Following the circulation of the Cost Compliance Assessment in November [see 12 November 1997], some people questioned the role of the sampling plan. It is noted that the designated plan is for official control purposes only. The Ministry has circulated the latest revision of the document.
The proposal is to require implementation of the sampling plan by 31 December 2000 with regular meetings to discuss problems prior to that date. There is still scope therefore for the Directive to be amended to take account of any difficulties or advances in scientific and technical knowledge. The Commission is however keen for implementation to be progress as soon as possible. The Ministry has requested information on reasons why implementation should not take place immediately following the adoption of the Regulation and the Directive.
Discussion have already taken place between MAFF and representatives of enforcement authorities as to the best means of implementing the sampling plan and certain practical difficulties which may arise. In particular it is clear that there will be resource implications for the Port Health Authorities in taking samples in accordance with the plan. One possible solution to this would be to introduce a system of statutory charging similar to that used for products of animal origin. Clearly, to achieve harmonization and uniform enforcement charging would have to apply on a Europe-wide basis. Comments on this are requested by 20 February.