The purpose of the Lebensmittel- und Bedarfsgegenständegesetz LMBG (Law on Foodstuff and Necessaries)
is to protect the consumer against health hazards and deceptions regarding
food, tobacco products, cosmetics and other necessaries. For the implementation
of the law, a number of statutory orders was issued which among others
rule the permission of additives for food, the maximum amount of residues
of pesticides and the labelling of foodstuff. The German Laender are
responsible for the control of compliance with the legal food provisions.
Of course, the strict regulations of the German Food Law must also be met by goods brought from other countries into Germany. That is why the importation of food is controlled in particular. This control is one of the duties performed by German Customs.
is for consumption. In the Law on Foodstuff and Necessaries food is defined as "stuff intended to be consumed by man in unchanged, prepared or worked condition".
There is a distinction between
- foodstuff of animal origin
e.g. meat, milk, eggs, honey and
- foodstuff of plant origin
e.g. potatoes, mushrooms, wine and vine leaves.
According to the LMBG, foodstuff may only be imported into Germany if it is
absolutely harmless for health.
Besides the regulations regarding food, there are other protective measures to be met. These basically arise from the following fields of law:
- Regulations regarding animal health,
- sanitary plant protection
- or regulations regarding the protection of endangered species.
Participation of Customs
One of the duties performed by German Customs is the participation in the control of importation and exportation of foodstuff, tobacco products, cosmetics and necessaries into/out of the purview of the LMBG.
On indication of an infringement of the prohibitions and restrictions of the LMBG the imported consignments shall be stopped for further control and the competent administrative authorities (as a rule, the food quality control authorities) shall be informed. Foodstuff prohibited entry is either destroyed or must be re- exported.