The sale of food via online shops is called distance selling. Distance selling means products sold by means of distance communication. Means of distance communication is any means which, without the simultaneous physical presence of the supplier and the consumer, may be used for the conclusion of a contract between those parties. Telemarketing and mail-order selling are also distance selling.
Duties and responsibilities of food business operators carrying out distance selling
The same requirements and responsibilities apply to food business operators carrying out distance selling as to other food business operators in retail sales. There are no exceptions.
Food and feed business operators at all stages of production, processing and distribution within the businesses under their control shall ensure that foods or feeds satisfy the requirements of food law which are relevant to their activities and shall verify that such requirements are met.
A food business operator has to be subjected to food controls. The operator has to submit a notification of food premises to the food control authority in the municipality where the operation is situated. If the operator expands their activities by distance selling online, a notification of an essential expansion of the operation has to be submitted to the municipality. The contact details for the municipal authorities are found here.
The operator has to ensure that the consumer receives sufficient information on the foods supplied through distance selling in order to make a decision to purchase. At a minimum, the mandatory food information has to be supplied. The information is not to mislead the consumer, and the food is not to be presented as having properties which it does not have or as having properties that do not differ from other similar products. The nutrition and health claims used have to be approved claims.