Mutual recognition of foodstuffs

Mutual recognition aims to promote market access for products for which EU legislation is not harmonised. In accordance with the principle, products lawfully marketed in one Member State must, in principle, enter the market of all Member States, even if the product does not fully comply with the national technical and qualitative provisions required of the Member State's own production.

The EU Regulation on the mutual recognition of goods lawfully marketed in another Member State ((EU) 2019/515) was issued in order to ensure the free movement of goods. It applies in cases where national requirements are set for products in legislation or official regulations, and these requirements are not harmonised in the EU. 

Declaration of mutual recognition by the food business operator or contact material operator

The operator has the possibility to submit a voluntary mutual recognition declaration to the authorities of the Member States to which the products of the undertaking are being imported. The declaration allows the operator to demonstrate that the products are legally marketed in another Member State. The declaration has a specific form and must comply with the conditions specified in the Annex to the Regulation. The European Commission has drafted a declaration form in all the official languages of the EU. A declaration concerning food and food contact material is submitted to the Finnish Food Authority:

Non-access to the market of a product     

The supervisory authority may, for justified reasons, prevent or restrict the marketing of a product on the market. Such reasons include the protection of human, animal and plant health and life as well as protection of the environment. In addition to the operator, the European Commission and the other Member States shall be notified of a negative decision without delay. The decision may be appealed to the Administrative Court.

SOLVIT procedure

In some cases, the issue of access to the market of goods may be referred to SOLVIT. The SOLVIT problem-solving network is a free service in which problems between companies and authorities established in different countries are solved through informal co-operation between the Member States and the Commission. The service does not replace the formal appeal procedure or provide legal aid if the case has been brought to court.

The company may refer the decision it has received to the EU SOLVIT service if it feels that an authority in another Member State has not properly applied EU law. The authority will be given an opportunity to voluntarily correct any shortcomings in its operations. A Finnish company may not use SOLVIT if the counterparty is a Finnish authority. SOLVIT solutions are recommendations that are not binding on the authorities. More information on the procedure can be found on the SOLVIT network website, where the case can be submitted.

Page last updated 9/15/2020