The obligation for self-control is one of the most important principles of the Swiss Food Act (see article 23 Swiss Food Act). It applies to all business operators who manufacture, process, treat, distribute, import or export food, food additives or commodities.

The obligation for self-control has been incorporated in the Swiss Food Act since 1995. It was incorporated in the food law of the EU in 2002. The responsible person ensures within the businesses under their control that all stages of production, processing, and distribution of foods and commodities satisfy the legal requirements, in particular regarding to health protection, the protection against fraud, and the hygienic handling of food and commodities.

Self-control comprises the securing of good manufacturing procedures (article 52, 53 LGV), the application of quality management systems according to the HACCP concept (article 51 LGV), traceability (article 50 LGV) and the obligation of withdrawal and recall of unsafe food (article 54 LGV).