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Official Feed and Food Controls

Feed and Food

Feed and food law covers different areas such as animal nutrition (including medicated feedingstuffs), feed and food hygiene, zoonoses, animal by-products, residues and contaminants, control and eradication of animal diseases with a public health impact, feed and food labelling, pesticides, feed and food additives, vitamins, mineral salts, trace elements and other additives, materials in contact with food, quality and compositional requirements, drinking water, ionisation, novel foods and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

All feed and food should be safe and wholesome. Community legislation comprises a set of rules to ensure that this objective is attained and these rules extend to the production and the placing on the market of both feed and food.

Animal Health and Welfare

Animal health and animal welfare are important factors that contribute to the quality and safety of food, to the prevention of the spreading of animal diseases and to the humane treatment of animals.

EC Regulation 882/2004

EC Regulation 882/2004 or 'The Official Feed and Food Control (OFFC) Regulation', as it is known, was made in response to the 2000 EU White Paper on Food Safety. This highlighted that there was a need to establish a Community-wide framework for official controls. 'Official controls' are defined as

"any form of control performed by the competent authority or by the Community for the verification of compliance with feed and food law, as well as animal health and animal welfare rules."

This Regulation aims, in particular, at:

  • Preventing, eliminating or reducing to acceptable levels risks to humans and animals, either directly or through the environment; and
  • Guaranteeing fair practices in feed and food trade and protecting consumer interests, including feed and food labelling and other forms of consumer information.

The Regulation sets out the approach that Competent Authorities of Member States must adopt for official controls. In other words, how they should monitor and enforce businesses' compliance with feed and food law (this includes food hygiene legislation but also all other feed and food safety and standards legislation) and with animal health and welfare rules. It sets out the principles that need to be adopted and also provides the legal basis for the European Commission to carry out assessments of the effectiveness of national enforcement arrangements. This should be carried out at all stages of production, processing and distribution of feed and food.

As a result, the Regulation aims to improve the consistency and effectiveness of official controls across the European Union and consequently to raise standards of food safety, consumer protection, prevention of the spread of animal diseases, the humane treatment of animals, and to provide a greater degree of transparency for consumers about enforcement arrangements.


The principal legal measures needed to apply Regulation 882/2004 are now in place and are included in the Official Feed and Food Controls (Scotland) Regulations 2009 (SSI 2009/446) and there is parallel legislation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland:

The Official Feed and Food Controls (England) Regulations 2009 (SSI 2009/3255)

The Official Feed and Food Controls (Wales) Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/3376)

The Official Feed and Food Controls Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009 (SR 2009/427)

The Food Standards Agency has overall responsibility for application of the feed and food elements of the regulation, while Defra and the devolved Agriculture/Rural Affairs Departments have responsibility for application in the areas of animal health and animal welfare. In Scotland, the official controls for food and feed controls are in the main delegated to local authorities who, along with Scottish Government staff, carry out on farm inspections and at markets. Arrangements are in place for joint working across the departments to ensure there is a consistent approach.

The UK has developed a Single Integrated National Control Plan (SINCP) prepared by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in co-operation with the devolved administrations. The SINCP established the roles and responsibilities of each competent authority and outlines expected achievements by the implementation of this plan, including improving the consistency and effectiveness of official controls whilst providing a safeguard to consumers.

Further information

Please contact the Food Standards Agency for more information.