Zero risk does not exist

Everything is a question of good will, and food safety legislation is no different. Something is brewing, that will lead to better laws for the small artisanal producer. In the Basque country, they are considering modifying legislation, that deals with raw ingredients, that is products that have not been altered in any way.According to the European Legislation, regulation 852-853 200, every actor in the food chain must be registered or have an authorisation from the relevant sanitary authorities. The difference between the two is that the registration is for the establishments that manufacture and distribute products and the authorisation is for the shops that sell the products. This means that a restaurant or a shop must stock registered and approved products to maintain its authorisation.

The bodies responsible for food safety are more rigorous with some products than others, depending on the risk related to the product. For example, all products of animal origin (meat, milk and eggs among others), must be approved by a sanitary inspector, meanwhile other products such as squid fished with a rod and line  can be sold without any sanitary authorisation, as they are considered as low risk.

For the small artisanal farmer, it is difficult to comply with the regulation, as they lack the necessary infrastructure to measure and show compliance. The law says that, in order to be able to sell your product to the market, it is necessary to comply with the law, whether or not you are a medium sized or a small farmer. But there are certain exceptions with some vegetables and fish. Zero risk does not exist in the food industry and therefore the administration demands to the small artisanal farmers self-control regarding their products. Perhaps a solution might be that the small producer, unable to comply with the legal aspects of the regulation, could demonstrate that their products perfectly healthy and in good sanitary condition. Some of the small producers don’t join cooperatives, whose products are regulated, because they are looking to differentiate themselves, from the rest of the market. But the added value that this approach gives to the product creates its own problems. So some farmers, in order to comply with the legal sanitary regulations, are forced to change their traditional way of making things for more modern methods that comply better with the regulations. There are countries, such as France, where there are more advanced and developed laws, even for products like the foie gras pate, which is not a raw ingredient but has had some amount of transformation: it is a product protected with more flexible regulations.

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