Food law

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The food law is a cross-cutting between consumer protection , security and commercial law in the broader sense. It regulates the treatment and production of food , and it includes laws, regulations and administrative provisions for food at both European and national level.

Protected property

Food law should not only protect the health of the population against food crises, for example , but also regulate competition in the food markets through quality requirements and protection against deception. The obligation of state power in Germany results from Article 2, Paragraph 2 of the Basic Law (GG) in conjunction with the welfare state principle according to Article 20, Paragraph 1 of the Basic Law.

Important relevant legal norms

European law

In the course of standardizing the European internal market and European consumer protection, the Federal Republic of Germany has transferred numerous sovereign powers to the European Community. With the EC Regulation No. 178/2002 with the establishment of a European Food Safety Authority, the latter made an important decision in the field of food law and also responded by issuing general principles in the field of food law ( Regulation (EC) No. 178 / 2002 ).

On December 30, 2006, Regulation (EC) No. 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims about food was published ( Health Claims Regulation ). It came into force on July 1, 2007 and has profound implications for food law across Europe. At the same time, the Enrichment Ordinance (Regulation (EC) No. 1925/2006) came into force. Both regulations refer to each other.

On 6 July 2011, the European Parliament also adopted a proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on consumer information about food (COM / 2008/0040). Among other things, this makes the specification of allergens mandatory; however, the labeling provisions are only applicable three years after the ordinance was issued.

The Regulation (EU) no. 1169/2011 concerning information to consumers was published on 22 November 2011 at the Official Journal of the European Union. The Food Information Ordinance will amend the food labeling law and merge the regulatory areas previously contained in the Nutritional Value Labeling Ordinance and the Food Labeling Ordinance and the underlying directive law in a regulation that is directly applicable in all member states of the European Union. The changes concern, for example, formalities such as a binding font size, but also content-related aspects such as the correct sales description, the labeling of the country of origin or the - now binding - nutritional labeling.

The EU food safety almanac compiled by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) provides an overview of the structures and institutions of food safety in the European Union ( EU ) and neighboring countries .

German law

Legislative competence

The German federal legislature has competing legislative competence for food law according to Article 74, Paragraph 1, No. 20 of the Basic Law. He has made use of this competence with numerous laws and ordinances in the area of ​​the Federal Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection and the Federal Ministry for Health and Social Affairs . In the meantime, regulations have also been issued within the territory of the European Community (see below).

On June 18, 1974, the German Bundestag initiated a comprehensive reform of food law. In this context, he narrowed tobacco advertising and banned advertisements for cigarettes and tobacco products on radio and television.

Legal regulations

As existing until 6 September 2005 "Law on trade in foodstuffs, tobacco products, cosmetics and other consumer goods" briefly Food and Consumer Goods Act ( LMBG ) with provisions of Regulation (EC) no. 178/2002 (so-called basic Regulation collided) , the "Food, Commodities and Feed Code" ( LFGB ) was introduced as a successor law.

The tobacco products were outsourced from the new LFGB, while feed was added. The key points of the regulations made in the LFGB relate to health protection and protection against deception (commonly understood as consumer protection). The former is more strictly regulated than protection against fraud: For example, measures ( § 39 LFGB) such as B. taking back (if the food has not yet reached the end consumer) or recall (if the food has possibly already reached the end consumer) and informing the public ( § 40 LFGB) possible instruments of the responsible authorities to guarantee health protection .

In order to guarantee the "high level of protection" required in the basic regulation (Art 1 Para. 1 Regulation (EC) No. 178/2002 ), the so-called hygiene package was adopted by the EU :

  • VO (EG) No. 852/2004 (general hygiene regulations)
  • VO (EG) No. 853/2004 (specific hygiene regulations for food of animal origin)
  • VO (EG) No. 854/2004 (special procedural regulations for official food control)

On the one hand, these regulate certain quality assurance measures to be observed by the manufacturer ( HACCP concept), on the other hand, they contain regulations for the official control of food of animal origin. For the treatment of food of animal origin, the authorization requirement before the start of the activity has been considerably expanded.

Further procedures for food control are laid down in Regulation (EC) No. 882/2004 , which is currently being revised and will be replaced by the so-called EU Control Regulation, which the EU Agriculture Ministers agreed on in July 2016.

In order to implement and nationally adapt the hygiene package, various new ordinances were issued in 2007 with the ordinance for the implementation of provisions of the Community food hygiene law (EULMRDV) and others were amended or repealed.

Important new regulations, corresponding to the respective EU regulations, are the food hygiene regulation LMHV, the animal food hygiene regulation Tier-LMHV and the animal food monitoring regulation Tier-LMÜV.

Furthermore, the LFGB authorizes the responsible federal ministries to issue a series of ordinances, which in many cases serve to implement European directives and ordinances. This includes B. the Additive Admissions Ordinance, which regulates the addition of substances to food. In the prepackaging ordinance (which is based on the calibration law ) z. B. font sizes for certain labeling elements and deviation tolerances for filling quantities on prepackaged . The labeling of food is regulated in the Food Labeling Ordinance. However, for a number of foods, such as B. Wine and cheese own or supplementary regulations.

Further regulations for individual foods and food groups are z. B .:

In addition, EU marketing standards apply . B. regulate the classification of food in trade classes. The central regulation is the regulation on the uniform common market organization (GMO) of December 17, 2013 (Regulation (EU) No. 1308/2013), which contains regulations for meat, wine, dairy products, cereals and many other foods.

Criminal law

In addition to the LFGB (§ § 58 ff. LFGB), the special ordinances based on this law contain provisions on criminal and administrative fines. The regulation for the enforcement of legal acts of the European Community (food law criminal and fines regulation - LMRStV) is also important for the criminal penalties of European law. In many cases, these provisions take a backseat due to the complexity of food law and the lower threat of punishment in relation to general criminal offenses (e.g. fraud).

Competent Authorities

Food control per se is a matter for the federal states ( Section 38 (1) LFGB, Article 83 GG). The authorities responsible for sampling and laboratory controls are located in the federal states . General administrative regulations issued on Article 84, Paragraph 2 of the Basic Law guarantee a coordinated approach throughout the federal territory. The highest federal authority is the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection . The higher federal authority Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety is subordinate to the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture . The latter, in conjunction with the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment , which is responsible for risk assessment , is the main competence of crisis management. Crisis or risk management are also newly created activities that were brought into being with the basic regulation and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) established with it.

Food law as a research topic

The complexity and diversity of food law issues require a European law approach with an interdisciplinary scientific approach. In addition to the diverse legal entanglements of individual areas of law, this must also take into account natural and human sciences and, last but not least, economic aspects. For this purpose in Germany there is a research center for German and European food law at the University of Bayreuth, which is affiliated with the law faculty there .

See also


  • Thomas Claußen, Dirk Murmann, Hanspeter Rützler u. a .: Food law manual (loose-leaf collection), Verlag CH Beck, Munich, ISBN 978-3-406-41833-4
  • P. Hahn, S. Görgen (Ed.), Practical Guide to Food Law . Behr's Verlag, Hamburg, 2007.
  • P. Hahn: Lexicon of Food Law (loose-leaf collection), Behrs Verlag, Hamburg, 2007, ISBN 978-3-86022-334-5
  • Alfred Hagen Meyer, Rudolf Streinz (Ed.): LFGB, BasisVO. Commentary , 2nd edition, Munich 2011, Verlag CH Beck, ISBN 978-3-406-60084-5
  • Markus Weck: Food Law , 2nd edition, Stuttgart 2013, Verlag W. Kohlhammer, ISBN 978-3-17-022678-4
  • Andreas Wehlau: Commentary on the Food and Feed Code (LFGB) , 1st edition, Cologne 2010, Verlag Heymanns, ISBN 978-3-452-26397-1
  • Walter Zipfel; Rathke Lebensmittelrecht , (loose-leaf commentary in several volumes), Verlag CH Beck, ISBN 978-3-406-39820-9
  • Heribert Benz: German Food Book , Carl Heymanns Verlag 1994, ISBN 978-3-452-16422-3
  • Heribert Benz: German Food Book Volume 1 - 31 , Carl Heymanns Verlag Cologne

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Entry food law . In: Munzinger Online / Brockhaus - Encyclopedia in 30 volumes. 21st edition. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
  2. Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on consumer information about food (COM / 2008/0040) (PDF) .
  3. Page no longer available , search in web archives: Good news for consumers: Better food labeling in Europe, 6 July 2011.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /
  4. Questions and answers on the Food Information Regulation, press release of July 6, 2011.
  5. OJ. L 304 of November 22, 2011, p. 18.
  6. ^ "Augsburger Allgemeine" of June 18, 2009, column "The Date".
  7. Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture , press release No. 87 of July 18, 2016: Protection against food fraud moves into focus ( memento of the original from February 28, 2018 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , accessed February 28, 2018.