Earlier this week I blogged about Berlin authorities claiming that day nannies would be considered “food business operators” under EU law and had to follow detailed reporting duties under this law.
Mr Vincent, the spokesperson of the Commission Directorate General for Health & Consumers whose response I was still awaiting on Tuesday now has made clear in an email to me that, according to the guidance document on the foodstuff hygiene regulation which according to Vincent expresses “the Commission’s official position” on this matter, there was no requirement to apply this EU regulation to nannies.
Vincent quotes from the guidance document, page 13 (my highlight):
“3.8. The occasional handling, preparation, storage and serving of food by private persons
Operations such as the occasional handling, preparation, storage and serving of food by private persons at events such as church, school or village fairs are not covered by the scope of the Regulation. This is made clear in recital 9 of Regulation (EC) No 852/2004.
The second sentence states that:
“Community rules should only apply to undertakings, the concept of which implies a certain continuity of activities and a certain degree of organisation”.
The term “undertaking” is integrated in the definition of a “food business” (in accordance with Article 3(2) of the General Food Law (Regulation (EC) No 178/2002), a “food business” must be an “undertaking”).
Somebody who handles, prepares, stores or serves food occasionally and on a small scale (e.g. a church, school or village fair and other situations such as organised charities comprising individual volunteers where the food is prepared occasionally) cannot be considered as an “undertaking” and is therefore not subject to the requirements of Community hygiene legislation.“
So why does the German ministry responsible for foodstuff matters in a letter to the Berlin authorities consider nannies subject to this regulation? Why do the Berlin authorities follow this interpretation in their guidance document for nannies and do not consider the guidance document by the EU Commission?
And why can’t the journalist reporting about this topic contact the EU Commission like I did? It may have taken a week, indeed, but it shows that with a little effort “the evil European Union forcing legislation on poor nannies” quickly becomes “the evil national and regional authorities unable to properly interpret EU law” to the disfavour of small businesses.