Annual Report 200102/01/2002
- 1. Introduction
- 2.1 Priorities of Inspections Performed in 2001
- 2.2 Overall Surveys of Results of Control
- 2.3 Results of Controls of the Microbiological Requirements
- 2.4 Results of Analyses for Contaminants
- 2.5 Controls of Labelling and Quality
- 2.6 Thematic and Extraordinary Inspections
- 2.6.1 Inspections focusing on food safety
- 2.6.2 Inspections focused on adulterations
- 2.6.3 Complex and other inspections
- 2.7 Inspections in production
- 2.8 Inspections in trade network
- 2.9 Suggestions
- 2.10 Penalties
- 3 Laboratory Activities
- 4 Certification Activities
- 5 Internal Information System
- 6 Personnel Training
- 7 Activities in the Field of Legislation
- 8 Cooperation with Other Authorities and Institutions
- 9 International Relations
- 10 Public Relations
- 11 Conclusion
- 12 Abbreviations and Explanations
1. 1. Introduction
It's already some years when the Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority together with other authorities and institutions have set out on a challenging journey, in other words called the "harmonisation of the Czech legislation with laws of the European Union". We have been harmonising both legislation and our own inspection activities with a vision of the objective that until recently had seemed somehow vague and for a great many people not very much specific. Its outlines, however, have slowly become clear and without any doubt we are about to put on the final spurt to reach the end of the lengthy and difficult journey leading to a permanent integration of the Czech Republic into the European Union structures.
The harmonisation that may have become a repeated cliché in a few previous years was not and is not an end in itself. It has never meant and does not mean for CAFIA a mere "emulation" of somebody else's example. CAFIA does not want to do only what has already been implemented somewhere else by others, or to assume only the well-established procedures with lack of discrimination, while being aware of a high standard and well functioning proper system. The harmonisation for us means a reconciliation of activities, adequate interface for the mutual transfer of information and solid partnership with other European inspection authorities.
As yet, CAFIA has protected the interests of ten thousand million Czech consumers and fair businessmen. Now, a new era has arrived when the protection has been given new dimensions and CAFIA will become a part of the system in a near future, which has to protect several hundreds of millions of people in Europe. The foods that CAFIA is to control will soon no more be destined only for the Czech consumers. They can appear on a table of any citizen of the unified Europe. CAFIA, in all earnestness and accountability, will assume a due part of its responsibility. The goods, passing through the "Czech Courtyard", will accepted as trustworthy also for other countries without a reason for being afraid of foodstuffs of the Czech origin. On the contrary, the Czech consumers, whose confidence in the food safety on our market tends to increase, will not have a reason for being sceptical.
The "zero hour" is within sight. The Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority is ready to become involved into all-European system of food surveillance. Our experience and knowledge up to now, arising from an open and close cooperation with a number of inspection authorities in other European countries, fill us with conviction that we have set out on the right journey. The Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority is prepared - even with a certain reserve and margin, to become a full member of this prestigious European structure. The Annual Report on CAFIA activities carried out last year, you're holding in your hands, brings in a substantiate proof.
Ing. Jakub Šebesta
CAFIA General Director
Brno, February 1, 2002
2. 2.1 Priorities of Inspections Performed in 2001
CAFIA carries out the food controls in order to ensure in an optimum way and with respect to the actual suggestions compliance with the legislation enforcing the surveillance activities. The permanent priority of controls carried out in 2001, as in previous years, was especially the food safety, i.e., the monitoring of microbiological requirements and requirements for the contents of contaminants, as well as adulterations.
The inspection, CAFIA focuses on, is a target inspection. It is performed on the basis of actual suggestions such as findings discovered by the inspectors in fieldwork, analyses of results of the previous inspections, notifications of other bodies of public service, media and consumers, etc. Such a type of control focuses on commodities and businessmen where the non-conformances can be expected. An inspection is carried out immediately after a suggestion is received and its immediate objective is to remove the non-conformance as soon as possible. To give an example of such a type of inspection performed in 2001, we can mention the analyses of fennel tea suspected of containing seeds of toxic thorn-apple, the inspection carried out in food for special dietary use claimed to be produced on the basis of extracts containing the MRL exceeding values of heavy metals, and others.
An entirely different method is applied while performing preventive inspections. They are mostly planned in a long-term perspective and their objective consists rather in monitoring, identification of the current situation, or in exerting efforts to avoid the non-conformances (in 2001 it was e.g. a large part of inspections in the production, planned control of microbiological requirements, etc.). Nevertheless, the preventive inspection is essentially a target inspection.
It is important to provide a correct interpretation of all results of the CAFIA control activities. The data given in this Report are not and cannot be taken as an indicator of the general standard of quality of food offered to consumers in the market. Nevertheless, they provide information about the latest trends in the area of food control, as accomplished by CAFIA.
3. 2.2 Overall Surveys of Results of Control
In the course 2001, CAFIA inspectors performed altogether 22,122 inspections. Out of the mentioned number 12, 219 inspections took place in retail trade network; 8,080 in production; 1,704 in wholesale warehouses and 119 in other premises.
During the entire monitored period 13,698 nonconforming samples of food and tobacco products were identified (8,301 nonconforming samples were of domestic origin and 5,397 nonconforming samples represented imported goods).
As to the places of inspection performed, the nonconforming samples were detected in the following numbers: 11,409 in retail trade; 1,799 in production; 462 in wholesale warehouses and 28 in other premises.
- As to the type of analyses carried out, the following numbers of nonconforming samples of food and tobacco products were identified:
- control of microbiological requirements - 3,657
- control of contaminants - 518
- control of labelling - 5,984
- control of qualitative analytical requirements - 1,368
- control of qualitative sensory requirements - 4,350
As for the individual commodities, the highest numbers of nonconforming samples were detected in fresh vegetables (3,196) and fresh fruit (1,671). These were followed by commodities such as: liquors (835), pastries (831), cold meals (818), bakery products (802), meat - meat products (716), wines (704), potatoes (583), poultry - eggs (401), processed fruit - processed vegetables (364) and dairy products (336).
The relatively high numbers of nonconforming samples of the specified commodities need not necessarily reflect a higher percentage of non-conformances in comparison with other commodities. An increased attention focused on the above foodstuffs for various reasons: they are sold and purchased more often and in notably bigger quantities than other foodstuffs, they can be, under specific circumstances, associated with a higher risk of causing harm to the food safety and quality, and more comprehensive target inspections were accomplished due to a temporary development in the production and market, etc.
4. 2.3 Results of Controls of the Microbiological Requirements
The microbiological requirements for food are laid down in a Decree of the Ministry of Health No. 294/97, in its valid wording.The foodstuffs are referred to as risky to public health from the microbiological standpoint when the top limit values of the number of micro-organisms are exceeded, i.e. the limit values for bacterial toxins and mycotoxins, or if the microorganisms and microbial metabolites causing food diseases are identified, or if the conditions for trade sterility are not observed or some undesirable changes due to microbial activities or a harmful growth of microorganisms are detected.
The food with a decreased utility value or limited durability is qualified as unsuitable for the given purpose if their tolerated values are exceeded yet without exceeding the top limit values of microorganisms (such food is not risky to public health).Majority of the microbiological analyses are carried out in laboratories, but some evaluations can be done directly in the place of inspection, i.e., in shops or warehouses, etc. E.g., this includes verification whether the foodstuffs do not show any adverse changes to microbial activities or an undesirable growth of microorganisms (moulds visible to the naked eye, wet rot).
The control of microbiological requirements usually focuses on the individual types of food by the current period of the year. The samples of problematic groups of food, such as cold meals and pastries, are taken throughout the year, although most often in summer months.The results of controls carried out either in the place of inspection or in laboratories. The microbiological analyses performed in 2001 that were carried out either in the place of inspection or in laboratories identified altogether 3,657 nonconforming food samples. Most of them were detected in fresh vegetables (1,044), pastries (723), cold meals (673), fresh fruit (664) and meat - meat products (177).
Results of laboratory analyses
The results of microbiological analyses confirm a universal fact, which is that summer temperatures influence the decay of food.In most cases the coliform bacteria and aerobic mesophilic microorganisms (total number of microorganisms) were the reason for non-compliance with the microbiological requirements in food.
To identify the condition of microbiological purity, it is also important to carry out the so-called planned microbiological control (monitoring). This control focuses on problematic food (cold meals and pasties), the foodstuffs that are not commonly controlled (e.g. for the reasons of a small number of consumers) and on food that due to its contents imply the occurrence of harmful pathogenic bacteria. Within the scope of the planned microbiological control for 2001 CAFIA carried out analyses of altogether 447 samples, of which 133 were evaluated as nonconforming and out of them 10 samples were identified as risky to public health.
Samples analysed in the CAFIA microbiological laboratories in 2001
5. 2.4 Results of Analyses for Contaminants
In the analyses for contaminants 518 food samples did not comply with the requirements. The total of 56,789 individual analyses were carried out, of which 674 analyses showed nonconforming results. This indicates that in the case of some foodstuffs, the results of analyses must have showed several non-conformances in one sample.The highest number of analyses was performed in the group of pesticides - 21,827 in total. Out of the given number the results of 10 analyses did not comply with the limits (the nonconforming foodstuffs were wheat flour used for bread, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, fruit mid-morning snacks - baby food).
The highest number of results of analyses not complying with the set limits was detected in the group of polyaromatic hydrocarbons. To give an example, they included 20 types of oils with strikingly exceeded hygienic limit values for PAHC (15 Spanish olive oils, 4 Italian olive oils and 1 sunflower oil of German origin). On the contrary, no exceeded hygienic limit values were identified in the group of polychlorinated biphenyls.In the group of heavy metals, apart from other things, the values of lead, cadmium and mercury many times exceeding the MRL were detected in food supplements - in tablets produced on the basis of herbal extracts and imported from India.
In the case of mycotoxins, 4 cases of the exceeded hygienic limits were identified in 3 food samples. It was patulin in fruit mid-morning snack (baby food) and aflatoxins in peanuts and pistachios.
The most frequently controlled in the group of preservatives was sulphur dioxide (out of the total number of 2,792 analyses performed, results of 58 did not comply with the set limits) and benzoic acid (altogether 1,706 analyses performed, of which results of 22 did not comply with the set limits).As to the group of artificial sweeteners, the values of aspartame were controlled in most cases (altogether 195 analyses were performed, of which results of 3 were nonconforming). The other controlled sweeteners were acesulpham K (194 analyses of which 3 showed nonconforming results) and saccharine (194 analyses of which 4 showed nonconforming results).
The highest number of nonconforming results of analyses relating to the contents of dyes was detected in wine and dried fruit and fruit with added sugar. In the most cases the no complying results were detected in the contents of yellow SY, azorubin and ponceau 4R.Survey of analyses for contaminants in 2001
6. 2.5 Controls of Labelling and Quality
The controls of labelling of the packed and unpacked food include also findings whether the label contains data required by the respective legislation and whether such data are specified as required. Furthermore, they include results of inspections of the minimum dates of use and minimum dates of durability. Inspections focusing on the identification of food adulterations represent a very extensive and professionally very challenging activity.
Within the scope of the controls of labelling carried out in 2001 CAFIA identified altogether 5,984 samples of nonconforming foodstuffs, the highest number occurring in fresh vegetables (1,112), liquors (709), fresh fruit (624), bakery products (536) and meat - meat products (393).
Food labelling is closely related to the requirements (analytic and sensory) for food quality. Providing of false data on the food properties can be qualified as deception of consumers. The qualitative analytic requirements are e.g. the contents of raw material, water activity, granulation, weight, humidity, contents of alcohol and many others - depending on a commodity or a specific foodstuff. When performing controls of analytic requirements altogether 1,368 nonconforming food samples were identified, of which the highest number of samples was detected in wine (377), potatoes (341) and liquors (113).
The qualitative sensory requirements include e.g. non-freshness, withering, mechanical damage, aroma, taste, look, etc. - again in dependence on a commodity or a specific foodstuff. During analyses of those requirements the total of 4,350 food samples were evaluated as nonconforming, the highest number being detected in fresh vegetables (1,881), fresh fruit (902) and wine (384).
7. 2.6 Thematic and Extraordinary Inspections
The thematic inspections are usually planned well ahead of schedule prior to their proper accomplishment. Their purpose is to contribute to the solution of wider and more complex issues of some aspects of food safety and quality.
The extraordinary inspections are carried out without any planning as an immediate response to a serious suggestion, in most cases suggestions referring to the area of food safety. Majority of such inspections are goal-directed on a selected group of products, analytes or on specific business entities only
8. 2.6.1 Inspections focusing on food safety
Food for special dietary use on the herbal extract basis
Within the scope of an ordinary control of food for special dietary use, the CAFIA laboratories detected values of lead, cadmium and mercury in a few food supplements many times exceeding the set MRL. This was the case of tablets imported from India and produced on the basis of herbal extracts. Moreover, the Ministry of Health had never issued for this product an approval allowing its release into circulation. The contents of heavy metals identified in the above food supplements represented a serious risk to the consumer health.
E.g., in the product called Astrum Ma Madhulene, with a specified date of production of 2001-04-09, the identified contents of lead were 41,500 mg per 1 kg of food (the set limit is 8mg/kg), and the contents of mercury identified were 2,950 mg per 1 kg of food (the set limit is 0.5 mg/kg).
The importer was immediately forbidden to put the specified food into circulation and the general public was informed through numerous press releases relating to the above matter.
Fennel tea suspected of containing seeds of toxic thorn apple
The inspection of fennel tea was focusing on food safety, the purpose of which was to confirm whether the tea contained or not admixtures of seeds of a toxic thorn apple (Datura stramonium), and consequently the toxic thorn apple alkaloids scopolamine and hyoscyamine.
The total of 758 shops and warehouses were inspected within the scope of the control action. Altogether 19 samples of fennel tea or other products containing fennel (including spices) were taken for laboratory analyses.
The analyses for the admixtures (in thorn apple) identified 8 samples as nonconforming. In all those cases the products were imported to the Czech Republic from other foreign countries. The weight spectrometry also proved in these samples the values of thorn apple alkaloids. The batches of products risky to public health were immediately withdrawn from circulation and destroyed. Also in this case the consumers were informed continuously through media.
Polyaromatic hydrocarbons in olive oils
In March and April 2001, CAFIA identified a many times exceeded hygienic limit for polyaromatic hydrocarbons in samples of olive oils imported from Spain.
Immediately a ban was imposed on circulation of the nonconforming batches and the importers were ordered to withdraw the nonconforming products from the market. The actions that CAFIA adopted made the competent Spanish authorities perform a series of laboratory analyses that resulted in a similar decision, i.e., to withdraw immediately the nonconforming oil from the distribution network all over the Spanish territory and to suspend production of these products. The values of polyaromatic hydrocarbons exceeding the hygienic limit were detected mainly in the inexpensive olive oils produced from the residues of the already ground and squeezed olives. Also in this case CAFIA continuously kept the general public informed.
3-MCPD contaminant in soy sauces
An extensive survey carried out by the British FSA (Food Standard Agency) focusing on the identification of the 3-MCPD contaminant (3-monochlorine-1,2-propandiol) in soy sauces served as a suggestion for a series of tests performed in a number of European countries.
The SPPI (Slovak Agricultural and Food Inspection Authority) detected 3-MCPD in a sample of soy sauce produced in the Czech Republic. Based on this suggestion CAFIA carried out analyses of several samples of soy sauces both of domestic and foreign origins. Their results confirmed findings of the SPPI. The contents of 3-MCPD in soy sauce of the Czech manufacturer were several times higher than the maximum limit set in accordance with the EU Directive No. 466/2001. A ban of sale was imposed on the nonconforming products and they were withdrawn from the market. Also this case was published and got in the centre of attention of the general public.
Dried fruit and fruit with added sugar
The purpose of these inspections was to control food safety of dried fruit and fruit with added sugar with respect to the contents of additives, namely preservatives (sulphur dioxide, benzoic acid and sorbic acid) and synthetic dyes, including their declaration on the label for the consumers, and to control whether the declared name of a particular product conforms with its character.
In total 36 samples were taken, of which 27 samples (75 %) did not comply with the requirements of the currently valid legilation. The problem applied in particular to the sulphur dioxide and dyes, about the use of which the consumers were not properly informed from the labelling, to wrongly given name and in a few cases to the missing information on the ingredients (added sugar).
Bottled drinking water
These inspections focused on the control of food safety from the perspective of the microbiological and physical requirements. The inspections took place in all the Czech producers of bottled natural water, bottled table and infant water. Within the scope of this control also samples of imported bottled water were analysed.
Of the total number of samples 3 were evaluated as nonconforming. The reason was a hygienic limit exceeding contents of nitrites and nitrates, and the non-conformances in the declared contents of fluorides on the label.
The results proved that the non-compliances in food safety in this commodity occur rather sporadically and, in general, we may say that quality of the traditional bottled water (mineral, infant and table) is high.
9. 2.6.2 Inspections focused on adulterations
Genuineness of sunflower and olive oils
The purpose of these inspections was to verify the genuineness of single-variety sunflower and olive oils. Therefore, it was possible to set some selected indicators, especially the spectrum of characteristic fat acids and typical sterols. The total of 34 samples of oils were taken (22 olive oil and 12 sunflower oil samples).
The results of analyses showed non-conformances in 3 samples of single variety sunflower oils, in which increased values of brassicasterol were measured, indicating the admixtures of rapeseed oil. This was the reason why the samples were assessed as adulterations, and therefore their labelling was assessed as false.
As to the control of genuineness of olive oils, all samples complied with the requirements. No admixture of any kind of vegetable oil was identified in the analysed samples and also all olive oils declared as "virgin" complied, due to their characteristic ingredients, with requirements laid for the particular category.
The controls focused on the detection of false labelling - "adulteration" - of the egg and homemade pasta. The manufacturer, who uses less quantity of eggs or does not use eggs at all in the production of pasta, acts in breach of the regulation on false labelling when declaring the pasta as made of eggs or homemade.
Altogether 53 samples from 32 producers were analysed, of which 16 samples were assessed as nonconforming (i.e. approx. 30 % of the total number). With view to the quantity, the controlled batches represented 28,419 kg, of which 2,731 kg did not meet the requirements (i.e. less than 10 % of the analysed quantity).
Labelling of meat and meat products
In connection with the protective measures adopted in some EU countries, relating to BSE in beef, CAFIA carried out controls of meat products (salamis, sausages, short sausages, etc). The purpose was to verify using the immunochemical Cortex method whether they contain or not beef (muscles) that is not declared on the label. Altogether 65 samples of meat products were analysed (41 from domestic producers and 24 from foreign producers). The results of analyses of 9 samples (6 domestic products and 3 imported) proved the admixture of beef muscle, which was not mentioned on the label.
With the benefit of hindsight, an inspection with the same objective was performed in other packed meat products. This time the total of 41 samples of imported products were analysed whose label did not provide any information about admixture of beef muscle. In this particular case all the analysed samples were satisfying.
Another control of meat and meat products focused on fresh beef meat sold at the butcher's and its proper labelling with the required data. Within the scope of this control altogether 109 premises distributing fresh beef meat were inspected. In 21 cases (i.e. 19 %) the meat was labelled in compliance with the set requirements.
Food declared as "gluten-free" and "with low contents of lactose" or "lactose free"
The purpose of controls for the contents of gluten in foodstuffs declared as "gluten-free" and the contents of lactose in foodstuffs declared as "with low contents of lactose" or "lactose free" intended for special dietary uses by persons suffering from food allergies and intolerances was to identify whether the contents of gluten or lactose declared in the label corresponded with their actual contents in the particular foodstuff and whether labelling of these foodstuffs were not false.
The analyses proved that all 7 samples taken for the determination of lactose complied with the set limit. In the case of gluten, 21 food samples were taken, while the set limit was exceeded in 4 samples.
Genuineness of honey
The reason for this control was, apart from other things, the fact that adulteration of honey is beginning to become a worldwide problem, not excepting the EU countries or the Czech Republic.
The total of 47 samples of honey were taken. In addition to the laboratory analyses for quality, the so called "saccharic profile" was determined using the liquid chromatography, and the admixtures of syrups on the basis of corn starch and cane sugar were determined using the isotopic method.
Out of the total number of samples analysed, 22 samples (46.8 %) did not meet the set requirements due to various non-conformances, including adulteration: admixture of starch syrup was proved in 8 samples and that of sugar in one sample.
Genuineness and uniformity of table potato varieties
In general, the purpose of the inspections was to find out if the potatoes distributed in the market and identified with a name of the specific variety complied with the specified data and if the declared potato varieties were not sold mixed with other varieties.
In the course of inspections that took place in the period between April and June altogether 131 batches of table potatoes from late harvest of the domestic origin and early potatoes imported. The nonconforming admixtures of different varieties or a declared variety mixed up for another variety were identified in altogether 42 samples, i.e. 32.1 %.
In November the total of 50 batches of table potatoes from late harvest of the domestic origin were inspected. Of them 8 inspected batches did not comply with the requirements, i.e. 16.0 %.
10. 2.6.3 Complex and other inspections
Fruit and vegetables in big shopping chains and in some selected retail establishments
The purpose of this extensive control activity focusing on food quality, safety and labelling was to obtain an impartial picture about the condition and standard of sales of fresh vegetables and fruit.
The inspection took place in the most important shopping centres operating nation-wide and locally. In total, 38 entities were inspected, of which 14 operating almost all over the territory of the Czech Republic, and 24 inspected entities operating locally.
The inspectors checked on 13,974 batches of fresh fruit and vegetables in 415 retail establishments, of which 1,950 batches, i.e. 14.0 % were evaluated as nonconforming. With view to a considerable extent of the inspected batches such a share of nonconforming batches can be considered an impartial assessment of the quality of the fresh fruit and vegetables distributed by the most important shopping centres.
Foodstuffs for sportsmen
This inspection applied to foodstuffs intended for special nutrition of sportsmen that are distributed in fit-centres and specialised shops selling goods for sportsmen. In the course of the inspection altogether 1,349 foodstuffs were inspected in 77 establishments.
The scope of the inspection was to find out whether the products in circulation are provided with an issued valid approval of the Ministry of Health, whether they are distributed packed only, or whether the dealers adhere to the hygienic requirements for the selling of food and whether labelling of these foodstuffs complies with the rules and regulations.
The total of 195 samples were evaluated as nonconforming, which represents 14.5 % of the evaluated total number. The most frequently occurring non-conformances were: non-existence of the valid approval of the Ministry of Health, data on the label were not translated in Czech or were incomplete. The hygienic requirements were not infringed in any of the cases.
Occurrence of the genetically modified DNA in foodstuffs and raw materials containing soya
Objective of this inspection was to identify, using the PCR method, to what extent the food and raw materials containing the genetically modified DNA are released into circulation. If a particular foodstuff contains the genetically modified DNA, it is classified as novel food and subjects to a special regime of releasing food into circulation, in accordance with the Food Law.
The total of 20 samples of foodstuffs and raw materials were analysed. The modified DNA was detected in 5 food samples and 2 samples of raw materials, which means that either a genetically modified raw material was used in their manufacturing or the raw material was contaminated with the modified substance in the production process. The inspection proved that at present a significant number of foods containing the genetically modified DNA are released into circulation.
In 2001, it was enough to obtain an approval of the Ministry of Health for releasing the foods into circulation, whereas starting from January 1, 2002 the novel food has to be labelled in compliance with the relevant regulation.
This inspection focused mainly on sour soy products, tofu, soy mayonnaise, tempeh, soy drinks and soy instant drinks. The objective was to verify the system of critical points in the producers of soy food, as this food represents an increased risk from the perspective of infringement of food safety regulations, and to analyse the microbiological and quality requirements.
In the course of this action the total of 14 manufacturers of soy products were inspected and in 5 cases the samples were taken in the market network. Out of the total of 68 samples taken, 25 samples did not comply with the microbiological or analytical requirements or requirements for labelling, which is 36.8 %.
Sparkling and fizzy wines
Inspections focused on sparkling and fizzy wines both of domestic and foreign origin released into circulation in the period before Christmas. The objective was to control the food safety, quality and labelling, including potential adulterations.
Altogether 58 samples were tested, of which 32 samples did not comply with the set standards, most often due to the nonconforming sugar-free extract. No case of food safety infringement was identified. The inspection proved that mainly sparkling wines of the small and unknown producers represent a risk.
Quality wines - registration, invoices and mercantile papers
This inspection focused on the sellers and producers of quality wines. The main objective was to identify whether consumers are not deceived due to the fact that wines not valuated or classified by the Expert Commission at the Ministry of Agriculture, assigned to do the evaluation and classification of wines, are described as quality wines. The inspection took place in 105 sellers, 92 producers (of which 83 producers from the Moravian regions and 9 producers from Bohemian regions) and in 2 distributors. Non-conformances were identified only in a few isolated cases.
Quality of table potatoes from late harvest
The purpose of this inspection was to assess the condition of table potatoes from late harvest put into circulation by the producers and small retailers, and to remove the non-conformances. In accordance with the initial suggestions obtained in January and February 2001, this commodity did not comply with the set requirements to a great deal.
Altogether 441 batches of table potatoes from late harvest were inspected, of which 201 batches did not comply with the legal regulations, i.e. 45.6 %. Among the most important non-conformances identified prevailed those occurring in the potato flesh (i.e. colour changes to the flesh) - growing grey almost black - that were identified in 131 batches, i.e. in 29.7 %, of the total number of batches inspected.
11. 2.7 Inspections in production
In 2001 the CAFIA inspectors carried out altogether 8,080 inspections of the producers, in which the total of 4,450 premises (places of production) were inspected, of which some repeatedly. From the perspective of commodities, the highest number of inspections took place in bakeries, producers of cold meals and pastries. This corresponds with the number of registrations made by CAFIA: at the date of December 31, 2001, the total of 2,364 producers of bakery products; 1,414 producers of pastries and 1,369 producers of cold meals were registered.
In most cases the inspections focused on the determination of critical points, i.e. the identification whether the producers complied with the requirements laid down in the Decree of the Ministry of Agriculture No. 147/998. Furthermore, the inspections focused on the control of food safety, quality, implementation of the imposed actions and compliance with the requirements for hygienic conditions.
The number of inspections focusing on the food safety and carried out in production reached the total of 2,745. The breached requirements for food safety were identified in 204 inspections (i.e. 7.4 %), most frequently relating to pastries (49 inspections), followed by cold meals (29 inspections) and bakery products (13 inspections).
The HACCP system verification was carried out in 6,042 inspections. It is clear from the obtained results that 68.2 % of the assessed production premises fully complied with the requirements of the implementing provision relating to the HACCP system. Some non-conformances were identified in the remaining 31.8 % (the system was either missing completely or was in different phases of progress). The commodities such as beer, edible salt, fresh fruit, soft drinks, foodstuffs for special dietary uses and cereals were classified among the lines of business with the highest share of compliances in the production processes. On the contrary, the commodities such as the production of chocolate, sweets, pastries, ice cream and bakery products were included among the lines of business with the highest share of non-conformances identified in the production process.
When a non-conformance was identified within the scope of inspections of critical points the adequate actions were imposed. The periods given to remove the non-conformances were set with respect to the specific situation so that they could be feasible for the producer. The priority objective was to provide for the adherence to requirements laid down in the implementing provision and for the improvement of the overall situation, not to impose a penalty.
It is evident from the results of HACCP control obtained at the date of December 31, 2001, that the situation notably improved compared to the previous period, i.e. at the date of 31 December 2000, when the same inspections identified 26.1 % of productions without problems and non-conformances in 73.9 % of production processes.
12. 2.8 Inspections in trade network
This field of activities includes inspections carried out the retail establishments and wholesale warehouses.
The system of inspections performed in the retail establishments underwent a great change in 2001. The change consisted mainly in the systematic inspections carried out in hypermarkets of the big shopping chains that have their premises all over the territory of the CR. The main reason for such an organisation of the inspections was the fact that the big shopping chains had lately become (in terms of the quantity of food sold) the most important retail establishments selling food in the Czech Republic.
Inspections in smaller shops as well as sampling for the laboratory analyses were performed on the basis of a plan of inspections compiled in the individual Regional Inspectorates.
The high number of inspections in the retail establishments was also performed on the basis of complaints and suggestions of consumers. In most cases when CAFIA carried out an inspection on the basis of a complainant notification, the compliance with other requirements was inspected, too, in addition to the subject of a complaint itself.
From the perspective of the requirements laid down in the legal regulations, inspections carried out in the retail establishments focused on the observance of selling hygiene, on equipment of the shops in dependence on the food assortment offered, and on respecting the minimum-use-dates and minimum durability dates, adequacy of labelling, packing and shipping documents delivered with the goods, etc. Within the scope of the warehousing conditions control, the inspectors focused on the compliance with the temperature regimes set for the storage of refrigerated and frozen food, as well as on other foodstuffs with fixed temperatures in terms of their putting into circulation.
With respect to control of the individual food commodities, inspections in the retail establishments focused mostly on fresh fruit and vegetables, meat products, dairy products, wine, liquors, bakery products, pastries and cold meals.
Inspections carried out in wholesale warehouses focused especially on the imported food and on additional examinations of nonconforming food samples identified in the retail establishments.
13. 2.9 Suggestions
CAFIA receives complaints and announcements of consumers and other entities (public service authorities, media, etc.) serving as suggestions for the inspections.
In 2001, CAFIA received 2,029 suggestions and their number still rises. They participate, to a great extent, in making a decision about the focus of inspections. The greater part of suggestions was presented directly by the consumers. Collaboration with other institutions of public service plays an important role in their solution. Moreover, CAFIA received part of the suggestions from, e.g., authorities of the public health protection, Czech Inspection of Commerce, State Veterinary Administration and Police of the CR. In some cases CAFIA paid attention to suggestions that arrived from media.
Most often the suggestions refer to inadequate food safety, selling of foodstuffs with expired date of use or minimum durability date, hygienic problems in the shops, unsuitable storage conditions and adulterations.
From the perspective of commodities, the suggestions in most cases applied to fresh fruit and vegetables, cold meals, meat and bakery products, and pastries. The consumers also complain quite often about the quality of alcoholic drinks.
Based on some suggestions, very serious violations of the relevant regulations were discovered. To give an example, a consumer notified CAFIA about his health problems after eating fried peanuts. The analyses showed that the hygienic limit for aflatoxins B1 was exceeded ten times.
14. 2.10 Penalties
If a non-conformance is identified during an inspection, then the inspectors impose a penalty. In 2001 CAFIA imposed 2,453 penalties in Administrative Procedures in the total amount of CZK 28,678,000. When determining the amount of a penalty, it is necessary to take into account the weight, process, and length of duration and consequences of illegal acts.
The main reason for imposing a penalty in the Administrative Procedure was mainly the non-compliance with legal provisions (the number of cases, when the non-compliance with a relevant regulation was a reason for imposing a penalty, is specified in brackets):
- § Section 11, par. 1, letter d) of the Food Law (950),
- § Section 10, par. 1, letter c) of the Food Law (763),
- § Section 6 of the Food Law (750),
- § Section 10, par. 1, letter a) of the Food Law (606),
- § Section 10, par. 1, letter b) of the Food Law (542),
- § Section 11, par. 1, letter c) of the Food Law (470),
- § Section 68 of the Food Law (465),
- § Section 11, par. 2, letter c) of the Food Law (368),
- § Section 11, par. 2, letter a) of the Food Law (344),
- § Section 11, letter h), point 2 of the Act on Viticulture and Wine Production (196)
If multiple non-compliance with different legal provisions are identified during an inspection, the penalty is imposed in summary for all the non-compliances detected. The number of penalties imposed is lower than the number of identified non-compliances with rules and regulations.
Bans create another form of sanctions. In 2001, the bans inflicted on food and tobacco products reached the amount of CZK 29,531,000. The share of non-compliances identified in production amounted to CZK 11,088,000, and those in retail trade network - imported food reached the value of CZK 11,933,000 and food of domestic origin the value of CZK 6,510,000.
From the perspective of commodities, the highest amounts of bans were imposed on liquors (CZK 6,199,000), processed fruit and vegetables (CZK 3,379,000), wine (CZK 2,711,000) and food for special dietary uses (CZK 2,319,000).
15. 3 Laboratory Activities
Each of the four accredited laboratories is, apart from other things, specialised for some kinds of analyses.
The laboratory of the Prague inspectorate is specialised for the determination of vitamins, pesticides, for methods of testing spirit and others. The laboratory in Brno specialises, e.g., for the methods of wine testing and detection of GMO in food. The laboratory in Hradec Králové is mainly specialised for the determinations of chemical agents, organochlorine pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls, and the laboratory in Olomouc performs mainly analyses of mycotoxins, aflatoxins first of all. The laboratories of inspectorates in Tábor, Plzeň and Ústí nad Labem perform only microbiological analyses of food.
Since 1993, CAFIA has been organising on regular basis the inter-laboratory comparison tests within the ILPT system (inter-laboratory proficiency testing) that have been included in the National comparison testing system. The organisation and assessment of the ILPT system are held in cooperation with CAI (Czech Accreditation Institute). In 2001 the following rounds of the comparison tests were held or initiated:
- § Determination of sorbic acid and sulphur dioxide in wine
- § Determination of the contents of alcohol, sugar, sugar-free extract and volatile acids in wine
- § Determination of vitamins in food for special dietary uses
- § Determination of phthalates, benzene, toluene, xylene, ethylcarbamates, methanol and higher alcohols in liquor
- § Determination of nitrates in meat-vegetable products
- § Determination of cyclamate in beverages
- § Determination of acidity coefficient, pH, refractometric dry matter in beverages
- § Determination of the selected microorganisms in food
The CAFIA laboratories regularly take part in the international comparison tests. In 2001 CAFIA participated in the tests within the FAPAS system (physical and chemical determinations) and FEPAS system (microbiological determinations) held in Britain, in the tests within the CHEK system (physical and chemical determinations) held in the Netherlands, and in the tests carried out in the area of microbiology that were held in Sweden, and others.
16. 4 Certification Activities
Certification of fruit and vegetables
CAFIA is authorised, based on a Resolution of the OECD Council of 1990, to issue certificates for the exported products in compliance with the EEC/UN international standards.
The scope of certification is to allow the local producers gaining more grounds in the foreign markets and, on the other hand, to restrict the importation of goods of lower quality to the CR, which will result in the improvement of business with fresh fruit and vegetables between the CR and countries that accepted this system of certification within OECD. The certification rules also apply to re-exports.
The standards of the Economic Commission for Europe of the UN serve as the basis of the OECD interpretation standards. The EEC/UN standards are applied to business transactions between the member countries of EEC/UN and for the importation of fruit and vegetables into these countries. Both the EU standards and the Czech standards (CSN) are fully harmonised with these standards. In 2001 CAFIA issued 474 certificates for the exports of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Certification of wine
Since 1992 CAFIA has been authorised by the Committee for Wine of the EC to issue certificates for the export of grape wine from the CR into the EU countries. The international certificate is issued on the basis of results of the respective analyses performed by an accredited CAFIA laboratory. IN 2001 CAFIA issued the total of 104 certificates for the exports of wine to Germany, Finland, Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, Croatia and the Netherlands.
Certification in the GOSTR R system
Based on the accreditation granted by the authorities of Russian Federation (GOSSTANDART - similar institution as ÚNMZ in Prague, and GOSKOMSANEPIDNADZOR - hygienic service of the Russian Federation) in 1996 and subsequent re-accreditation obtained in 2000, CAFIA, as the only authority in the field of food in the CR, carries out the accreditation activity in compliance with the Russian GOSTR R system.
Since 2000 CAFIA has been accredited by the national accreditation authority - the Czech Accreditation Institute in compliance with the standard CSN EN 45 011 to function as an accreditation authority providing certification of products. Based on the received certification and positive audit held in 2001, CAFIA is authorised to certify food products.
In the course of 2001 CAFIA provided for the voluntary certification, issuing certificates for food and raw materials upon request of the businessmen. The certificates are mainly required for exports; therefore also the scope of tests is defined in most cases in accordance with the requirements of a foreign customer.
17. 5 Internal Information System
The selected inspectors verified their working with notebooks directly in the fieldwork during inspections when they could print right on spot protocols, partial protocols and bans. Assessment of this activity showed that the legibility and layout of the inspection materials improved and awareness of the inspectors increased, on the other side, it pointed out that it is necessary to change the specialised software applications so that the documents could be printed during the field work automatically based on the loaded data about the particular inspection.
A considerable progress arrived also in the field of corporate Intranet. Intranet was installed in the headquarters at the end of 2000 and was gradually loaded with various types of internal documents all through 2001 (methodical instructions, organisational rules and manuals, directives of the General Manager, etc.), as well as with external regulations and documents (EU Directives, Codex Alimentarius instructions, CSN standards). Moreover, it is possible to publish in the Intranet the ongoing reports on the events organised and controlled by the headquarters, planned controls for contaminants, up-to-date reports on infringement of food safety regulations and the latest results of media monitoring.
Since 1996 CAFIA has been using its own information system whose principal programs are "Inspections" and "Laboratory Activities". This system has been modified and completed a few times in the course of its service. The biggest problem of the current period is that the data gathered during inspections are not fully available on-line for the entire organisation. Therefore, CAFIA is getting ready for the transition to the internet/intranet technological platform. The goal is to create a client/server application for the on-line data collection from both the inspections and laboratory activities via web interface to one central server and differentiated remote access to data functioning on the basis of access right for various staff categories. The creation of one unified system would refer to the subsystems for Inspections, Laboratory Activities, CAFIA Surveys, Complaints, Certification of Fruit and Vegetables, and Economy. Questions and selection within the system would be made both using patterns for typical questions and the proper question fabrication. The IS should maintain all functions and majority of outputs of the existing system and should make the maximum use of the corporate hardware sources.
The initial step of this design was a study about the new information system that was worked out by an external company by the end of 2001. It will serve in later period as the basis for implementation of the new information system that should increase essentially the communication support of both inspectors and the CAFIA management.
18. 6 Personnel Training
In addition to the professional training of personnel, a project on "Managerial Skills" was held in 2001 where about 32 managers were trained in three three-week cycles. This project extended the previous similarly oriented training for the top management. The scope of the training course was to improve in this target group the proper communication skills and to increase efficiency of their work in applying modern managerial methods.
The Phare project CZ 9809-04-01&02 "Support of the Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority" that started in the middle of 2000 and proceeded until 2001 with a series of seminars on the implementation and control of critical points in production for the small producers of bakery products, for the producers of wine and fresh fruit and vegetables. These seminars helped the producers meet the conditions set for the production of healthy food.
The project was ended with two seminars for the CAFIA inspectors on the control of critical points and quality of fresh fruit and vegetables held abroad that were funded from the TAIEX sources. The inspectors had a chance to learn about the work of their foreign colleagues right in the filed and consult their working procedures with specialists from the inspection authorities in Ireland and Great Britain.
The project worth of more than 12 million Czech crowns terminated in June 2001 by a meeting of the CAFIA representatives, Delegation of the European Commission in the CR, Centre for Foreign Assistance at the Ministry of Finance and the Irish company IAFD that covered the entire project financially. More than 30 different courses and seminars were organised in the course of one year of the project both for the CAFIA staff and Czech producers of food. The project due to its large scope facilitated laying down conditions for the implementation of European policy relating to food safety based on the unified control of the food chain and on delegating the responsibility for food safety on producers.
Further to the government decree No. 1028 of 10 October 2001, on Rules setting the method of preparation of personnel in the public service agencies, CAFIA will work out a training policy for the following period that would be in compliance with this decree. Priority in this in the field of educational activities will consist in the training ad hominem, mainly of inspectors, both in the professional subjects and in communication skills.
19. 7 Activities in the Field of Legislation
In 2001 CAFIA focused on the preparation of an amendment to the Act on the Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority (No. 63/1998 Coll. of L.), as determined in the government plan of legislative activities. However, with view to a high number of drafted changes going beyond the scope of the amendment, it was decided to draw up and submit to the government a bill on the State Agricultural and Food Inspection Authority. The bill responds both to the need of changes arising from the implementation of food controls in the Czech Republic and to the necessity of harmonising the food control in the CR with the EU laws. The bill that will be fully harmonised with the EU law was submitted to the government in September 2001.
It is useful to mention among the EU requirements that were incorporated in the bill, e.g., the obligation of laboratories analysing the food samples for the control purposes to use accredited methods and comply with the requirements for good laboratory methods, or the CAFIA (SZPI) obligation to cooperate in the execution of the inspections not only, as for now, with the appropriate national public service agencies, but also with the respective EU bodies in the case of serious facts jeopardizing or being apt to put in jeopardy the consumer protection.
Although, the new bill on CAFIA (SZPI) does not represent only the adjustments of CAFIA (SZPI) rights and duties. It also requires adjustments of the Act on Food and Tobacco products (No. 110/1997 Coll. of L.). E.g., the business entities distributing or exporting fresh fruit or vegetables, or table potatoes will be obliged to notify CAFIA (SZPI) at the latest the same day when the commodity will be put into circulation or exported.
In addition to the above bill, CAFIA drew up a motion for the decree on testing methods and methods of sampling for the purpose of identifying quality and food safety.
CAFIA carefully followed the course of legislative events for the whole of past year and was regularly sending to the competent ministries comments or statements within the scope of interdepartmental debate on new bills or decrees. They were mainly the bill on viticulture and wine production, bill on packing, bill on the protection of indication of origin, bill on chemical substances and products, and decree on frozen food, decree on classification of the animals for slaughter and meat sold at butcher stores, decree determining food fragrances or the decree on the method of determination of critical points.
Similarly as in the previous years, also in 2001 CAFIA took an active part in the preparation and process of amendment to the implementing provisions for the laws serving CAFIA as the legal basis for their controls.
Furthermore, CAFIA took an active part in the work of technical committees for standardisation (TNK) established at the Czech Institute for Standardisation (TNK No. 116 Food; TNK No. 6 Quality Control). CAFIA participates, on a regular basis, in debates on the motions for the Czech technical standards (CSN), being developed and implemented in the Czech Republic. Last year CAFIA submitted amendments to altogether 67 standards, of which 27 referred to the testing methods and in forty cases the standards were applying to a specific subject of regulation.
20. 8 Cooperation with Other Authorities and Institutions
CAFIA also submits suggestions to the respective bodies of the Police of the Czech Republic on suspicion of committing a crime disclosed during an inspection. It also cooperates on the investigation of a crime.
CAFIA closely cooperates with other agencies of public service in the preparation of amendments to rules and regulations with the objective to achieve mutually linked and harmonised legislation and consistent procedure in the integration to EU.
A close cooperation with the Revenue Office arises from the fact that the Revenue Office is competent to exact penalties imposed in an Administrative Procedure for the violation of legal duties referring to the production of food or their releasing into circulation.
CAFIA cooperates with the Office for the Protection of Intellectual Property, e.g., in verifying the facts important for the execution of inspections of foodstuffs or products recognised as forgeries or illegal imitations.
CAFIA works in partnership with the Public Records Office on the records filing services.
CAFIA receives from the Customs Office vital information on food imported to our territory from foreign countries. It verifies authenticity of trade licence with the Trade Licensing Office presented by the inspected entities, and on the other hand, it provides the respective Trade Licensing Offices with information on serious violations of legal duties while conducting business.
21. 9 International Relations
CAFIA has been carefully monitoring development in the area of European food law and activities of the European Commission associated with the establishment of the European Food Authority as anticipated in the White Paper on Food Safety of the European Commission of January 2000, although it is not an authority accountable for harmonisation of the Czech food legislation with the EC law, nor it participates directly in the pre-integration negotiations in the field of food control. However, the amendments to the EU laws, directly concerning CAFIA, includes a new decree on the quality control of fresh fruit and vegetables, No. 1148/2001, cancelling the decree issued in 1992 and introducing some new aspects in this field. With view to the fact that CAFIA had taken part in the preparation of a new law on SZPI (see Chapter 7), it was necessary to reflect this fact in the bill.
In connection to the draft of a bill on SZPI and to the accelerating preparations of the Czech Republic for integration into EU, CAFIA commenced systematising of the food legislation with EC and its detailed comparison with the Czech legal standards. The so called compatibility tables to the bill, forming the mandatory annex to each new bill, lay the basis for similar analyses of further relevant regulations that CAFIA uses for the accomplishment of its competences.
As to the integration talks, CAFIA closely collaborated with the Ministry of Agriculture and other authorities involved in the preparation of technical consultations held between the Czech Republic and the European Union on the phytosanitary issues. CAFIA, due to drawing out the section on monitoring and control of pesticides residues and contaminants in food, had a share on the development of a strategy for the phytosanitary issues until the incorporation of CR into EU.
Also in 2001 CAFIA representatives participated in several meetings of the significant international organisations such as FLEP and Codex Alimentarius Commission of WHO/FAO. The XVII FLEP meeting was held in London in June and CAFIA delegated its representative. The FLEP Working Party for mycotoxins was organised too, CAFIA became its member since its establishment in 2000. CAFIA also delegated representative at a regular meeting of the Committee for Testing Methods and Sampling of Codex Alimentarius. CAFIA submitted amendments to some drafts of directives that were debated within the scope of the meeting. The CAFIA's representatives took part in the meetings of other committees in the statute of observes, they were the Committee for Additives, Committee for Pesticides Residues or Committee for Food for Special Dietary Uses.
CAFIA established official contacts with the FAO Sub-regional Office for the Central and Eastern Europe, having its seat in Budapest. It was agreed in the preliminary negotiations that CAFIA would cooperate with FAO in the preparation of seminars on food safety held in the Czech Republic. It will also have a share on the organisation of an international workshop on food safety held for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and for the countries of the former Soviet Union.
The preparation and implementation of projects funded from various programs of the European Union or its member countries rank among the important activities in the field of international relations. In 2001, Phare project on personnel training (see Chapter 6) was terminated. CAFIA commenced, in parallel with this project, preparing the project documentation for a new Phare program that should both increase efficiency of the CAFIA activities and create a data base for communication between all authorities of public service taking part in food control in the Czech Republic. The project counts on the development of information system that would bring an interface between all the respective authorities and that would be prepared for being connected to the Rapid Alert System operated by the European Commission. Implementation of this project should commence in autumn 2002 and terminate in spring 2004. CAFIA also submitted a draft of a project funded from MATRA program - these are resources earmarked by the Dutch government in order to establish institutions in public sector. The project focuses especially on training of CAFIA personnel and should be implemented in the course of 2003.
CAFIA also applied for work in the international project called QUID Thematic Network whose main objective is to develop a European network of laboratories enforcing the Directive 79/112/EEC, on labelling and presentation of products in practice. The principal objective of this project, which should take 3 years, is the exchange of experience and information in the areas of determination of the quantitative ingredient declaration in foodstuffs, execution of inter-laboratory experiments and development of an infrastructure for the transmission and exchange of information between laboratories involved in the official food control. The first two meetings of a working group of this project were held in 2001 with the participation of a CAFIA representative.
Cooperation with foreign partners
In view of the imminent integration of CR into EU, it was necessary to establish closer bilateral relations with the control authorities not only in the EU countries but also with the associates. While in 2000 CAFIA entered in a close relationship with the Irish FSAI, in 2001 a bilateral agreement on cooperation in the field of market supervision was concluded with the Hungarian General Inspectorate for the Consumer Protection. The agreement specifies the principal spheres of cooperation and generally defines the exchange of information and experience.
CAFIA staff took part in various international seminars and courses. To name the most important: seminar "Food Safety First" that was held in the Netherlands and funded by the Dutch government. Its main objective was to inform the participants about the food control principles in the Netherlands and the system of the EU food law. The Dutch government also funded a course called "Chain Management and Agricultural Development" focused on the presentation of principles of the food safety arrangement proceeding from the primary production, through processing up to retail trade.
Conferences that the CAFIA representatives visit are not only a chance for the exchange of information and professional experience, but also for the establishment of informal contacts with the representatives of other control authorities, research institutes, European Commission or other institutions. In 2001 it was a conference on the Consumer Protection in E-Business held in Budapest, the conference on Food Safety held in Slovenia or the common conference of the WHO and FSAI on Strengthening of the National Food Safety Programs.
CAFIA publishes and draws information both from the Czech and foreign press
22. 10 Public Relations
Communication with the general public (or with consumers) is governed by the Act on Free Access to Information (No. 106/1999, Coll. of L.) that came into force on January 1, 2000. CAFIA provides information referring to majority fields of its activities (with the exception of personal data, etc.).
CAFIA communicates with consumers openly and on regular basis and that either directly (by providing responses to specific questions, consultations on specific problems or investigation of suggestions for an inspection) or indirectly (mainly through the CAFIA web sites). On the occasion of important food fairs (e.g. The International Fair of Gastronomy held in Brno, etc.) CAFIA sets up its own information point for consumers.
The most efficient form of proving information is the regular contact with a large spectrum of media that CAFIA furnishes with information on the results of inspections and other activities in the regularly published press releases. In the case of significant and extraordinary occasions (identification of food in the market presenting risk to public health, results of inspection important for consumers, etc.), CAFIA organises press conferences. The CAFIA experts write educational articles relating to food for consumer columns in daily papers and technical magazines, or they participate in talks on similar subjects arranged in electronic media (radio and TV).
The well-established practice in CAFIA is a daily monitoring of press. Articles, reports and interviews are loaded into the intranet where they are available to all CAFIA employees. In parallel, they serve as feedback for the survey of consumer interest in a specific subject from the area of food control. The good cooperation with media has turned to be a success. CAFIA takes their information as one of the basis for the inspection planning or as suggestions to be verified.
There was evident increase of interest in the food safety issues and healthy nutrition from the records of questions asked by consumers and from the press monitoring carried out in the past two years. The outcome of survey arranged by IVVM (Institute for the Research of Public Opinion) that was held in June 2001, confirmed rising confidence of consumers in the authorities involved in the official food control. This outcome relates - apart from other things - to the rising consumer awareness.
CAFIA has established a new department of public relations (3 persons) at the date of 2002-03-01 whose task will consist in setting up better contacts with consumers and media.
CAFIA web sites: www.czpi.cz
CAFIA aims to publish the maximum possible number of information about its activities on its own web sites. They contain important information about nonconforming food, press releases, newly issued laws and decrees, inform the producers about CAFIA approach to inspections in specific areas (GMO, wine, bio-food…) and about objects of interest and provide recommendations for consumers.
Based on the results of survey, the CAFIA web sites are intensively visited by the general public (businessmen, journalists, students and small consumers). At the date of 13 February 2002 about 31,096 persons visited CAFIA web sites. A significant increase of visitors is always associated with the CAFIA press conferences ( Press Releases) or with published information regarding the detection of food harmful to public health ( Unsafe Foodstuff).
The records still reveal an outlasting great interest in the list of legal regulations, list of E-codes, information on harmful food, recommendations and professional articles for the consumers. Among the most often visited files are: How to protect from nonconforming food in retail trade network; What can tell the food packaging; Hypersensitivity to food; CAFIA's approach to genetically modified food; Food Adulterations and 3-MCPD detected in soy sauce. As to the new information published, the visitors were mainly interested in articles called Microbial agents of alimentary diseases and Heavy metals in the environment and their influence on human body.
Since 2001, consumers can submit their suggestions for inspections through the CAFIA web sites directly to the individual Regional Inspectorates ( Write us - Comments to www).
Within the scope of Agris project that ensured evaluation www servers used for conducting a business in the agrarian sector, the CAFIA web sites were highly valued.
In 2002 the CAFIA web sites will be upgraded and more clearly arranged.
Information provided in conformity with Section 18, par. 1 of the Act on a Free Access to Information (No. 106/1999 Coll. of L.)
23. 11 Conclusion
The bans of circulation were inflicted on the nonconforming food and tobacco products in the total amount of CZK 29,531,000 in 2001. Of which the share in production amounted to CZK 11,088,000; in retail trade network the share of bans imposed on circulation was recorded in the imported food and tobacco products in the value of CZK 11,933,000 and in domestic products in the value of CZK 6,510,000.
In the course of 2001 the CAFIA inspectors carried out the total of 22,122 separate inspections, of which 8,080 in production; 1,704 in wholesale warehouses; 12,219 in retail shops and 119 in other premises.
For the breach of duties appointed by the respective legislation, in 2001 CAFIA imposed altogether 2,453 penalties in Administrative Procedures amounting to CZK 28,678,000. In determining the amount of penalty the following issues were carefully considered: gravity, manner, length of existence and consequences of a specific illegal act.
In the sphere of international activities CAFIA took an active part in the meetings of leading international organisations and established further official contacts with European authorities and institutions. Communication with the European Commission continued in 2001, for the most part, from the perspective of ongoing harmonisation of the Czech food law with that of EU.
CAFIA was very active in submitting expert amendments and in legislative work on the preparation of rules and regulations, especially in the preparation of a bill on the Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority (or the State Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority), which is to be fully harmonised with legislation of the European Union.
The year 2001 brought to an end the Phare project on training and education. At the same time the preparatory work on a new project commenced. The new project should help increase efficiency of the CAFIA activities and support the development of a complex information system that will bring into an interface all agencies of public service involved in the food control.
24. 12 Abbreviations and Explanations