The European Commission has published proposals to change the current
legislation governing all official controls in the food and agriculture
industries. The proposed plans will potentially affect all organisations
involved in the production, manufacture, supply and regulation
of food, feed, live animals, plants and plant reproductive material.
The Commission’s aim is to ensure a more consistent approach
to official controls, such as inspection and approvals, throughout
the food and agriculture sectors. The changes are also intended
to support more sustainable and effective control systems across
European Union (EU) member states.
The FSA is already in the process of consulting with stakeholders
as part of a UK-wide programme across the food industry and with
enforcement agencies to gather views on the potential impact of
the proposed changes. These measures will reduce the legislation
from approximately 70 pieces to five.
A significant development included in the proposals is a change
to the way official controls are funded.
At present, the system for funding and charging is mainly left
to the discretion of individual EU member states. Under the Commission’s
proposed plans, member states would be expected to recover the
full cost of official controls.
There would also be a major increase in the number of controls
subject to mandatory charging. The Commission’s proposals
include detailed measures for the calculation of fees and a mandatory
exemption for micro-businesses. A micro-business is a business
that employs less than 10 people, with a turnover of less than
Procedures and management of import controls across the plant,
animal, feed and food chains are expected to be simplified and
harmonised under the changes.
New rules regarding the level of information that government
and local authorities will be expected to make available to businesses
and the general public about official controls have also been
The first stage of the Agency’s stakeholder engagement
programme with the food and feed industry, regulatory and enforcement
bodies is already underway.
There will be a formal public consultation in the coming months,
followed by a second stage of meetings with stakeholders, once
the EU member states and the Commission begin the official negotiation
Stakeholders’ views and advice on the potential impact
and the scale of the proposed changes, as well as any practical
considerations on how the measures might be implemented, will
help form the basis for the UK’s negotiations with the Commission
and other member states. Stakeholders are also encouraged to submit
their views on the Commission’s proposals directly to the
FSA via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As negotiations proceed, the revised regulations will be presented
to the European Parliament and the European Council. Both will
assess the details before voting on whether to adopt the amended
regulations. Due to the complexity of the proposals, voting is
not expected to take place until late 2014.
Source: UK FSA
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