Category Archives: Law on animal health

Approximation of laws on animal health







Judge Rapporteur

Advocate General


Reference for a preliminary ruling

Ute Reindl


Bezirkshauptmannschaft Innsbruck


 4th Chamber

L. Bay Larsen

M. Szpunar

Laws on animal health


Approximation of laws on animal health — Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005 — Annex I — Microbiological criteria applicable to foodstuffs — Salmonella in fresh poultry meat — Failure to comply with microbiological criteria found at the distribution stage — National legislation imposing a penalty on a food business operator active only at the stage of retail sale — Compatibility with EU law — Effective, dissuasive and proportionate nature of the penalty


1. It follows from its wording (concept of products placed on the market during their shelf-life) and the objective of food law to attain a high level of protection of public health that fresh poultry meat from the animal populations listed in Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 2160/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the control of salmonella and other specified food-borne zoonotic agents must satisfy the microbiological criteria indicated in Annex I, Chapter I, Row l.28 of Commission Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005, at all stages of distribution including the retail sale stage.2. EU law must be interpreted as meaning that, in principle, it does not preclude national law, which imposes a penalty on a food business operator which is active only at the distribution stage for placing foodstuff on the market, on account of any failure to comply with the microbiological criteria laid down in Annex I, Chapter I, Row 1.28 of Regulation No 2073/2005.Legislation, such as that at issue in the main proceedings, which provides for a fine if food stuffs unfit for human consumption are placed on the market, may help to attain the fundamental objective of food law, that is, a high level of protection of human health.Even if the system of penalties in the case in the main proceedings is a system of strict liability, it must be recalled that, according to the case law of the Court, such a system is not, in itself, disproportionate to the objectives pursued, if that system is such as to encourage the persons concerned to comply with the provisions of a regulation and where the objective pursued is a matter of public interest which may justify the introduction of such a system.

It is up to the national court to determine whether the penalty at issue in the main proceedings observes the principle of proportionality referred to in Article 17(2) of Regulation No 178/2002.