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Czech and Polish project “Safe and Quality Foodstuffs on Both Sides of the Borders” was concluded

06/06/2019
 

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On 6th June 2019, final conference concluding the project of cross-border co-operation was held in Polish Opole. The project was implemented by the Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority (CAFIA) jointly with the Polish supervisory authority: Inspection Authority of Agricultural and Food Products (Inspekcja Jakości Handlowej Artykułów Rolno - Spożywczych). CAFIA Inspectorates in Ústí nad Labem, Hradec Králové and Olomouc were involved on behalf of the Czech Republic whereas Poland is represented by regional inspectorates in Wroclaw, Katowice and Opole. Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic was represented by Jindrich Fialka, Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture Section.

The aim of the project was strengthening of co-operation and making personal contacts with inspectors in cross-border regions of the Czech Republic and Poland in the field of official inspection of foodstuffs. Exchange visits of inspectors of both authorities were the main constituents of the project.

More than 30 CAFIA inspectors and similar number of representatives of Polish supervisory body will participate in the project. Each exchange visit comprised a visit of the regional workplace where activities of the given authority related to inspection of foodstuffs were introduced, current issues and selected topics according to the specialisation of the inspectors were discussed and these were be followed by visits at food business operators. These joint inspections were an important part of the whole project as direct experience and co-operation on practical level always provides the most valuable information and enables bringing a new perspective on the working methods carried out by supervisory bodies. Visits at the food business operators were implemented in the scope of competences of both supervisory bodies, for example bakeries, producers of confectionary products, pasta, alcoholic beverages, breweries, etc. will were visited.

Inspectors from both countries could thus get familiarised in detail with differences in their everyday routine in a range of areas. Organisation structure, competences are the most significant ones. Also administrative procedures, methods of imposition of measures and fines when deficiencies are detected as well as the approach to anonymous suggestions for inspections are different. Creating a network of personal contacts which is a good basis for possible co-operation and exchange of information and knowledge among the inspectors of both countries in the future is the most beneficial value of the project. Both sides thus gained a new perspective on the same matter.

The top representatives of both partners came up to the conclusion that building a common basis for co-operation in the field of food safety in cross-border region is one of their priorities.

The project lasted almost 6 months. The conference held today/yesterday summarized the content and results of the project and in the very end, a short meeting of representatives of Czech and Polish Ministry of Agriculture was held.

This was already fifth project of cross-border co-operation implemented by the Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority. At the turn of 2005 a 2006 similar exchange visits were implemented in co-operation with Austria, in 2009 with Slovakia, in 2011 with Free State of Saxony, and finally in 2013 with Free State of Bavaria. Operation programmes of cross-border co-operation enable CAFIA to get familiarized with practical functioning of supervisory authorities with the same or similar competences in neighbouring countries and make relations which could be used in the future. The overall budget of the project amounted to c. 50 thousand EUR, out of which 85% will be reimbursed from European Regional Development Fund.

 

Article by: Svetlana Bickova

6th June 2019