On 14 December 2019 the revised Official Controls Regulation (2017/625) will be applicable in all EU Member States. FVE welcomes the new Official Controls Regulation, its risk-based approach and the openness and stakeholders’ involvement in the consultation process.
However, FVE remains concerned about its implementation and enforcement at Member State level. This piece of legislation may be used as an opportunity to save money rather than as a tool to strengthen the quality of the food chain controls. Such an approach could easily undermine food safety, public health, animal health and welfare and will negatively impact the EU economy.
What concerns FVE arises from the report by the EU Commission on the overall operation of official controls performed in Member States (2014-2016).
The report points out that “Member States staff resources for controls are increasingly limited and that a potential further reduction risks negatively affecting the levels and quality of controls and the capacity to respond to emergencies. This is likely to be an increasingly important issue in the future development of official controls”.
Also, the recent report published in October by the European Consumer Organisation ‘Keeping food in check’, highlights that “there is a declining trend in resources and in the overall number of inspections carried out by Member States”. Competent authorities from Austria, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, UK, have clearly signalled that the resources available for controls are increasingly limited.
- FVE calls on Member States to ensure enough human and financial resources for the performance of official controls. National governments must put in place all the necessary resources to allow Competent Authorities and official veterinarians to fulfil their responsibilities (audit, inspection, enforcement).
- FVE calls on the EU Commission to assist Member States in setting up adequate and satisfactory official controls and to monitor this closely with Directorate F. We also call to keep courses through the Better Training for Safer Food (BTSF) Program