Food Law News - UK - 2004

FSA News Item, 12 November 2004

OFFICIAL CONTROL - A summary of the EU official feed and food controls regulation requirements and the measures being taken to apply these in the United Kingdom


Regulation 882/2004 was published in the Official Journal on 28 May and is now in force. The provisions of the Regulation will apply from 1 January 2006 with the exception of those on financing of official controls that will apply from 1 January 2007 . The text of the new Regulation may be downloaded below from the European Commission website.

The following provides a summary of the requirements of the Regulation and an update on the measures being taken to apply these in the United Kingdom .

What is the Regulation about?

It sets out general requirements for competent authorities, or enforcement authorities, that are responsible for checking that businesses comply with feed and food legislation and also animal health and welfare rules. It also sets out the role of the European Commission's Food and Veterinary Office - the FVO - in evaluating the performance of national enforcement bodies.

Why is it needed?

The need to establish a Community framework for official controls was identified in the January 2000 EU White Paper on Food Safety on the basis that the experience of the Commission's inspection services, the FVO, had shown that there is wide variation in the manner in which Community legislation is being implemented and enforced.

What are the objective and aims of the Regulation?

The objective is to create a more comprehensive and integrated, risk-based, EU-wide, 'farm to table' approach to official controls. The aim is to improve the consistency and effectiveness of controls across the Community and consequently to raise standards of food safety and consumer protection and to facilitate the functioning of the internal market.

What is the scope of the Regulation?

The Regulation sets down the general principles and approach that the enforcement bodies should take. It takes a ‘farm to table' approach and covers controls at all stages of production, processing and distribution. It relates to products produced within the EU and those exported to or imported from third countries.

Existing specific rules for controls for particular areas of concern, e.g. BSE, will continue to apply without prejudice to the new overarching Regulation.

Who are the enforcement authorities in the UK ?

These include:

What are the requirments for these enforcemnt authorities?

These are required to:

How will imports from third countries be checked?

For animal products, the exiting rules are being retained and checks will be carried out at Border Inspection Posts as now. New harmonised rules are introduced for non-animal products, and for those considered ‘high risk', the new requirements are similar to those for animal products.

What will be the impact on businesses?

The Regulation does not set out any requirements for businesses but they may be affected by the financing provisions i.e. who pays for the enforcement checks.

How will official controls be financed?

The Regulation sets out a framework for financing of official controls placing a general obligation on the Member State to ensure sufficient resources are available. Mandatory fees will be imposed where this is already required under existing legislation (e.g. veterinary checks on products of animal origin). In other sectors, Member States may impose fees if they wish.

How will the Commission ensure that the aims of the Regulation are achieved?

Each Member State will be required to prepare a control plan setting out the national control structure and the work that the enforcement authorities will undertake, and to report annually on implementation of the plan. The plans and reports will be audited by the FVO and used to assess the performance of national control systems. Similar arrangements will apply to third countries exporting to the Community.

What happens now?

FSA and DEFRA are now considering how to give effect to the Rgeulation in the UK through amendment or revocation of existing measures or introduction of new ones. Consideration is also being given to the need for guidance for enforcement authorities and for businesses. The FSA expects to consult with stakeholders on these matters in the first half of 2005.

Where may I get further information?

If you require any further information on the new Regulation please contact either Catriona Stewart on 020 7276 8498 or David Millis on 020 7276 8424.

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