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Impact of the Codex Alimentarius journal article

The Influence of the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme on EU Food Law

Bernd van der Meulen

European Food and Feed Law Review, Volume 14 (2019), Issue 1, Page 29 - 50

The FAO and the WHO have set up a joint food standards programme with the Codex Alimentarius Commission at its core. The Codex Alimentarius Commission has a membership base of its own. It adopts standards by consensus of its member countries, based on the scientific input from risk assessment bodies that also form part of the joint FAO/WHO food standards programme. The purpose of the standards of the Codex Alimentarius is to harmonise national and regional food legislation at a global level. This article explores to what extent the influence of the Codex Alimentarius is actually present in EU food law. To this end, it identifies the major fields of EU food law on the basis of a pre-existing framework for analysis. The article shows that the Codex Alimentarius is present in all these major fields in concepts, methods, principles and rules of conduct for food businesses. Keywords: Codex Alimentarius; EU food law.


A Comparative Legal Analysis of Labelling Requirements in the EU and US for Restructured and Mechanically Tenderised Beef journal article

Nathan Meijer, Yannick Weesepoel, Rob de Jonge, Bernd van der Meulen, Leo van Raamsdonk, Saskia van Ruth

European Food and Feed Law Review, Volume 14 (2019), Issue 3, Page 231 - 242

Meat is processed to various degrees before it reaches the consumer. The surface of a piece of meat may be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria during processing. Sufficiently heating the product is therefore often required to ensure safe consumption. The focus of this article is on the food safety risk of two types of invasively processed beef products: (i) mechanically tenderised meat and (ii) restructured meat products. If such a product is undercooked because the consumer believes it to be an un-processed whole piece of meat, then these types of products may be unsafe to eat because any potential pathogenic contamination in the product core will not be eliminated. Risk factors of mechanically tenderised and restructured beef have been examined, and the sufficiency of the corresponding legal protection of consumers in the European Union (EU) compared to those in the United States (US) was evaluated. We conclude that deep tissue contamination of invasively processed beef may occur more often and at higher concentrations than estimated, and that consumers are not adequately made aware of this. Although certain microbiological criteria are in place to mitigate the risk from the producer’s side, outbreaks in the US have shown that these measures are insufficient. We therefore recommend that labelling requirements in the EU be changed for this type of meat.



Medicinal Claims journal article

Prohibition, Enforcement and Delineation: Food in Fact but Medicine in Law?

Bernd van der Meulen

European Food and Feed Law Review, Volume 12 (2017), Issue 5, Page 392 - 405

Under EU medicinal law, substances presented as having properties for treating or preventing disease are medicinal products by virtue of their presentation. EU food law prohibits attributing to any food the property of preventing, treating or curing a disease. However, if certain conditions are fulfilled, it is allowed to make health claims for foods. Authorities in the Netherlands take the position that the EU prohibition on medicinal claims for foods is redundant because all products with such claims are medicinal products by virtue of their presentation. Thus, claims not (fully) authorised are enforced as infringements on medicinal law. The author systematically and comparatively analyses the food law prohibition on medicinal claims in relation to the concept of medicinal product by presentation. He argues that the presentation criterion is structural in nature and depends on the overall impression an averagely well-informed consumer acquires regarding a product. The prohibition on medicinal claims is behavioural in nature. It is possible to promise consumers too much regarding beneficial properties of a food without actually making them believe that the food is a medicinal product. The author argues against the Dutch interpretation and in favour of an interpretation adhered to by most other EU Member States.


Eleven decades of US American Federal Food Law journal article

How the FDA acquired its statutory powers

Nathan Meijer, Nikolaas Tilkin-Franssens, Bernd van der Meulen

European Food and Feed Law Review, Volume 10 (2015), Issue 6, Page 433 - 441

Due to the increased interstate commerce and international trade in the United States of the early 1900s, the need for regulation by a federal agency became apparent. What was to become the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – responsible for this task – was founded in 1906. Various crises over the years led to enhanced administrative powers, which in turn were often challenged and clarified in court. This article gives an overview of the timeline of food risk management as performed by the FDA between 1906 and 2015, with a focus on the major legislation impacting its powers and the developments that led to them.

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