Background information

The objective of this project is to improve knowledge and to raise awareness of the new provisions, regime and approach which is adopted based on the "Smarter rules for safer food" principles.

Objectives

The BTSF training on Official Controls Regulation is aimed at spreading knowledge and enhancing professional skills on food labeling and information.

Extended objectives

On year 2013 the European Commission adopted a package of measures to strengthen the enforcement of health and safety standards for the whole agri-food chain. The new package of provisions aimed to modernise, simplify, and strengthen the agri-food chain in Europe. The package responded to the call for the better simplification of legislation and smarter regulation thus reducing administrative burden for operators and simplifying the regulatory environment. The EU legislation covering the food chain consisted of almost 70 pieces of legislation. One of the goals of new package of reform was to reduce the number of legislation and to reduce the red tape on processes and procedures for farmers, breeders and food business operators (producers, processors and distributors) to make it easier for them to carry out their profession.

Europe had and still has the highest food safety standards in the world. However, the horsemeat scandal has shown that there is room for improvement, even if no health risk emerged. The new approach and the new reform had shown that the system can respond to challenges, and it also takes on board some of the lessons learned from the past providing the smarter rules for safer food.

The main elements of the package were official controls, animal health, plant health and plant reproductive material (including seeds).

The New Regulation (EU) 2017/625 (Official Controls Regulation) was published in March 2017 and the new provision applies from 14 December 2020. Regulation (EU) 2017/625 on Official Controls repeals the Regulation (EC) 845/2004 and Regulation (EC) 882/2004 Directives 89/608/EEC, 89/662/EEC, 90/425/EEC, 91/496/EEC, 96/23/EC, 96/93/EC and 97/78/EC and Decision 92/438/EEC. The Regulation (EU) 2017/625 also affects several other sectoral regulations in the areas covered by the Regulation.

Major changes and new elements that are being introduced with the new Regulation (EU) 2017/625 strengthen a high level of food and feed safety, public, animal, and plant health, and guarantee the functioning of the internal market.

The most significant changes that are introduced are the following:

1. Simplifies and reduces legal fragmentation;

2. Strengthens the basic principles of previous laws;

3. Improves harmonization of procedures and standards;

4. Creates the legal basis for future and gives the Commission power to adopt delegated and implementing acts;

5. Establishes the rules for the performance of official controls and other related aspects such as:

  • the administrative assistance and cooperation between MS
  • the controls by the Commission in Member States and in non-EU countries;
  • the requirements for importing animals and goods into the Union;
  • the establishment of information management system – IMSOC;

6. The scope of the regulation has been extended to cover the agri-food chain, including organic production and controls of marketing standards to identify fraudulent or deceptive practice;

7. Maintains the risk-based principle of official controls;

8. Much attention is paid to detection of food fraud. Fraud is an essential element of risk and part of risk assessment;

9. Highlights the obligation of competent authorities to limit or minimise the burden on operators while performing official controls;

10. Ensures a high level of transparency of control activities performed by Member States in a harmonised and uniform manner. The scope of this obligation was clarified by identifying the minimum level of information that must be public;

11. Gives the possibilities to delegate official control tasks to delegated bodies or natural person. The conditions for delegation have not changed;

12. Provides more flexibility for official laboratories;

13.More clarity on the methods for sampling, analysis, tests and diagnosis;

14. Implements the procedure of second expert opinion;

15.Provides a new structure for reference laboratories and centres;

16. Administrative assistance and cooperation plays important role in the new provisions. An important principle that was maintained is the requirement of Member States to facilitate transmission of information through liaison bodies between competent authorities. However, Regulation 2017/625 also requires Member States to facilitate transmission of information coming from law enforcement authorities, public prosecutors and judicial authorities, regarding cases of non-compliance which may pose a health risk or fraud.

Main Elements of Regulation (EU) 2017/625:

1. Extended

  • Deliberate release into the environment of GMOs for the purpose of food and feed production;
  • Feed and feed safety;
  • Animal health requirements;
  • Prevention of risks to human and animal health arising from animal by-products and derived products;
  • Animal welfare;
  • Protective measures against pests of plants;
  • Plant protection products;
  • Organic production and labelling of organic products;
  • Use and labelling of protected designations of origin (PGO), protected geographical indications (PGI) and traditional specialities guaranteed;
  • Official controls on animals and goods entering the Union or exported;
  • Official controls of marketing standards to identify possible fraudulent or deceptive practice.

2. Fully risk-based approach to official controls;

3. Tools to minimize the administrative burden on operators;

4. Designation of Competent authorities and provisions on cooperation between Member States;

5. Obligation of competent authorities and organic control authorities;

6. Operator rights of appeal;

7. Confidentiality obligations;

8. Methods and techniques of official controls;

9. Controls at any stages of production, processing, distribution and use;

10. Increased transparency, possibility to publish results of controls and establish rating schemes;

11. Obligations of operators;

12. Additional specific rules for certain areas:

  • Food hygiene;
  • Residues;
  • Animal by-products and derived products;
  • Animal welfare;
  • GMOs in relation to food and feed production;
  • Plant protection products;
  • Organic production;
  • PGI and PGO;
  • Newly identified risks in food and feed.

13. Clarification about delegation of tasks of competent authorities;

14. Provisions of sampling, analysis, tests and diagnosis in all areas the scope of official control regulation;

15. Designation of laboratories. Permanent and temporary derogations from mandatory accreditation;

16. Clarification of cascade of methods to be used for sampling, analysis, test and diagnosis;

17. Second expert opinion as a tool to strengthen operators' rights;

18. Common framework for carrying official controls on animals and goods entering the EU;

19. The use of CHED by competent and custom authorities;

20. Designation and withdrawal of BCPs and minimum requirements;

21. Actions and measures that may be taken in cases of suspected non-compliance or non-compliance;

22. Approval of pre-export controls by the third countries;

23. Cooperation between competent authorities dealing with the animals and goods entering the Union;

24. Financing provisions regarding official controls and other official activities;

25. Uniform framework on official certification, issuance of official certificates and attestation;

26. Designation and responsibilities of reference laboratories and centres;

27. Strengthened mechanism for administrative assistance and cooperation;

28. Harmonised planning and reporting provision regarding MANCP and annual reports by the MS;

29. Commission power to perform controls in a MS and third countries, listing of third countries;

30. Conditions for the entry into Union of animals and goods and equivalence principle;

31. Rules on the training responsibilities of staff of the competent authorities;

32. Rules establishing a common information management system (IMSOC);

33. Broader scope reflected by modified non-exhaustive list of enforcement actions;

34. Reinforced rules on financial penalties for fraudulent or deceptive practices;

35. Repealed a number of sector specific official control provisions in different acts;

36. Empowerments to adapt official control requirements by delegated/implementing acts.


Bringing together participants from different EU MS should contribute to the dissemination of best practices for control procedures, increase the compatibility of these procedures and practices across the EU, ensure consistent and rigorous implementation of EU rules and allow exchange of experience among the MS.

The specific objective of this project is to improve knowledge of this complex area of work and further harmonise the approaches and practices of the MS with a view to increase the efficacy of the competent authorities/control bodies to verify compliance with the legal requirements in the field of protected designations.

  • Official Controls Regulation as a key element of the governance of the agri-food chain\ harmonised Union framework with the integrated approach;
  • Overview of previous legislation highlighting the key changes that have been changed, scope, definition and terms used in the Official Controls Regulation;
  • The link between OCR and other sectors, especially the veterinary and plant health. The role of official veterinarian and official plant health officer;
  • Competent authorities’ powers and responsibilities to carry out official controls;
  • Collaboration between competent authorities and operators;
  • Obligations resulting from the specific rules on transparency of official controls and the possibility for rating scheme systems for operators;
  • Risk-based approach applied to the all planning of controls (e.g. use of past data and own-check results, adaptation of control frequencies);
  • Specific conditions to be met for delegating certain control tasks from competent authorities to delegated bodies, practice of some member states;
  • Official control and other official activities to verify compliance of products of animal origin intended for human consumption;
  • Official controls on animals and goods entering the Union including rules on animals and goods other than those subject to official controls at border control posts and specific rules applicable to import controls on goods, animals and plants at border control posts, including practical aspects of implementation of procedures (best practices) for controls on imports/transits of products (documentary checks, re-entry of Union consignments, channeling, sampling of consignments, laboratory tests, re-enforced checks, non-conforming consignments, etc.) and cooperation with customs services;
  • Actions taken in the cases of suspicion of Non – compliance and of non-compliance of animals and goods entering the Union;
  • Detection of fraud and regime for sanctions and penalties for fraudulent or deceptive practices\ focus on all sectors of the OCR, official control on e-commerce;
  • Enforcement actions by the competent authorities and regime for sanctions and penalties for fraudulent or deceptive practices;

The information management systems (IMSOC) for official controls and mechanisms for administrative assistance and cooperation, official certification and attestation, the use of electronic certificates;

Specific rules on control laboratories, including reference laboratories, and on methods of sampling, analysis, tests and diagnosis used for official controls as well as to other official activities (‘cascade of methods’), second expert opinion.


Target audience

The selection criteria for participants are:

  • Relevance to daily work: participants should in priority be staff of Competent Authorities, with a position related to Official Controls;
  • Sufficient level of language: in order to ensure the transfer of knowledge and opportunities to exchange views, participants should master the language of the training session for which they applied, if not specified otherwise the official language of the workshops will be English.
  • Ability to share their experience: priority will be given to participants whose position will allow them to share with colleagues the outputs of the training sessions.
  • Preferably officers working at food control authorities in a central administration level or local administration level and who are responsible for the development, coordination or implementation of the official monitoring and controls plans.
  • IT requirements: the participants will need a laptop with up-to-date software, with camera and microphone (built in or external) and reliable WIFI connection.

Calendar and locations

Session Start Date End Date location Organiser
1 18/10/2021 22/10/2021 Online AETS
2 06/12/2021 10/12/2021Online AETS
3 31/01/2022 04/02/2022Online AETS
4 07/03/2022 11/03/2022Online Opera
5 05/04/202208/04/2022Riga, LatviaAETS
6 31/05/202203/06/2022Bologna, ItalyOpera
7 04/10/202207/10/2022Riga, LatviaAETS
8 15/11/202218/11/2022Bucharest, RomaniaAETS

Background Information

BTSF seminar on Official Controls Regulation – General issues.

On 14 December 2019, Regulation (EU) 2017/625 (hereinafter Regulation) became applicable. The Regulation addresses official controls and other official activities performed to ensure the application of food and feed law, rules on animal health and welfare, plant health, plant protection products, organic production and has broader scope than its predecessor, Regulation (EC) 882/2004, which was repealed.

Operators and competent authorities of the Member States benefit from a simplified framework, which integrates official control rules into a single Regulation.


Background Information

BTSF seminar on Official Controls Regulation – Import controls.

On 14 December 2019, Regulation (EU) 2017/625 (hereinafter Regulation) became applicable. The Regulation addresses official controls and other official activities performed to ensure the application of food and feed law, rules on animal health and welfare, plant health, plant protection products, organic production and has broader scope than its predecessor, Regulation (EC) 882/2004, which was repealed.

Operators and competent authorities of the Member States benefit from a simplified framework, which integrates official control rules into a single Regulation.