Egypt: Food And Beverage Safety In Egypt

Last Updated: 1 May 2018
Article by Maha Ibrahim

Tourism in Egypt is flourishing, as it became a destination for many tourists due to its many attractions especially the peculiarity of its food. However, in some cases tourists suffer from diseases, infections or food poisoning due to the failure of hotels and touristic sites to observe the food and beverage hygiene, which lead tourists to the court in order to claim for compensation.

Accordingly, it is important to understand the rules, laws and regulations which govern the food and beverage safety in Egypt in order to determine the scope of responsibility for any damaged caused and the compensability.

Food and beverage safety in Egypt are governed by the Ministry of Health and Population and the National Food Safety Authority. In addition to that, Arab Republic of Egypt has joined the International Committee of the Food Constitution (CODEX) in 1972.

Under the supervision of the Ministry of Health and Population, there are several food inspectors for different areas.

There is at least one food inspector in each health office. The food inspector's role is to collect samples from different areas to be examined.

In case someone submitted a complaint, the food inspectors shall take a sample, and examine it in the national health laboratories. The sample shall be analyzed according to the applicable standards and regulations. A report shall be submitted to indicate whether there is a violation or not, in case the sample showed any violation to the applicable standards and regulations, a legal action shall be taken and the injured party shall be compensated.

According to the Egyptian law, food and beverage safety control shall be governed by Law No. 10 of the year 1966 regulating Food Control and Law No. 48 of the Year 1941 regulating Fraud Prevention and amended by Law No. 281 of the year 1994 in addition to different Ministerial Decrees and Guidelines issued by the competent Ministries.

Law No. 10 of the Year 1966

This law prohibited the circulation of food in the following cases:

  • If the food doesn't meet the standards stipulated by the law.
  • If the food is not suitable for human consumption.
  • If the food is adulterated.

The food according to this law shall be considered unsuitable for human consumption if:

1. The food is harmful for health.

The food is considered to be harmful for health in the following cases:

  • If the food is contaminated with microbes or parasites that can cause the disease for humans.
  • If the food contains toxic substances that cause harm to human health only within the limits prescribed by article 11.
  • If it is handled by a person who is ill with an infectious disease that transmits its infection to the human through food or drink and these foods are susceptible to contamination.
  • If it is caused by an animal that is sick with a disease transmitted to humans or caused by a dead animal.
  • If mixed with dust or impurities at a rate exceeding the prescribed rates or impossible to purge it.
  • If it contains contaminants, preservatives, or any other prohibited substances.
  • If their packaging contains harmful substances to health.

2. The food is rotten or adulterated.

The food is considered to be harmful for health in the following cases:

  • If their composition or its natural properties has changed regarding their taste, smell or appearance according to the chemical or microbial analysis.
  • If it is expired according to the date specified in the card marked on its packaging.
  • if it contains worms, insects, or animal waste.

The food according to this law shall be considered adulterated if:

  1. It does not meet the prescribed specifications.
  2. It mixed with other material that changes its nature or quality.
  3. One of the materials of its composition was replaced partially or completely with another material of lower quality.
  4. One of its components was partially or completely removed.
  5. It is intended to conceal its rotten or damage in any way.
  6. It contains any colored materials, preservatives or additives that are not harmful to health but they are not included in the prescribed specifications.
  7. It contains, wholly or partially, a rotten vegetarian or animal nutrient whether manufactured or resulted from a dead animal.
  8. The data prescribed on their packaging is contrary to the fact of their installation, which leads to deceive the consumer or damaging his health.

This law also imposes that the food handling places, the means of transporting the food and its containers must always comply with hygienic requirements which shall be described by a decree from the Minister of Health and Population.

In addition to that, the staff working in food circulation should be free of infectious diseases and not carrying its microbes according to the hygienic requirements specified by a Decree of the Minister of Health and Population.

Law No. 48 of the year 1941 amended by Law No. 281 of the year 1994

In order to regulate the Fraud Prevention, this law stipulated some penalties as follows:

  1. Anyone who adulterated food for human consumption, agricultural products, organic products or manufactured products or offered for sale or sold substances that are used in adulterating any of such products, shall be punished by detention for a period not less than 1 year and not more than 5 years and a fine not less than 10000 EGP and not more than 30000 EGP or the equivalent to the good's value whichever is greater.

    The penalty shall be detention for a period not less than 2 years and not more than 7 years and a fine not less than 20000 EGP and not more than 40000 EGP or the equivalent to the good's value whichever is greater, if any of such adulterated products were harmful to human health.
  2. Anyone who imported adulterated, rotten or expired food for human consumption, agricultural products, organic products or manufactured products with his knowledge, shall be punished by detention for a period not less than 1 year and not more than 5 years and a fine not less than 25000 EGP and not more than 100000 EGP or the equivalent to the good's value whichever is greater.

    The competent authority shall execute these products at the expense of the consignee or to determine a date to re-export the adulterated or rotten products or executing them at the expense of the consignor.
  3. In case of return, the penalties shall be detention for a period not less than 5 years and a fine not less than 30000 EGP and not more than 60000 EGP or the equivalent to the good's value whichever is greater.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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