The high-level Ministerial Conference took place on 26 September and was dedicated to the follow-up of the fipronil incident which hit the EU over the summer. The European Commission and the EU Member States agreed on several concrete measures which will bolster the EU’s action against food fraud.
The agreed measures put a lot of emphasis on the importance of cooperation and risk communication between Member States and the Commission. The Commission is invited to create a management plan for food and feed incidents while Member States should encourage the food business operators to implement or improve the existing self-monitoring or self-checking systems and programmes. In order to respond to risks and incidents in a rapid and sound way, both the Commission and Member States should assign adequate resources for crisis preparedness and management. Procedures for a coordinated risk management approach at EU level will be established. The Commission and Member States will also work towards bridging the gap between the use of the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) and of the Administrative and Cooperation (AAC) systems to maximise their capacity. The establishment of a ‘food safety officer’ will be considered. Finally, procedures will be set up to enable a rapid flow of information at Member State and Commission levels taking into account the need to not harm potential criminal proceedings.
The measures will again be presented at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting on 9 and 10 October.