In less than a decade, European food institutions have gone through a period of important reform. This reform was intended to address new challenges posed by a succession of food safety crises, the entry into the world markets of novel foods, and general public distrust of the actions of the European Commission. This paper sketches the most salient institutional changes that have occurred in the history of the European Union (EU). It also maps the redistribution of responsibilities in the European food system. After years of harmonisation in the name of free trade, in the mid-1990s food safety and consumer protection became the guiding principles of European food policy. Having described these changes, the paper suggests that a specifically European food policy style is emerging in juxtaposition with 'transatlantic' food policy.