This publication was prepared to enable national authorities, particularly in developing countries, to improve their food control systems. It replaces the earlier FAO/WHO publication Guidelines for Developing an Effective National Food Control System (1976) - FAO Food Control Series No. 1; WHO Food Control No. 1. It takes into account recent development in the conception and operation of effective national food control programmes, and the new trading environment which resulted from the WTO Agreements on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures and on Technical Barriers to Trade. The guidelines seek to provide advice to national authorities on strategies to strengthen food control systems to protect public health, prevent fraud and deception, avoid food adulteration and facilitate trade. They will enable authorities to choose the most suitable options for their food control systems in terms of legislation, infrastructure and enforcement mechanisms. The document delineates the overarching principles of food control systems, and provides examples of possible infrastructures and approaches for national systems. The target users of these Guidelines are national authorities concerned with ensuring food safety and quality in the interests of public health and consumer protection. The Guidelines will also be of assistance to a range of other stakeholders including consumer groups, industry and trade organizations, farmer groups and any other groups or associations that influence national policy in this area.