Updated: May 1
A whip through history.
Evidence of food laws and regulations can be traced back to the ancient eras of human civilization, these laws were created to prevent the adulteration of food for economical gain, for example watering down wine, or adding other oils to olive oil to bulk it out.
Two well documented laws from Medieval England the Assisa Panis (Assize of Bread) and Assisa Cervisie (Assize of Beer) regulated the price, weight and quality of bread and beer, ensuring it was accessible to all and of high quality, as a well fed populace was (and still is) a happy populace.
Whilst these laws protected consumers against economic adulteration, they did not necessarily protect against food safety challenges. For example, in Victorian Britain, before the advent of refrigeration, Boracic Acid (Borax) was added to milk as it neutralised the sour taste and smell of milk which was going off, making it pleasant to drink. Adding the Borax to the milk was not believed to be toxic and it was not known that it did not kill the micro-organisms in the milk which were causing it to go off, meaning consumers were exposed to not only a toxic additive, but they were still at risk of getting ill, or worse, by the micro-organisms within the milk.
Skipping forward to the modern day, food standards and regulations ultimately protect consumers against economic adulteration and ensure that a food product is safe to eat. All additives that are used in foods are required to be scientifically proven to be safe to consume, and have clearly defined quantities at which they can be added (if required).
Why food regulations are important.
Food regulations define the requirements that a product must meet to be able to be sold and labelled as a specific food item. These regulations also define if an additive can be added to a specific food, and at what levels.
Understanding the regulatory requirements of the food and beverage product(s) that you are making and selling is fundamental as it will ensure you are legally compliant with your local food standards regulations. Whilst being compliant is mandatory, it ultimately builds trust with your consumers, as they know what they are buying is authentic.
For more specific food labelling information, please click the links to visit:
European Food Safety Authority (European Union)