The new EU database contains about 400 good practice guides on hygiene from food and catering industries across the EU. The guides bring together procedures and methods on the preparation, production, stocking, transportation, distribution and sale of food products.
The database has been set up to allow companies, professionals and associations access to best practices from around Europe, the Commission's health and consumer protection department said.
Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and France contributed the most guides to the database. The majority cover catering, meat, meat products and baking.
On 1 January a package of five regulations on food hygiene came into force across the EU.
The package, which replaced 14 different directives, sets down clearer and more harmonised rules on the hygiene of foodstuffs, specific hygiene rules for food of animal origin, and specific rules for controls on products of animal origin intended for human consumption.
Under Regulation 852/2004 of the legislation, countries are encouraged to establish voluntary national guides to good practice to help food operators follow the rules. The regulation also requires the Commission to set up and run a registration system for the guides, to be available to all member states.
You can access the database, which has not been completed, by clicking here.
Earlier this year the Commission published its own guidance documents in response to requests for clarification of the complex regulations. The four guidance documents are available by clicking here.
While the hygiene package would lead to higher costs for food processors, it would also make cross-border trading in the bloc simpler for them by establishing a common set of rules.
With the establishment of a common health certificate for food and feed products entering the EU, imports would also face less red tape under the new rules.
One Commission guidance deals with the implementation of certain provisions of Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs. A second deals with Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 on the hygiene of food of animal origin.
The third deals with the required procedures based on the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles brought into EU law.
HACCP is a science based and systematic method of identifying specific hazards and measures for their control to ensure the safety of food. HACCP is a tool to assess hazards and establish control systems that focus on prevention rather than relying mainly on end-product testing.
In other related news the Commission's health and consumer protection department has also published an online magazine on the new hygiene legislation. The magazine can be read in 20 languages online by clicking here. It is also available as a CD for distribution by food associations.