Food Law News - EU - 2009

FSA Letter (OCR 005), 18 March, 2009

OFFICIAL CONTROLS - EU Regulation 882/2004 on Official Controls – Commission Regulation on Implementing Rules for Import Controls For 'High Risk' Feed and Food of Non-Animal Origin (Non-POAO)

For a copy of the pdf file containing this letter and the draft Regulation, see: FSA Letter and Draft EU Regulation

The above proposed Commission Regulation is to be considered again by the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH) at its meeting on 27 March. The latest text, on which there is expected to be a vote, is enclosed and your views on this are welcome.

To allow us time to consider any comments that you may have before finalising the UK position for the SCoFCAH meeting, I must ask for responses as soon as possible and by Wednesday 25 March 2009 at the latest. My contact details are given below.

Latest Commission text

A copy of the latest text is at Appendix 1. The main changes to the previous text are outlined below.

Updates to Annex 1

A new Article 1a is included. This lists the sources of information that will be taken into account in establishing and amending Annex 1 list and specifies that the Annex will be reviewed at least quarterly. Do you consider that this provides sufficient transparency about how products will be identified for addition to (and removal from) Annex I and for determining the frequency of identity and physical checks to be undertaken?

Minimum requirements for designated points of entry

The revised text at Article 3(2) makes provision for Member States to carry out physical checks at the premises of food business operators where these premises fulfil the minimum requirements set our for a Designated Point of Entry (DPE) in Article 3(1). This requires that guarantees are in place that the consignment remains under the control of the competent authority at the DPE. This new text has been introduced to address the concerns raised by Member States with insufficient control facilities for geographical reasons. What are your views?

Prior notification of consignments

Article 5 has been amended to require part 1 of the common entry document (CED) to be completed and transmitted to the competent authority one working day prior to the physical arrival of the consignment. Is this feasible for feed and food importers?

Increased level of official controls at designated points of entry

Article 7(1) (a) had been amended to provide for documentary checks to be carried out within two working days of arrival of the consignment at the DPE. Is this feasible for port health authorities?

Article 7(2) has been amended to provide for the competent authority to authorise the onward transportation of a consignment pending the results of physical checks. In addition, text has been introduced at Article 7(3) which provides, under exceptional circumstances, that the competent authority may arrange for physical checks to be carried out on consignments at the place of destination where certain conditions are satisfied. This recognises the characteristics of highly perishable and specifically packaged products that may deteriorate or be damaged where physical checks are carried out at the DPE. What are your views?

Annex 1

Annex 1 has been amended to clarify that the frequency of checks indicated applies to both physical and identity checks. Some minor changes have been made to the description of product listed in Annex 1 (‘beans' from the Dominican Republic and Thailand have been redefined as ‘yard long beans') but the frequency of identity and physical checks to which they will be subject remains the same.

Next steps and further information

Your comments on these changes and on any other aspects of the latest text are welcome. We will write to you to report the outcome of the SCoFCAH meeting at the earliest opportunity.

For previous related news item, see, 19 February 2009

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