From 1 April, 2015, businesses involved in packaging or re-packaging food face new responsibilities.

Employment of competent professionals

From 1 April 2016, the packaging of foodstuffs as part of a business’s production, handling and distribution operations (except for primary production) must be conducted under the supervision of a suitably qualified staff member.

This means food businesses packaging or re-packaging foodstuffs have until 1 April 2016 to hire someone with a (i) higher education qualification in food science or veterinary medicine or (ii) secondary education qualification in food science or veterinary medicine and have taken an officially accredited alternative course or an equivalent course in another EU country.

According to an explanatory report issued by the Agriculture and Environment Committee of the National Council of the Slovak Republic, the amendment requires (although it does not say so expressly) that such a person must be employed at each packaging/repackaging plant.

Non-compliance with this requirement may lead to a fine of between €100-€100,000.

Notice of imported food packaging

Since 2013, in order to prevent hazardous foods from being brought into the country, 24 hours’ notice has to be given to the State Veterinary and Food Administration of the arrival, destination, country of origin, description and amount of any shipment of imported animal products (including meat and dairy produce) or unprocessed fruit or vegetables from another EU or non-EU country.

From 1 April 2015, this obligation will be extended to include details of the packaging.  Non-compliance may lead to a fine of between €100-€100,000. 

Special rules for sprouts

In the wake of the 2011 E.coli outbreak linked to sprouts, there are new regulations requiring food plants producing sprouts to be licensed by the competent foodstuffs administration authorities.

Law: amendment to the Foodstuffs Act