I. Foreign Affairs
CAFIA, as one of the supervisory bodies for food safety in the European Union market, deals with the monitoring of EC legislation in relation to the activities of the Inspection Authority, the issue of non-harmonized sphere, issues of free movement of goods and cooperates with the Ministry of Agriculture to systemize EC legislation in the area of foodstuffs. In cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and other agencies, we are also involved in the preparation of inspection missions carried out by inspectors from the European Commission. We cooperate in particular in missions performed by inspectors from the Food and Veterinary Office of DG SANCO, which are focused on hygiene of foodstuffs, pesticides, contaminants or GMOs. CAFIA employees also take part in FVO missions as national experts, together with colleagues from the FVO, in which they review different systems to ensure food safety in other EU countries or third countries.
Since April 2003, CAFIA experts have been actively participating in working groups and committees of the European Commission and the EU Council. Two dozen experts from CAFIA are currently appointed as guarantors or co-coordinators on these working bodies, in which they actively negotiate on behalf of the Czech Republic, comment on the issues and defend the position of the Czech Republic. CAFIA staff was also involved in activities related to the Czech Presidency of the EU Council. In addition to professional qualifications, these activities also require high-level language skills and orientation in the diplomatic environment. Regular and adequate training is provided for these experts.
CAFIA experts participate in a variety of international conferences and seminars on issues related to the application of European food law, principles of food inspection, monitoring of pesticides and contaminants, laboratory methods, free movement of goods, negotiation and decision-making processes in the EU and many other professional topics.
The conferences and other events in which representatives of CAFIA participate are not only opportunities to exchange information and expertise, but also to establish informal contacts with representatives of other inspection organizations, research institutes, the European Commission and other institutions.
Our experts who attend these educational events are no longer just in the role of passive recipients of information, but actively share their knowledge and experience with their counterparts from other countries, such as Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Palestine and others. This not only contributes to building food safety systems in third countries, but also to enhancing the good reputation of our office.
Major activities in the field of foreign relations also include preparation and implementation of programmes operated by the European Commission and EU member states.
CAFIA also participates in the activities of the informal association of representatives of supervisory authorities FLEP (Food Law Practitioners), which serves as a platform for sharing experiences and information in the performance of official inspection of foodstuffs. The Netherlands chair the FLEP organisation. Delegates from the EU countries meet once a year at the annual forum; specifically focused workshop is also held once a year and focuses on current problems (e.g. HACCP, inspection of online retailers, etc.). In addition to these activities, ad-hoc working groups are also set up to deal with other subject areas related to food safety and quality, according to the interests of their members and their professional orientations. For more information go to www.flep.org.