The European Parliament has adopted the new Regulation on Official Controls, proposed by the European Commission, which provides a package of measures that will strengthen the enforcement of health and safety standards for the whole agri-food chain. The new rules aim at modernizing and simplifying the European control system to ensure that food in the European Union is safe along the entire agri-food chain.
The regulation is part of the body of EU legislation covering the food chain package that cuts down almost 70 pieces of EU legislation to five, which reduces the red-tape on processes and procedures for farmers, breeders, and food business operators to make it easier for them to carry out their profession. In addition, EU citizens will benefit from safer products and a more effective and transparent system of controls along the chain. The package also provides simpler, science and risk-based rules, allowing more efficient processes for business. Finally, the national controllers are given the powers and tools to deliver their tasks more effectively.
According to Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, “this new piece of legislation reaffirms the European Union’s leading position worldwide in the area of food safety. It also paves the way to establishment of the long-awaited reference centers for animal welfare.”
The new rules will be gradually phased in (one year to up to six years) to give EU countries and industry the time to adapt.