Netherlands - Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards

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EU legislation is made up of Directives and Regulations which must be translated into the 23 official languages in use in the EU-27. Directives define the result that must be achieved but leave to each Member State the choice of form and methods to transpose the directive into national laws (usually within 2-3 years after adoption). Regulations are binding in their entirety and automatically enter into force on a set date in all Member States. Amendments to EU legislation are usually published in new and separate Directives and Regulations. A Decision is binding entirely on those to whom it is addressed. No national implementing legislation is required. A Recommendation has no binding effect as it is not a law.
Harmonization with the EU
The Netherlands, as a member of the EU, conforms to all EU regulations and directives. Regulation (EC) 178/2002 (General Food Law) is the harmonized regulation which sets out the general principles and requirements of EU harmonized food law. Exporters should be aware that there may also be some variation among Member States in applying EU harmonized legislation; there may be temporary waivers or exemptions and in certain cases there may be room for interpretation of EU harmonized legislation or aspects, which are not regulated in detail at EU level, may be handled differently in different member states.
The Netherlands
The Dutch Food and Drugs Law is called “Warenwet”. This Warenwet provides the Dutch regulatory framework for all food and non-food products. It applies to domestically produced and imported products. Revisions of the Dutch Food and Drugs Law are published in the "Staatscourant". The Food and Drugs Law and revisions can be found on At this website all other Dutch legislation can be found as well. (NOTE: website is in Dutch).
The task of the Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) is to protect human and animal health. It monitors food and consumer products to safeguard public health and animal health and welfare. The NVWA is an independent agency in the Ministry of Economic Affairs (EZ) and a delivery agency for the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (WVS).

Marcel Pinckaers