Internet control

Shopping behaviour is being permanently changed by the trend towards increasing digitalisation. Austrian consumers are increasingly buying food and other everyday items such as cosmetics and toys online. However, this also increases the possibility that consumers could encounter products that could expose them to health risks or deception when shopping online. In order to ensure a high level of consumer protection, e-commerce is subject to the same legal requirements as "regular" bricks-and-mortar retail and is subject to risk-based official monitoring.

Products are often sold across national borders in Austria, the EU or even worldwide. For this reason, it was necessary to establish an efficient official control structure for targeted monitoring of the online market. Since 1 January 2022, the Federal Office of Consumer Health(BAVG) has taken over parts of the official internet control in Austria within its area of responsibility. In accordance with Section 6c(1)(4) of the Health and Food Safety Act (Federal Law Gazette I No. 63/2002, GESG), the BAVG is the competent authority for the official control of all goods that are subject to the Food and Consumer Protection Act (Federal Law Gazette I No. 13/2006; LMSVG) and are offered for sale in Austria via the internet or other distance selling channels from EU contracting states , EEA states or third countries.

The inspection activities of the BAVG concern all Internet providers of goods whose registered office is outside Austria, in the European Single Market and third countries, but who offer their goods for sale to Austrian consumers. In contrast to the competence of the BAVG, the official control competence for online trade by Austrian providers remains with the already competent provincial authority (provincial governor). The BAVG is responsible for the risk-based control of online trade in the following product groups as far as the European internal market and third countries are concerned:

  • Food (including food supplements)
  • Water for human consumption
  • Consumer goods and
  • cosmetic products

The tasks of the FOPH with regard to online trade include the following activities:

  • Exchange of information with authorities in other EU member states via EU reporting systems
  • Regular monitoring of the market situation
  • Participation in EU-coordinated priority actions
  • Participation in international working groups on e-commerce
  • Processing information and complaints from consumers

The most important legal bases for internet control:

  • Official Controls Regulation of the EU (OCR)
  • Food Safety and Consumer Protection Act (LMSVG)
  • Health and Food Safety Act (GESG)
This page has been translated using translation software. In case of doubt, the German version of this website shall apply.