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The Czech and Saxony project "Together for Better Food" was concluded



On 16 June 2022, a cross-border cooperation project between the Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority and the Saxon State Ministry for Social Affairs and Cohesion (Sächsisches Staatsministerium für Soziales und Gesellschaftlichen Zusammenhalt) came to an end in Dresden. The inspectorates in Ústí nad Labem and Plzeň were involved in the project on behalf of CAFIA, while on the Saxon side the authorities from districts in Dresden, Mittelsachsen, Sächsische Schweiz-Osterzgebirgeand and Görlitz were involved.

The aim of the project was to establish cooperation, to get acquainted with the inspection procedures of the project partner and to create a network of personal contacts of inspectors in the border regions of the Czech Republic and Saxony in the field of official food supervision. The main focus of the project were the exchange visits of staff from both partner authorities.

Twenty representatives of CAFIA and a similar number of representatives of the Saxon inspection authorities took part in the exchange visits. The target group was mainly inspectors. The exchange visit consisted of a visit to the regional inspectorate or inspection body, where the activities of the respective authority concerning food inspections were presented, current problems and selected topics were discussed, followed by visits to food business operators. These joint inspections were an important element of the whole project, as direct experience and cooperation at a practical level always provides the most valuable information and allows a different perspective on the work carried out by the supervisory authorities. The visits to operators were carried out within the responsibility of both supervisory authorities and this time, they were focused mainly on catering establishments.

During the exchange visits, the inspectors from both countries were able to learn in detail about the differences in their daily work in a number of areas. Among the most notable are the differences in the organisational structure of the authorities, their responsibilities and the role of laboratories. There are also differences in administrative procedures, in the way measures and fines are imposed when deficiencies are detected, or in the approach to e-commerce inspections or the interpretation of legislation. One of the most useful results of the project is establishing a network of personal contacts, which is a good basis for possible cooperation and exchange of information and knowledge between inspectors from both countries in the future.

On behalf of the Saxon side, Sebastian Vogel, Secretary of the Saxon Ministry, gave a short speech remotely. Senior officials of both partners agreed that building a common basis for cooperation in the field of food inspections in the border area is one of their priorities. "I consider the opportunity to see the work of German colleagues and to visit some Saxon operators to be a great benefit of the project, as the possibility of comparison brings a different perspective on our own work and leads to consideration whether to approach some work procedures in a different, perhaps better way. Mutual inspiration can move both cooperating parties forward.“, Martin Klanica, CAFIA Director General, said. During the closing event in Dresden, the results of the project were summarised and possibilities for future cooperation were outlined.

The project lasted four months and its total budget amounts to approximately 55 thousand EUR out of which 85% will be reimbursed by the European Regional Development Fund.

For the Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority, this is the second project implemented jointly with Saxony and the sixth cross-border cooperation project in which it has been involved. Previous exchange projects were carried out with Austria in 2005 and 2006, Slovakia in 2009, the Free State of Saxony in 2011, the Free State of Bavaria in 2013 and Poland in 2019, each time involving inspectorates close to the cross-border neighbour. The operational programmes for cross-border cooperation thus allow CAFIA to learn about the practical functioning of supervisory authorities with the same or similar competences in neighbouring countries and to establish contacts that can then be used in the future.


Article by: Světlana Bicková, Person responsible for managing of the project

27th June 2022