The Ministry of Agriculture has finally published the draft law establishing the State Food Safety Inspectorate. The newly-created body will take over the audit prerogatives currently exercised by five different food inspection institutions.
In Poland all entities operating in food sector are subject to supervision and inspection. The scope of inspection includes original production, processing, transport and sale of food. The new law is intended to create a uniform system of food safety and quality inspection at every level of the food chain and to realise the “field-to-table” approach.
The State Food Safety Inspectorate will replace the Inspectorate for Agricultural and Food Products Trading Quality (IJHARS), the Plant and Seed Protection Inspectorate (PIORiN) and the Veterinary Inspectorate. The new body will also take over tasks associated with the official inspection of foodstuffs, which are currently performed by the Trade Inspectorate, the Sanitary Inspectorate and the Environmental Protection Inspectorate.
The proposal to combine the official food inspection authorities into one aims to enhance the efficiency of supervisory activities and to reduce the administrative burden of food trade participants. At present, market participants have to deal with the possibility of supervisory actions conducted by several authorities, whose powers often overlap.
According to the draft regulations, the State Food Safety Inspectorate will start operating on 1 January 2018. In organisational terms, it will report to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and operate on the national, regional (województwo) and local (powiat) level.
The draft act is currently undergoing inter-ministerial and public consultations. As part of this process, the draft was submitted to over 200 stakeholders, including organisations of food market participants.
The Ministry of Agriculture’s draft law was published almost at the same time as a report by the Supreme Audit Office which was somewhat critical of the accuracy and efficiency of the government bodies’ efforts to enforce food safety. The audit encompassed the period from 1 January 2013 to 30 June 2015. The results of the audit and full contents of the report can be viewed on the Supreme Audit Office’s website (in Polish).