Like other branches of industry the cocoa and chocolate industry is committed to regulations. These are partly self-imposed; for instance, specifications, product data and purchase and sales contracts. These may also be dictated or recommended by local, regional, national or European bodies, but may also originate from (inter)national organizations such as standardization institutes (e.g. BSI), the International Standards Organization (ISO) or the Codex Alimentarius Commission (a United Nations organization).
The overall aim of these regulations is to protect the consumer (against unsafe food), to ensure a minimum level of quality, to promote competition and (international) trade (internal market) and to stimulate Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).
For this purpose the European Commission has described the European Food Legislation in the General Food Law as Directive EU 178/2002.
Important aspects of this Directive are:
- a risk assessment has to be made of each food product/process (analysis, evaluation, management, risk communication);
- products have to be traceable at all stages of the production, handling and distribution;
- the food safety of animal feed (e.g. cocoa shell) is also regulated by this Directive;
- the producer removes unsafe product from the market or recalls them and inform the authorities on this;
- the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is the connection between the European Commission and the national authorities and the EFSA supervises the execution of the Directive and can take or enforce (corrective) actions.
This chapter deals with the various regulations, some very briefly and in general terms and others more extensively and thoroughly, in line with the practical approach of this Manual. These cover:
- cocoa beans, cocoa and chocolate products (para. 8.1);
- contamination of cocoa and chocolate products (pesticides, heavy metals, mycotoxins and foreign matter may make products unsafe for
consumption) (para. 8.2);
- product data as nutritional value, allergens, GMO, Kosher/Halal, etc. (para 8.3)
- additives and labelling (para. 8.4);
- weights and measures or ‘e mark’ versus ‘net’ indication (para.8.5);
- quality (management) systems like the ISO 9000 series (para. 8.6);
- Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) (para. 8.7);
- safety, working conditions, Work Safety Directive and Machinery Safety Directive (incl. the CE mark) (para. 8.8);
- environment (para. 8.9);
- product liability (para 8.10).