FSA News Item, 8 May 2013
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.
Main features of the proposals
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 €2m.
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 proposed.
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 process...
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.
Full details of the Commission’s proposals can be found at the following DG SANCO page: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/health_consumer/pressroom/animal-plant-health_en.htm
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