at their disposal in order to be able to investigate the samples taken by the monitoring office during operational controls. Each country has structured the investigation centers differently. In Bavaria, for example, the Bavarian State Office for Health and Food Safety is commissioned with these examinations, in Rhineland-Palatinate the State Investigation Office (LUA) , in Bremen the State Examination Office for Chemistry, Hygiene and Veterinary Medicine lua.bremen. The Hessian State Laboratory has been created in Hesse accordingly . In North Rhine-Westphalia there are some investigation centers that are run by local authorities.

As part of the “North German Cooperation” (NoKo), the state research institutes in North Germany have come together to form a research network with competence centers and specialized laboratories. The federal states of Berlin / Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein are involved; the merger in its current form has existed since 2007 and is constantly being developed. The aim of the cooperation is to establish priorities, to merge and improve the quality of laboratory tests in the context of official food monitoring in the federal states involved. The offices involved in the cooperation are

In order to be able to carry out the necessary data exchange, the federal states use an internet portal made available by the Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL).

Federal-State coordination

In order to achieve a uniform standard in food safety and to gain a Germany-wide overview, the federal and state governments agree on so-called general administrative regulations , which are issued by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture .

Under the leadership of the Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL), the federal government and the federal states contribute annually to the planning and evaluation of the coordinated monitoring program (KÜP) of the EU as well as the monitoring program with annually changing priorities and the national residue control plan .

European cooperation

In order to meet the challenges of the global flow of goods and to harmonize analysis and assessment practice, the European Commission organizes training programs and workshops for professional development . They also serve to exchange experiences and to build networks between the competence centers.

Monitoring measures

Operational controls

Companies that manufacture, process or sell food , consumer goods or cosmetic products are regularly checked. The frequency of plant inspections and sampling depends primarily on the possible risks that the foods processed in certain industries can pose.


The food inspectors and police officers entrusted with monitoring are authorized to request and take samples in return for a receipt, which they send to laboratories for analysis and assessment. A total of around 400,000 samples are examined annually by the laboratories of the federal states as part of food monitoring. In addition to the state laboratories, publicly appointed and sworn experts in a suitable subject (mostly food chemistry , chemistry , trade chemistry ) can be called in as so-called counter- sample experts in accordance with the GPV . Cross-samples are either part of the actual sample or a second sample ; they are left behind at the controlled company and, in the event of complaints, can be examined by an expert in a DAkkS accredited laboratory at the company's expense .

The type of sampling is stipulated by the legislator in order to obtain standardized and legally valid data. The samples are examined for various ingredients , for germs and for compliance with statutory maximum quantities. It also monitors whether the food is composed in accordance with its legal definition, the labeling is correct and the consumer could be misled by other properties of the product or statements about the product. If a company violates existing regulations, the products will be rejected and, if the health of the consumer is endangered, they will be removed from the market.

The self-controls of the economy

A high priority in the monitoring of food is the own controls of the economy. Food companies are obliged to use their own controls to document the quality of the raw materials used and the products manufactured. Furthermore, all companies keep records of who they bought food and ingredients from and to whom they resold them. If a food poses a risk, it must be possible to trace within a short period of time at which point the contamination has occurred. The establishments must document their own controls so that these documents are available to the official food control for a "control of the control".

Publication of violations in the official food and feed control

With the law amending the right of consumer information on September 1, 2012, Section 40 of the Food and Feed Code (LFGB) was expanded to include paragraph 1a, which obliges the competent authorities to recognize certain serious violations in the area of ​​food and feed monitoring publish. This official obligation exists if there is a reasonable suspicion based on facts, in the case of samples on the basis of at least two independent investigations, that

  1. permissible limit values, maximum levels or maximum quantities specified in regulations within the scope of the LFGB have been exceeded or
  2. other provisions within the scope of the LFGB, which serve to protect consumers from health risks or from deception or compliance with hygienic requirements, have been violated to a not insignificant extent or repeatedly and a fine of at least three hundred and fifty euros is to be expected.

In the meantime, the constitutionality of Section 40 (1a) LFGB has been questioned in various higher administrative court decisions. In particular, it is doubted that the provision corresponds to the rule of law principles of proportionality and sufficient specificity and clarity of norms. The main point of contention is that the regulation does not provide for a deadline for deletion of the published data. As a result, numerous federal states suspended the implementation of Section 40 (1a) LFGB until further notice and deleted previously published data.

In the meantime, however, on May 4, 2018, the Federal Constitutional Court concluded a procedure for the abstract control of norms that had been started at the request of the Lower Saxony state government , in which the compatibility of Section 40 (1a) LFGB with the Basic Law was established.

The federal states or the Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety publish public warnings and information on within the meaning of Section 40 of the Food and Feed Code. As a rule, these are references from the competent authorities to information from the public or a withdrawal or recall campaign by the food business operator.

Annual report on food monitoring

The federal states transmit the information and data from the official food monitoring to the BVL . The BVL compiles this data and evaluates it. They are published annually in the “Annual Report on Food Monitoring” and forwarded to the European Commission in a report.

Annual report 2007

In 2007 a total of 402,463 samples were examined in the laboratory by the monitoring authorities of the federal states.

As in previous years, meat, game, poultry and products made from them (70,145 samples, 17.4% of the samples) as well as fruit and vegetables (40,355 samples, 10.0%) form the focus of the investigations. This is followed by milk and milk products (38,656 samples, 9.6%), cereals and baked goods (32,955 samples, 8.2%) and wine (24,161 samples, 6.0%).

In the samples examined, a total of 59,188 samples with violations were identified, that is 14.7% of all samples. This value has remained more or less the same for several years (for comparison: 2006: 15.2%, 2005: 15.3%; 2004: 14.9%; 2003: 15.0%; 2002: 15.4%).

As in 2006, the group of meat, game, poultry and products made from them had the highest rate of complaints with 21.3%. It is followed by sugar confectionery with 18.8% and alcoholic beverages except wine with a complaint rate of 18.3%. A total of 63,556 violations were registered (−7.4% compared to 2006). In the entirety of the specified violations, violations in the labeling or presentation come first (48.1%).

For 2007, a total of 1,005,110 inspection visits in 562,047 companies were reported for Germany. According to the reports received, around 50% of all production sites were checked. With 128,911 establishments with identified violations, the complaint rate is around 23% as in the previous year, based on all inspected establishments. In all on-site inspections, general hygiene deficiencies are the most frequent violations, followed by the area of ​​hygiene (in-house inspections, HACCP , training).


  • Hans Miethke: Directory of the chemical and food investigation offices in the Federal Republic of Germany , edited and edited by Hans Miethke, on behalf of the "Food Chemical Society", specialist group in the Society of German Chemists , 3rd edition, Weinheim; New York; Basel; Cambridge; Tokyo VCH 1995, ISBN 3-527-30045-7 .

Broadcast reports

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. § 3 Tier-LMÜV
  2. Section 6 (2) Tier-LMÜV
  3. a b § 42 LFGB
  4. Section 41 (1) OWiG
  5. List of the responsible ministries in the federal states relating to consumer health protection
  6. ^ State laboratory Berlin-Brandenburg
  7. Recommendation of the Commission of 18 January 2006 on a coordinated Community monitoring program for 2006 for compliance with maximum levels of pesticide residues in or on cereals and certain other products of plant origin and the national monitoring programs for 2007 . In: Official Journal of the European Union . L 19, January 24, 2006, pp. 23-29.
  8. BVL: Monitoring ( Memento from August 10, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  9. BMELV: National residue control plan ( Memento from July 21, 2012 in the web archive )
  10. Bjoern Mueller: Better training for safer food. ( Memento of the original from December 1, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. German Society for International Cooperation , accessed on November 19, 2017. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  11. ^ Federation for food law and food science : Food monitoring from the point of view of the economy . Last accessed June 10, 2014.
  12. ( Memento from February 18, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  13. Lower Saxony wants to reintroduce "disgusting pillory". NDR , May 16, 2018, accessed on February 17, 2019 .
  15. BVL: High level of food control maintained. ( Memento of the original from March 20, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /