chapter  13
The EU regulatory system on food safety: between trust and safety
Pages 20

Food is the key to good health and well-being since it supplies essential nutrients which ‘feed’ the individual’s needs. In addition to being a means of survival for human beings, it is also an expression of cultural habits and traditions. Moreover, food is an important economic good; with an annual turnover of almost 800 billion, the food and drink industry is one of the most important industrial sectors of the European Union and a major employer and exporter.1 The assurance of food safety and quality is therefore of high importance to consumers, producers and public authorities. The 1996 BSE crisis demonstrated severe shortcomings in this assurance. Accused of having given less consideration to health and safety protection than to the trading of beef,2 the European Commission declared in the aftermath of the BSE crisis to have food safety as its prime interest.3