Food laws and regulations
Where to find food laws and regulations
Agreement on the application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
The WTO agreement on the application of sanitary and phytosanitary measures is the most important point of reference for international trade in food. It can be seen as the framework to which the food laws and regulations of the WTO member countries should conform.
Codex Alimentarius Standards (Codex)
The Codex Alimentarius provides a collection of product standards and general standards negotiated by its member countries. Many countries use Codex standards as a reference in drafting national legislation. The WTO dispute settlement body will also reference the Codex Alimentarius standards.
National level general resources
Food and Agriculture Organization Legislative and Policy Database (FAOLEX)
This is a database of the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). FAOLEX provides the most important legislation of FAO member countries on a variety of topics. Some of the legislation is presented in its original language and/or in English translation. The information in FAOLEX is not always up to date.
US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)
The Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture provides reports on countries that sets out their legislation on food and agriculture in general or on specific topics. The main purpose of these reports is to support businesses in the USA that aim to export to these countries. The reports cover most countries of the world and are usually of high quality.
For general access see https://www.fas.usda.gov/regions;
For the search form see https://gain.fas.usda.gov/#/search.
European Union (EU) Health and Food Audits and Analysis (HFAA)
The former Food and Veterinary Office (now HFAA) of the European Commission audits EU Member States and third countries wishing to export to the EU for compliance with EU legal requirements for food. On its website HFAA publishes country profiles of EU Member States and audit reports. Audit reports cover EU Member States as well as third countries. Often audit reports start with an overview of the relevant legislation in the country at issue.
National level resources of specific countries
In Uganda (located in East Africa) food legislation fall under an agency called Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS).
The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) is a government agency, established by an Act of Parliament of Uganda,
UNBS is under the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Co-operatives established by the UNBS Act Cap 327 and became operational in 1989. It is governed by the National Standards Council and headed by the Executive Director who is responsible for the day-to-day operation of UNBS.
The UNBS is responsible for the formulation, promotion of the use of, and the enforcement of standards in protection of the environment, public health and safety.
The Mandate of UNBS is :
- Formulation and promotion of the use of standards;
- Enforcing standards in protection of public health and safety and the environment against dangerous and sub-standard products;
- Ensuring fairness in trade and precision in industry through reliable measurement systems; and
- Strengthening the economy of Uganda by assuring the quality of locally manufactured products to enhance the competitiveness of exports in regional and international markets.
The web link is; https://www.unbs.go.ug/
Food legislation and national sanitary authorities – Argentina
(information at the websites is available only in Spanish)
1. ANMAT (National Administration of Drug, Food and Medical Technology; in Spanish: Administración Nacional de Medicamentos, Alimentos y Tecnología Médica)).
General link: https://www.argentina.gob.ar/anmat
ANMAT depends on the National Ministry of Health.
- Policy and programs
ANMAT Federal Plan (Plan Federal ANMAT): https://www.argentina.gob.ar/anmat/federal/plan
The Federal Plan comprises:
-Federal Program of Food Control (Programa Federal de Control de Alimentos):
-Federal Program of Drug Control (Programa Federal de Control de Medicamentos): https://www.argentina.gob.ar/anmat/federal/grupos/medicamentos
-Federal Program of Medical Devices Control (Programa Federal de Control de Productos Médicos):
1.2 Legislation on food and food packaging:
The main national food regulation is the Argentine Food Code (Código Alimentario Argentino (CAA)).
Links to the CAA: https://www.argentina.gob.ar/anmat/codigoalimentario
The CAA is applied by:
- INAL (National Food Institute; Instituto Nacional de Alimentos), which depends on ANMAT, in the case of imports and exports of food and packaging not specifically covered by other sanitary authorities (See SENASA and INV below); and
- the local sanitary authorities of the Federal Capital (Autonomous City of Buenos Aires; Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires) and of the 23 Provinces, in the case of local manufactures not covered by SENASA or INV. These 24 local sanitary authorities depend on the Ministries of Health of the 24 jurisdictions.
The GMC Resolutions on food and food packaging, issued by the Common Market Group (Grupo Mercado Común: GMC) of the Common Market of the South (Mercado Común del Sur: MERCOSUR), are periodically transposed into the different chapters of the CAA.
The MERCOSUR block comprises the four historical Member States (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay), Bolivia (Member State under integration process) and Venezuela (at present suspended by application of Article 5 - paragraph 2, of the Protocol of Ushuaia (Argentina)).
Links to MERCOSUR legislation: www.mercosur.int (in Spanish and Portuguese)
www.puntofocal.gov.ar (in Spanish)
- SENASA (National Service of Agrarian and Food Health and Quality; Servicio Nacional de Sanidad y Calidad Agroalimentaria)
General link: https://www.argentina.gob.ar/senasa
SENASA controls the imports, exports and local manufacture of food of animal and vegetal origin in bulk, specific processed foods of animal and vegetal origin, and their containers and packaging.
SENASA depends on the National Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, and has offices in the 24 jurisdictions.
2.1 Policy and sanitary programs
Sanitary programs: https://www.argentina.gob.ar/senasa/programas-sanitarios
2.2 Legislation on food and food packaging: https://www.argentina.gob.ar/senasa/normativa
SENASA applies the CAA and the Decree 4238/1968 and amendments “Regulation on inspection of products, subproducts and derived products of animal origin” (Reglamento de inspección de productos, subproductos y derivados de origen animal). (http://servicios.infoleg.gob.ar/infolegInternet/anexos/20000-24999/24788/texact.htm)
- INV (National Institute of Vitiviniculture; Instituto Nacional de Vitivinicultura)
General link: https://www.argentina.gob.ar/inv
INV deals with vine cultivation, grape harvest, wine and other oenological products manufacture, control of alcohols, containers and packaging, imports, exports, etc.
INV depends on the the National Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, and has several regional delegations in the wine production jurisdictions.
3.1 Policy and delegations:
3.2 Legislation on food and food packaging:
INV applies the CAA and specific oenological regulations in the following areas:
- control of alcohols:
- protection of wines and spirits origin:
- hyperlink to the national database on legislation: http://www4.planalto.gov.br/legislacao/
- link to food related legislation: https://www.gov.br/anvisa/pt-br/assuntos/regulamentacao/legislacao/bibliotecas-tematicas/arquivos/biblioteca-de-alimentos
- link to information on national food policy: https://bvsms.saude.gov.br/bvs/publicacoes/politica_nacional_alimentacao_nutricao.pdf
No translations are available in a foreign language.
Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
1. Law of the Venezuelan System for Quality
In October 2002, the Organic Law of the Venezuelan System for Quality was promulgated, published in Official Gazette Number 37,555 of Wednesday, October 23, 2002, to develop the guiding principles that the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela frames in terms of quality. This Law establishes mechanisms to guarantee the rights of people to have quality goods and services in the country, through the subsystems of: Standardization, Metrology, Accreditation, Certification, Testing and Technical Regulations.
2. Sencamer. National Autonomous Service for Standardization, Quality, Metrology and Technical Regulations
Sencamer, the National Autonomous Service for Standardization, Quality, Metrology and Technical Regulations (Servicio Autónomo Nacional de Normalización, Calidad, Metrología y Reglamentos Técnicos), has been invested the quality of coordinating entity to ensure compliance with the Organic Law of the Venezuelan System for Quality mentioned above. Sencamer is a public institution attached to the Ministry of Popular Power for Trade: http://www.sencamer.gob.ve/.
Sencamer is the guarantor body of the Venezuelan Quality System and facilitates the service request process for users. Manufacturers, traders and entrepreneurs belonging to the productive and industrial sectors can quickly request the services they need to process, through the Metrology and Technical Regulations subsystems.
The following link describes how to request a service from SENCAMER:
3. Covenin Standards
Covenin corresponds to the acronym for the Venezuelan Commission for Industrial Standards, entity in charge of ensuring standardization and normalization under quality guidelines in Venezuela since 1958.
The Venezuelan COVENIN Standards are documents structured by a group of experienced professionals who are in charge of preparing the regulations that guarantee the minimum technical requirements that must be met in the execution of the activities and processes of the various productive sectors of the country. This covers broad sectors, from food to constructions, chemicals or public services.
Covenin established the minimum requirements for the elaboration of procedures, materials, products, activities and other aspects that these norms govern. Governmental and non-governmental entities specialized in an area participated in this commission.
Since July 2020, Sencamer acquires the powers of the National Organization for Standardization and the process of generating COVENIN Venezuelan Standards.
Food and Food products belong to the Technical Committee CT-10, where available standards for product or process are found:
http://www.sencamer.gob.ve/sencamer/action/normas-filter (Click here and in “Busque Según Comité Técnico” select CT-10 Productos alimenticios).
Also, a list of COVENIN Standards under study can be found on the following webpage: http://www.sencamer.gob.ve/?q=content/conoce-el-listado-de-proyectos-de-normas-venezolanas-covenin-en-estudio
4. The National Institute of Hygiene Rafael Rangel (INHRR by its acronym in Spanish)
The National Institute of Hygiene, created on October 17th, 1938, currently ascribed to the Ministry of Popular Power for Health (Ministerio del Poder Popular para la Salud), is an Institution of national reference for the sanitary prevention and monitoring through its programs: Sanitary control and registration of products of use and human consumption; diagnosis and epidemic surveillance in the bacteriology, virology and mycology fields; teaching, applied research and extension; goods and service production like: Bacterial and viral vaccines, culture media, cell culture, staining reagents and chemicals; water for injection, vivarium; processing materials and sterilization.
According to the Organic Law of Health (available here: https://www.asambleanacional.gob.ve/leyes/sancionadas/ley-organica-de-salud) and the General Food Regulation (available here: http://extwprlegs1.fao.org/docs/html/ven24840.htm#:~:text=Todo%20alimento%20debe%20ser%20de,ser%20nocivo%20a%20la%20salud), for the purposes of processing the “Registration of food products”, the analyzes of the products must be carried out by the National Institute of Hygiene:
Sanitary control of domestic or imported food and alcoholic beverages (http://www.inhrr.gob.ve/control_sanitario_pa.php)
Sanitary Control consists of evaluating the quality and safety of national and imported food and alcoholic beverages, in order to guarantee compliance with current sanitary regulations, in support of the National Sanitary Comptroller System. It is a technical evaluation that is carried out through physical chemical, microbiological and contaminant tests.
The Sanitary Control is carried out through a control program executed by the SACS (Autonomous Service of Sanitary Comptroller, SACS for its acronym in Spanish), and the INHRR, as well as complaints from public or private entities.
Autonomous Service of Sanitary Comptroller (SACS for its acronym in Spanish)
SACCS is in charge of control of food and products for human consumption.
Through the Division of Sanitary Registration (http://www.sacs.gob.ve/site/recaudos-de-alimentos/) the requirements for 94 items are managed, for example:
- Requirements for Sanitary Registration of National Foods
- Requirements for Sanitary Registration of Imported Food
- Sanitary Registry of Artisanal Foods
- Requirements of Sanitary Registry of National Alcoholic Beverages
- Requirements for Importer Inclusion (Food)
- Requirements for Sanitary Registration of Artisanal Alcoholic Beverages and so on
All the webpages mentioned are available in Spanish.
1. COFEPRIS (Comisión Federal para la Protección contra Riesgos Sanitarios)
English: COFEPRIS is the competent authority for the exercise of the attributions that correspond to the Ministry of Health in matters of regulation, control and sanitary promotion of products and services, their import and export, as well as the establishments dedicated to the process of themselves. To comply with this task, the Commission carries out health control and surveillance actions on food and beverages, food supplements, raw materials and additives involved in their preparation, import and export, as well as the establishments used to process said products.
Spanish: La COFEPRIS es la autoridad competente para el ejercicio de las atribuciones que le corresponden a la Secretaría de Salud en materia de regulación, control y fomento sanitario de productos y servicios, de su importación y exportación, así como de los establecimientos dedicados al proceso de los mismos. Para cumplir con esta encomienda, la Comisión realiza acciones de control y vigilancia sanitaria de alimentos y bebidas, suplementos alimenticios, materias primas y aditivos que intervengan en su elaboración, su importación y exportación, así como de los establecimientos destinados al proceso de dichos productos.
Certification for foods
SENASICA (Servicio Nacional de Sanidad, Inocuidad y Calidad Agroalimentaria)
The National Service for Agrifood Health, Safety and Quality (SENASICA), has the purpose of preserving and improving sanitary conditions and agri-food safety, through phytozoosanitary epidemiological surveillance, inspection in the mobilization of regulated goods, phytozoosanitary, aquaculture and fishing campaigns and actions of contamination risk reduction systems in primary production.
Spanish: El Servicio Nacional de Sanidad, Inocuidad y Calidad Agroalimentaria (Senasica), tiene el fin de preservar y mejorar las condiciones sanitarias y de inocuidad agroalimentaria, a través de la vigilancia epidemiológica fitozoosanitaria, inspección en la movilización mercancías reguladas, campañas fitozoosanitaria, acuícolas y pesqueras y acciones de sistemas de reducción de riesgos de contaminación en la producción primaria.
Contamination Risk Reduction Systems
Dirección General de Normas (DGN) Secretaria de economía
English: General Direction of Standards (DGN) Secretary of Economy
In Mexico, standardization is embodied in the mandatory Mexican Official Standars (NOM), prepared by by Federal Government Dependencies and the primarily voluntary Mexican Standards (NMX), promoted by the Ministry of Economy and the private sector, through the National Standardization Bodies.
Spanish: En México la normalización se plasma en las Normas Oficiales Mexicanas (NOM) de carácter obligatorio, elaboradas por Dependencias del Gobierno Federal y las Normas Mexicanas (NMX) de ámbito primordialmente voluntario, promovidas por la Secretaría de Economía y el sector privado, a través de los Organismos Nacionales de Normalización.
People’s republic of China
The State Council of the People's Republic of China
The Chinese government provides some English translations of its legislation on its website.
China Law Translate
China Law Translate provides, as the name suggests, translations of Chinese legislation. It appears not to be (always) accessible from China.
The Peking University Center for Legal Information provides an excellent database of English language translations of Chinese laws and regulations and other sources of law and legal information, some on food.
The United States Department of Agriculture provides Foreign Agricultural Service to exporters in the USA. It provides reports on trends, policies, regulatory requirements and translations of legislation and standards.
For general access see < https://www.fas.usda.gov/regions >;
For the search form see < https://gain.fas.usda.gov/#/search >.
Furthermore, there are some commercial parties providing translations.
ChemLinked Food Portal
ChemLinked is a portal related to Reach24H.
China Food Law blog
Chinese Standards Shop
The Chinese Standards Shop provides Chinese standards, some on food, some (partly) in English.
Chemical Inspection and Regulation Service (CIRS)
HFG Law and Intellectual property, a Chinese Law firm in Shanghai and Beijing. On its website, it provides translation of several pieces of Chinese legislation, including some on food.
See in general https://www.hfgip.com/;
See in particular https://www.hfgip.com/contents/laws.
Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (RAPS)
In Malaysia, the Food Safety and Quality Control Division (FSQCD) is administered by under the Public Health Services, Ministry of Health. The division is responsible for coordinating food safety and quality control nationwide. Their activities include enforcement of law, monitoring, education for public awareness, promotion of food safety to industries and participation in international standard development bodies. The official site of FSQD can be accessed through the link below:
The website also provides legislation directories to enable the public for accessing the full list of legislation as enforced in Malaysia.
The Ministry of Health also provides FoSIM, which is a web-based information system to assist the management of food safety surveillance in Malaysia. The link can be accessed as below:
European Union (EU)
Twenty seven European countries are Member States of the European Union. In all these countries EU (food) law applies. In addition, national (food) law applies within the EU Member States (see below).
The EU provides an online database, EUR-Lex, of all its official documents including legislation. Many documents are available in all official languages of the EU.
On its website, the European Commission (EC) provides an overview of its policies and legislation on food safety.
(information available in French and Dutch, some of it also in German and English)
Czech Republic offers the database/application called – Collection of the Act and Collection of the International Treaties (Sbírka zákonů a Sbírka mezinárodních smluv) available in Czech language at the link https://aplikace.mvcr.cz/sbirka-zakonu/ - admnistred by Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic.
State Food and Veterinary Service: https://vmvt.lt/?language=en
The State Food and Veterinary Service (SFVS) develops and implements the Government’s policy in food safety and quality as well as in animal health and welfare. The SFVS is accountable to the Government of the Republic of Lithuania.
The inspectors from 10 SFVS Departments and 33 Units of the SFVS Departments control more than 140 thousand economic entities: trade and catering enterprises, producers of animal and non-animal food, dairy farms, animal housing, feed, veterinary medicine producing companies, etc. Every year, about 47 thousand inspections are conducted, over 4 thousand consumer complaints are examined and more than 4 thousand consultations are made.
One of the most important goals of the SFVS is to bring only safe and high-quality food to the consumer's table. So, more than 1 million laboratory tests are performed and about 90 thousand consignments imported into the EU, as well as in transit and stored in the customs warehouses are checked.
The SFVS is active in the fight against animal contagious diseases, pays a lot of attention to animal welfare, as it directly determines not only the quality of animal food, but also affects the economy of Lithuania and the export of Lithuanian food to other countries.
The colleagues from various foreign countries take over the experience and knowledge gained by the SFVS specialists. Each year, up to 10 European Union and third-country delegations visit the SFVS to improve their skills.
The delegations from the European Union, the European Commission, the European Food Safety Authority and third countries regularly come to discuss the prospects for cooperation.
The SFVS heads and specialists organise the conferences for entrepreneurs and colleagues, also actively communicate with students.
The Netherlands is a Member State of the EU. Therefore, EU food law applies in the Netherlands. The Netherlands provides a database of all its national legislation in the Dutch language.
The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (Nederlandse Voedsel- en Warenautoriteit; NVWA) provides information on food safety policy and legislation, some of which is in the English language.
Romania is a member country of the EU since 2007. As a result, EU food law applies in Romania.
Romania provides a legislative portal that allows access to all its national legislation in an updated and consolidated form. Over 150 000 normative acts are available (normative acts from 1989 to present and documents of interest from before 1989). The website is only available in Romanian language.
The National Sanitary Veterinary and Food Safety Authority (ANSVSA) is the Romanian regulatory authority in the sanitary-veterinary and food safety field. The ANSVSA website provides a series of information on food safety legislation and policy, mostly in Romanian language. Part of the links proposed by the website direct the user to the portal mentioned above.
The Romanian National Authority for Consumer Protection (ANPC) offers the consumers the possibility to file complaints regarding food, non-food and services. The ANPC website also lists relevant food (and non-food) safety regulations and policies. Most of the information on the webpage is only available in Romanian language.
In Australia (and in New Zealand), food safety standards and labelling requirements are governed by the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code), the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991 and the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Regulations 1994.
Australia and New Zealand Food Standards Code - https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/code/Pages/default.aspx
Food Regulation 2015 - https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/sl-2015-0622
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is the authority that develops food standards for Australia and New Zealand. - https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/
In addition to the Food Standard Code, various state and territory legislation may apply, including the respective Food Acts for each state and territory. The local council where the business exists will enforce these regulations.
Food Act 2003 (NSW) - https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/act-2003-043
Other laws which relate to food and promotion and packaging in Australia are enforced by other agencies including:
Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cwlth) - enforced by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission - https://www.accc.gov.au/
Fair Trading Act 1987 (NSW) - enforced by the NSW Fair Trading - https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/
Other weights and measures - enforced by the National Measurement Institute - https://www.industry.gov.au/policies-and-initiatives/national-measurement-institute
European Economic Area (EEA)
Norway is not a member state of the EU, but member of the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). This means that the rules of the EU are applicable, but that Norway also has its own rules with no equavalent in the EU.
The hyperlink to the national database of all national legislations in the Norwegian language: https://lovdata.no. A collection of the online legal resources translated to the English language: https://lovdata.no_english.
Link to food related legislation:
The Norwegian Food Safety Authority (NFSA), Mattilsynet, provides information on food legislation, perform risk-based inspections and monitor food safety. The information is in both the Norwegian https://mattilsynet.no and the English language www.mattilsynet.no/language/english .
Link to information on national food policy in Norway: