Do you produce, prepare or trade in food or other consumer products in the Netherlands? Then you must comply with the Commodities Act (Warenwet).
The Commodities Act (in Dutch) applies to all products used by consumers, both food and non-food. It is linked to a large number of separate regulations and decrees that contain rules for specific foods and consumer products. The Act is a framework act that provides general rules on:
- public health
- product safety
- fair trading
- adequate information
Commodities Act decrees
The regulations on consumer products have been specified in the Commodities Act decrees. For example:
- labelling of food
- playground and amusement equipment
- cosmetic products
- cots and playpens
- steps and ladders
Product safety and information
General product safety is one of the main elements of the Commodities Act. The producer is responsible for the safety of the product and information about the product, for instance on potential risks.
If the producer is located outside of the European Union (EU), the responsibility falls to the importer and distributor. They must ensure the product is safe and the product information is correct.
The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (Nederlandse Voedsel- en Warenautoriteit, NVWA) inspects products to ensure companies adhere to safety regulations. If necessary, it can take measures such as issuing warnings, imposing fines or removing products from shops if there is a direct risk to public health. Producers and distributors must notify unsafe products to the NVWA. You can submit a notification online through the Business Gateway.
Admission of new foods
If you are planning to introduce a novel food to the European market, you will have to apply for approval to the European Commission and the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports (ministerie van Volksgezondheid, Welzijn en Sport, VWS). The Dutch Medicines Evaluation Board (College ter Beoordeling van Geneesmiddelen, CBG) will assess the safety of the novel foods.