Law and Regulations

Import of goods, both the legislation and regulation of plant substances as well as chemicals are regulated at three levels.

 

In the sections below an enumeration and explanation of law and regulations and inspection services. From global scale to national authorities.

FAO

Food and Agricultural Organization. United Nations. Their objective is to meet the demands posed by major global trends in agricultural development and challenges faced by member nations, FAO has identified key priorities on which it is best placed to intervene.

Relevant area’s

  • Make agriculture, forestry and fisheries more productive and sustainable

  • Enable inclusive and efficient agricultural and food systems

 

They develop monographs, guidelines and more on many things concerning food and agriculture, among them Guar Gum.

  • Standardized testing methods and technical specs(see sources)

  • Maximum amount of additives per unit food.

  • etc

Maximum level of additives per kg

WHO

WHO, in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), is responsible for assessing the risks to human health from food additives. Risk assessment of food additives are conducted by an independent, international expert scientific group – the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA).

Only food additives that have undergone a JECFA safety assessment, and are found not to present an appreciable health risk to consumers, can be used. This applies whether food additives come from a natural source or they are synthetic. National authorities, either based on the JECFA assessment or a national assessment, can then authorize the use of food additives at specified levels for specific foods.

Compendium of Food additive specifications

The specifications of identity and purity of food additives established by JECFA are meant to identify the substance that has been subject to biological testing, to ensure that the substance is of adequate degree of purity for safe use in food, and to reflect and encourage good manufacturing practices. 

 

Monograph Chemical and Technical

Assessment Guar Gum

Yoko Kawamura, Ph.D.

CODEX ALIMENTARIUS

The safety assessments completed by JECFA are used by the joint intergovernmental food standard-setting body of FAO and WHO, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, to establish levels for maximum use of additives in food and drinks.

 

Codex standards are the reference for national standards for consumer protection, and for the international trade in food, so that consumers everywhere can be confident that the food they eat meets the agreed standards for safety and quality, no matter where it was produced.

 

Once a food additive has been found to be safe for use by JECFA and maximum use levels have been established in the Codex General Standard for Food Additives, national food regulations need to be implemented permitting the actual use of a food additive.

The Codex Alimentarius can be found here. (general practices, guidelines, standards)

Specific result for Guar Gum can be found on this link.

GMP

Good manufacturing practices (GMP) are the practices required in order to conform to the guidelines recommended by agencies that control the authorization and licensing of the manufacture and sale of food and beverages, cosmetics, pharmaceutical products,dietary supplements,and medical devices.

 

These guidelines provide minimum requirements that a manufacturer must meet to assure that their products are consistently high in quality, from batch to batch, for their intended use. The rules that govern each industry may differ significantly; however, the main purpose of GMP is always to prevent harm from occurring to the end user. 

 

Additional tenets include ensuring the end product is free from contamination, that it is consistent in its manufacture, that its manufacture has been well documented, that personnel are well trained, and the product has been checked for quality more than just at the end phase.

GMP guidelines

SSOP

The purpose of a sanitation program is to provide a clean and sanitary environment for the safe manufacturing and handling of food products. The program iswritten with the goal of producing safe food.

Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures 

SSOP’s should provide a step-by-step method for properly cleaning and sanitizing each piece of equipment. The written procedure can also be used as a training tool for employees on how to properly prepare/disassemble, clean, re-assembly and sanitize each piece of equipment.

ISO

One of the most widely-used standards are the ISO standards. No doubt these have already been included in the current production process.

Just the mention of them here will suffice for now.

EU REGULATIONS

REACH

REACH is a European regulation for chemicals. The abbreviation stands for Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals. Everyone who professionally produces chemical substances or preparations, imports, distributes or uses in the European Union (EU), is subject to REACH.

CE marking

For a large part of the industrial products that are placed on the European market, they must have a CE mark. With this, the manufacturer or the importer (when importing from outside the EU) indicates that the product meets the most important requirements in the area of ​​safety, health and the environment. It does not matter whether a product is produced outside or within the EU.

Products with a CE marking have free access to the entire market within the EEA: all 27 countries of the EU plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. National governments are not allowed to impose additional requirements for those areas that are covered by European legislation.

Food business operators (FBOs) will be obliged to pre-notify ports and other points of entry and the date & time of arrival of shipments  

 

For identity and physical checks, 5% of consignments will be randomly inspected. FBOs will also have to meet all costs arising from the extra inspections that include bills for sampling, analysis, storage, and measures taken following non-compliance  Food companies must provide customs authorities with evidence that officials controls have been carried out and that shipments have been cleared as safe

REGULATORY AGENCIES

EMA - European Medicines Agency

ECHA - European Chemicals Agency

EFSA - European Food Safety Authority

For more about European law click this link.

DUTCH REGULATIONS

 

Commodities Act

In the Netherlands, the rules with regard to most consumer items, foodstuffs and foodstuffs are laid down in the Commodities Act. The Commodities Act states, among other things, which labeling rules the products must meet. The Food and Commodities Safety Authority (NVWA) monitors compliance with these rules in the Netherlands.

Import license

Some products require an import license if you want to import them. Customs will then check whether you comply with the laws on safety, health, economy and the environment. For example, textiles, steel and counterfeit goods are strictly controlled, as are weapons, medicines, waste and endangered animal and plant species. You can find more information about the VGEM guidelines on the customs website.

Product liability of the importer

Product liability is the liability for damage caused by a lack of a product. If you are an importer of goods coming from outside the EU, you are liable for the damage caused by the product.

Phytosanitary inspection program
Under the supervision of the NVWA, the NVWA and the inspection services in the Netherlands carry out a phytosanitary inspection program. The aim is to prevent quarantine (worthy) organisms from entering the Netherlands and spreading, not only within the Netherlands but also within the EU and to third countries.

It is essential to determine the presence of harmful organisms in time. This is the only way to prevent the establishment and construction of new populations and to prevent harmful organisms from spreading with plant products. It is mainly the quality of work in plant production and supply chains that determines the risk of introducing and spreading harmful organisms. In the Dutch phytosanitary system, the NVWA and the various inspection services carry out inspections in all links of the vegetable production chains.

 

These infections are not always immediately visible. For this reason, plants and plant products are checked in the first weeks after import for the latently present contaminants that may have developed.

If there are indications that a country of origin does not wish to include additional statements on the phytosanitary certificate, the NVWA can send a letter to that country, with the request to issue the additional declarations necessary for re-export. Companies can report to the NVWA for this.

GERMAN REGULATIONS

 

Food and feed law

In Germany, the Lebensmittel-, Bedarfsgegenstände- und Futtermittelgesetzbuch (LFBG) comprises the basic German food and feed law, most of which is based on fully harmonized EU regulations and directives. The LFGB provides basic definitions, procedural rules and goals of the German food law. It defines general food safety and health protection rules, addresses labeling requirements, regulates inspection, detention, and seizure rules of suspect food. These rules apply to domestically produced and imported food products alike.

The authority for enforcement rests with the federal states. The responsible agency for monitoring compliance with German food law regulations is the Bundesamt fuer Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit (BVL). It is under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV).

Product liability of the importer

Ultimately, the German importer has final responsibility for the marketability of any imported products into Germany. The German law enforcement agencies hold the importer solely responsible for any violations of the Food Law since they cannot take action against foreign producers, including those in other EU countries.

Dietetic Foods

Taking into account the dietetic properties of guar gum it is good to take not of the Dietetic Foods Ordinance: The German Dietetic Food Ordinance (Verordnung ueber diätetische Lebensmittel, DiätV) defines the properties foods must have in order for the manufacturer to label them as dietetic. It requires that foods and beverages labeled as dietetic must differ substantially from other regular foods. A simple listing of the nutrient content, bread units, and/or caloric value on the label is not sufficient to allow the use of the term “dietetic.” Health-related statements are strictly limited.

Food Supplements

In Germany, the marketing challenge of functional foods in many cases is its definition and demarcation from pharmaceutical products, which require special and specific product approval.

Deutsches Institut fuer Normung

DIN also provides information on all technical rules (including standard, technical regulations and certification systems) valid in the Federal Republic of Germany, irrespective of whether the technical rules have been issued by federal or local authorities or by non-governmental bodies.

BELGIAN REGULATIONS

 

Food and drugs Law

The Belgian Food and Drugs Law is called “de Wet betreffende de bescherming van de gezondheid van de gebruikers op het stuk van de voedingsmiddelen en andere produkten”. This law from 1977 provides the Belgian regulatory framework for all food products. It applies to domestically produced and imported food and other products including tobacco and cosmetic products. The main objective of this law is (1) health protection, (2) product safety, (3) ensuring that consumers have adequate and correct information and (4) promotion of fair trade. All amendments and supplementary food laws are published in “Het Belgisch Staatsblad/Le Moniteur Belge”,

The Directorate-General for control of the Belgian Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FAVV) has the responsibility for food controls. Veterinary, phytosanitary and food inspection as well as food process standards are within the domain of the FAVV.

Language Requirements

Belgium covers 4 language areas. The Dutch language area is located in the Northern part of Belgium whereas the French language area is located in the South. Brussels, the capital of Belgium, is bi-lingual. Finally there is a small German language area which is located in the east and borders with Germany. Language has been a very sensitive issue for many decades. This language sensitivity is reflected in the labeling requirements. 

Food additives

Belgium follows the requirements as set in the EU.

The royal decree concerning purity criteria for additives that may be used in foodstuffs, is controlled by Federal Public Service (FPS) Public Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment. Directorate-General Animal, Plant and Nutrition
Service Food, Animal Feed and Other Consumption Products