CAFIA Annual Report for 200203/12/2003
- Contents and Introduction
- 2. Organisational Structure and Its Changes
- 3. Inspections
- 3.2 Overall Surveys of Results of Inspections
- 3.3 Results of Control of Microbiological Requirements
- 3.4 Results of Control of Contaminants
- 3.5 Food Labelling and Quality Controls
- 3.6 Thematic and Extraordinary Inspections
- 3.7 Inspections in Production Premises
- 3.8 Inspections in the Trade Network
- 3.9 Suggestions
- 3.10 Sanctions
- 4. Laboratory Activities
- 5. Certification
- 6. Information and Communication System
- 7. Personnel Training
- 8. Legislative Activities
- 9. Cooperation with other authorities and Institutions
- 10. International Relations
- 11. Communication with the public
- 12. Conclusion
- 13. Abbreviations and Explanations
10. International Relations
10.1 International Cooperation
The year 2002 faced considerable alterations in the European food law, which affected also the CAFIA activities. The alterations resulted from a new Regulation (EC) No. 178/2002 lying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and lying down procedures in matters of food safety. The Directive not only defines the scope of legal regulations for food safety but – as its title suggests – gives grounds for he establishment of the European Food Safety Authority and lays down rules for an effective operation of the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) within the European Union. In view of the fact that CAFIA had been chosen as the national contact point for this system, it concentrated all its energies on accomplishing safeguarding measures for the technical equipment and on obtaining the best assessment possible from the European Commission experts who paid a visit to the Czech Republic in June last year as part of their Peer Review. The functional issues of the CAFIA involvement in the RASFF system were discussed at a meeting held in Brussels attended by the CAFIA representatives and some experts from DG SANCO.
Similar reviews pertaining to the CAFIA activities were also carried out in the middle of the last year, focusing on the issues of fresh fruit and vegetables, and GMOs. No less important was the FVO second mission to the Czech Republic dealing with pesticides, contaminants and food hygiene, the objective of which was to assess capability of the local inspection authorities to meet the requirements, laid down in the legislation, in practice. The talks held that were very detailed and to the point, ended at a meeting of the representatives of inspection authorities involved in food safety control in the Czech Republic and representatives of the European Commission held in Prague at the end of November. It was agreed that the period of preparations had come to its end and a new epoch, based on cooperation and partnership, was opened.
Considering a number of legislative changes to food safety control associated with the new policy concept of the European Commission that was outlined in the White Paper on Food Safety issued in 2000, CAFIA commenced regular and detailed monitoring of the EC legal regulations, both those that had already been released and those that have been passing through the stage of approval proceedings. The CAFIA members can find all new and older legal regulations on the company intranet divided in well arranged thematic sections. In view of the fact that not all the EU legal regulations have been harmonised, a special Work Group was established at the Ministry of Industry and Trade whose role is to monitor the so-called non-harmonised sphere of regulations and to ensure compatibility with the basic principles of the EU operation. The CAFIA experts take part in sessions of this group on a regular basis, stating actively their views and opinions.
Upon a request of the CAFIA and upon a following detailed review of the CAFIA inspection procedures from the side of the EU authorities, the European Commission issued the Regulation 908/2002, qualifying CAFIA to issue certificates for fresh fruit and vegetables for the exports in the EU countries. These issues were also a subject matter of discussions held between the CAFIA specialists and experts of the European Commission -– DG Agriculture in Brussels.
In 2002 the CAFIA representatives also took an active part in sessions of some international organisations: they attended a session of FAO/WHO Committee on Food Labelling of the Codex Alimentarius in Halifax, Canada, in the role of observers and, as a full member, CAFIA took part in the negotiations of the Committee on Methods of Analyses and Sampling in Budapest, Hungary, and the Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems, which is organised on a regular basis in Australia. The CAFIA specialists also participated in two FLEP Forum meetings organised in 2002 – the 18th FLEP Forum Meeting held in Ireland and the 19th Forum Meeting held in Austria. CAFIA applied for work in a new Working Party “National Food Authorities” at the 18th FLEP Forum Meeting, and initiated, in cooperation with the Danish colleagues, establishment of a new Working Party at the 19th FLEP Forum Meeting.
The CAFIA experts also took an active part in a meeting of the Czech Committee for Cooperation with FAO. They began, on a regular basis, to monitor commitments arising from the WTO agreements concluded and to collaborate on the monitoring of SPS notifications relating to food safety.
Conferences and Seminars
The CAFIA representatives took part in various international seminars and training courses. One of the most important was a seminar “Food Safety First” that was held in the Netherlands and funded by the Dutch government. CAFIA representatives attended this seminar for the third time. Its main objective was to inform the participants about the food control principles in the Netherlands and the system of food law in the EU countries. The Dutch government also funded a course called “Chain Management and Agricultural Development” focusing on the presentation of principles of providing efficient food safety all through the entire process of the primary production, processing and sales. CAFIA specialists attended this training course for the second time. CAFIA also started taking advantage of the offer of training courses organised by the European Institute of Public Administration in Maastricht. Its representatives participated in a few courses organised by this Institute. Three CAFIA members successfully applied for a ten-day training program on food safety control held in the United States, which was organised and funded by the Cochrane Foundation.
The conferences, which the CAFIA representatives participate in, do not only represent an opportunity for exchanging information and expertise, but also opportunities for establishing informal contacts with representatives of other inspection organisations, research institutes, European Commission or other institutions. The conferences visited by in 2002 were, e.g., the WHO/FAO Conference on Food Safety and Quality held in Budapest, Hungary, and Conferences on Food Safety held in Geneva, Switzerland, in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, or in Paris, France.
10.2 EU Projects
In 2002 the Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority continued in arrangements and preparation of the Phare project CZ 020502 that is to help increase efficiency of the authority operations and, on the other hand, to help establish a database for communication between all administrative bodies involved in the process of food control in the Czech Republic. The Project takes into account not only further development of the Authority in the form of organising different seminars and workshops, and in the form of consultations with so-called pre-admission advisors, but it also counts on the implementation of an information system, which would connect all the official authorities and would be prepared for future interconnection with the Rapid Alert System that is used in the European Union.
In spring 2002 the EU countries approved the Project and confirmed the EU decision to finance the project in the amount of EUR 2.4 mil, while the Czech Republic will bear the costs in the amount of EUR 0.15 mil as its part of the financial investments. In April 2002 a tendering procedure took place for a supplier of a twinning part of the project, which was won by a Greek company NAGREF (National Agricultural Research Foundation) – a research institution of the Greek Ministry of Agriculture receiving contributions from the State Budget. In the course of summer and autumn the CAFIA and NAGREF specialists worked on the preparation of a Twinning Contract, which would cover all activities to be carried out. Its latest version was submitted to the Delegation of the European Commission in the Czech Republic towards the end of the year 2002. The Project implementation should be initiated at the beginning of 2003 and completed in spring 2004.
QUID Thematic Network
CAFIA is one the main participants in an international project indicated as QUID Thematic Network that is financed and carried out by the European Commission. The project main objective is to create a European network of laboratories enforcing the European Directive on labelling and Quantitative Ingredient Declaration in practice. Just as in 2001, the CAFIA experts took an active part in meetings and operations carried out within the framework of this project also in 2002.