Food Law News - UK - 2005


FSA News Item, 3 June 2005

OFFICIAL CONTROL - Second update on applying EU feed and food controls regulation

A summary of the progress since November 2004 on the measures being taken to apply EU Regulation 882/2004 on official controls in the UK .

Background

EU Regulation 882/2004 was published in the Official Journal on 28 May 2004 and is now in force. The provisions of the Regulation apply from 1 January 2006 with the exception of those on financing of official controls which apply from 1 January 2007 . The text of the EU regulation may be downloaded from the European Commission website. Details of the provisions of the regulation were provided in the November 2004 update which is published on the Agency's website at the link below.

Who has responsibility for applying the EU regulation in the UK ?

The Agency has overall responsibility for application of the feed and food elements of the regulation, while Defra and the devolved Agriculture Departments have responsibility for application in the areas of animal health and animal welfare. Arrangements are in place for joint working across the departments with a view to ensuring consistency of approach.

What is the Agency doing to ensure that the feed and food elements are applied?

The Agency is taking the process forward in two phases to correspond to the 1 January 2006 and 1 January 2007 application dates. A series of co-ordinated public consultation on Phase 1 application measures is now under way (see below) and consultation on the second phase will take place in due course.

What application measures are being proposed for Phase 1?

a) National legislation and guidance material

Although the regulation is directly applicable, domestic legislation is needed to give effect to certain elements of it. National legal instruments have, therefore, been drafted. These provide powers to the competent authorities to ensure that they are able to meet their obligations under the EU regulation. They also provide for the enforcement of new harmonised rules on imports of feed and food of non-animal origin (non-POAO). Consultations on these were launched on 31 March 2005 and responses are requested by 30 June 2005 . The consultation packages also include partial Regulatory Impact Assessments (RIAs), guidance for importers on the new harmonised rules for non-POAO, and general guidance for enforcers on the EU regulation..

b) Other measures

In addition, work is progressing on the administrative action that is needed to give effect to the EU regulation including revision of instructions and operating procedures for enforcement authorities. Consultations on a revised code of practice on local authority food law enforcement (and associated practice guidance which now incorporates guidance on imported food controls), a revised MHS official control manual and revised operating instructions for the Dairy Hygiene Inspectorate have been launched.

Parallel consultations will take place in Scotland , Wales and Northern Ireland , where appropriate, in due course.

What application measures are being proposed for Phase 2?

These will relate to financing of official controls and to preparation of the UK 's national control plan and annual reports. Stakeholders will be consulted in due course.

Has the Commission proposed any implementing rules for the EU regulation yet?

The Commission has proposed some implementing rules which have links to the new food hygiene legislation. These have been included in a proposed Commission regulation and relate to the publication of lists of approved food establishments; and accreditation requirements for laboratories undertaking certain analyses of meat samples. A consultation on the proposed regulation took place in May and it is expected that the regulation will be adopted in July 2005.

Proposals from the Commission on various other implementing rules are still awaited. These include a transitional period for accreditation of feed laboratories and the establishment of a list of third country imports of ‘high risk' non-POAO feed and food which will be subject to more stringent controls. They also include guidelines on criteria for the audit of competent authorities and on national control plans and annual reports. The Agency will consult with stakeholders on these once Commission proposals are issued.


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