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European legislation between consumers and eggs

Legal measures adopted by the European Union can influence egg production and consumption in both direct and indirect ways. There are measures that directly hit egg producers, like strict controls to avoid food contamination, while others aim at regulating agricultural sector in general and at protecting consumers’ health. Food safety is a priority in the EU policy agenda and many programmes are addressed to strengthening it.

But what is food safety? If we mean food safety in a broader sense, it is clear that it can be interpreted both as a credence or a search attribute. For example, if we consider the requirements imposed by legislation and communicated to consumers through labels, there is room for food safety to become a search attribute, while if in consumers’ minds food safety is related to the origin of a certain product it is classified among credence attributes (Umberger et al., 2003).

Together with a strategy aimed at improving consumer self-prevention of risk, the making of informed choices by consumers is the goal the European Union wants to reach through its legislation. Among the variety of EU legal measures on food, it is worth focusing on three ‘hot topics’. The first explores new challenges posed by legislation on nutritional and health claims, the second the requirements for animal welfare improvement and the third will discuss regulation on labelling, with special attention to allergen warnings.

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