Food safety - a global overview

This page was last modified on 09-01-2018

Food legislation aims to achieve a high level of protection of the health and life of humans.

These principles are applied to each stage of production, transformation and distribution of foodstuffs, including food intended to feed food-producing animals.

Food safety includes several aspects such as hygiene of foodstuffs, labeling, packaging and product traceability.

Several administrations are responsible for the execution of food safety in Luxembourg, such as:

  • the Food safety unit (Ministry of Health);
  • the Administration of Veterinary Services (Ministry of Agriculture, Viticulture and Consumer protection);
  • the OSQCA (Organisme pour la Sécurité et Qualité de la Chaîne Alimentaire - Organisation for food safety and quality).

Who is concerned

All businesses and establishments involved in the production, transformation and/or distribution of food products, including food intended to feed food-producing animals, have obligations in relation with food regulation.

Examples: grocery shops, restaurants, crèches, businesses in the packaging sector or active in the export or import of foodstuffs, etc.

How to proceed

Compulsory registration

Any business or establishment in the food sector in Luxembourg must be known to the competent authorities.

All business operators in the food sector must register with the Food safety unit all the establishments under their responsibility and which are involved in the production, transformation and/or distribution of food products.

Withdrawal procedure and notification to the competent authority

A food business operator who has reason to believe that one of the food products he has imported, transformed, produced or distributed does not meet the requirements in terms of safety of foodstuffs must:

  • immediately launch the procedure for withdrawal from the market of the food product concerned, if it is no longer under their direct control, and;
  • inform the OSQCA (Organisation for food safety and quality) of this withdrawal.

If the product is likely to have reached the consumer, the operator must:

  • inform consumers, stating the reasons for the withdrawal;
  • recall the products already delivered to the consumer if the other measures are insufficient to maintain a high level of consumer health protection.

Labeling

The aim of labeling is to inform consumers and ensure loyal practices in the food sector. It is the first means of communication between the productor and seller of foodstuffs on the one hand, and the buyer and consumer on the other hand.

A guide to labeling in general is available on the website of the Food safety unit, and information sheets on the labeling of allergen ingredients are available on the website of the Chamber of Skilled Trades and Crafts.

Hygiene

All businesses in the food sector must comply with a number of obligations relating to the hygiene of foodstuffs.

These obligations vary depending on the type and size of the production (e.g.: appropriate fit out of the production facilities, establishing a system of auto-monitoring in accordance with the principles of the HACCP system, etc.).

Interested parties may order a guide on good hygiene practices at the Chamber of Skilled Trades and Crafts and/or sign up for training courses for professions in the food sector.

Traceability

Food sector operators must implement a system for the traceability of their food products.

To this end, they can find an explanatory guide on the traceability of foodstuffs on the website of the Food safety unit.

This guide applies to all steps of the production, transformation and distribution of products intended for human and animal consumption.

Who to contact

Ministry of Health
3, rue des Primeurs
L-2361 - Strassen
Luxembourg

Email secualim@ms.etat.lu