PROCEEDINGS OF THE CONFERENCE  

Cluj-Napoca (Romania) Great Hall of the University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine 18th – 19th October 2007

“The common agricultural policy and food safety. Practical aspects of production, exchange and consumption of products and food stuffs within the common market”






This international conference dealt with the issues of the reform of the common agricultural policy and of food safety and security through presentations of high-profile lecturers and a concluding debate. The subjects of the papers evidenced how the reform of CAP allows the Community to offer its members better commercial conditions while guaranteeing safety and security of food stuff. It was meant to transfer competence and know-how about implementation of safety standards and measures related to the production of products and food stuff and to strengthen the institutional capacity of Romanian PA, local authorities, represeconferenzantatives of the agricultural and rural organisations and co-operatives, consumer protection associations, agricultural producers and the students of the hosting University. In particular, the experiences of and the measures taken by the new member countries involved in this project, Romania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, were presented and compared. During the seminar of two days the following subjects were discussed:
• the reformed common agricultural policy and its legal, economic and social aspects as well as its importance for food safety within the common market;
• its contribution to the sustainable development of the agricultural sector, comprised employment, competitiveness, growth and stability;
• the contribution of CAP to reaching the Community’s objectives in internal trade negotiations, the principle of free movement of goods and the departures from production, exchange and consumption of food stuff; the benefits of PAC within the common and international market;
• practical aspects of production, exchange and consumption of food stuff in the enlargement countries with respect to the community acquis and the rules of exchange within the European market;
• introduction of the European model of agriculture and its opportunities and models for the promotion and implementation of EU best practices;
• it was shown to the target groups how representatives from similar target groups inside the EU (Italy, Belgium, Czech Republic) have dealt with the necessity to implement and enforce CAP and how Bulgaria in parallel is actually dealing with this necessity.
• The final debate and the exchange of experience among EU member countries of old and new generation allowed the audience to deepen the various aspects of the reformed PAC.
Livu Al Marghitas

Prof. Dr. Dr. H.C. Liviu Al. Marghitas
Rector of the University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine of
Cluj-Napoca

As the Rector of the University of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences of Cluj-Napoca, I welcome you all.
Please allow me to introduce this International conference with the title “The common agricultural policy and food safety. Practical aspects of production, exchange and consumption of products and food stuffs within the common market”. I wish to inform you that this International seminar has been realised with the financial assistance of the European Community, the Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development. It has been realised in co-operation with the University La Tuscia of Viterbo, the University of Siena and with our University. I wish to thank the European Academy for Economic and Cultural Relations represented by the President Dr. Ernesto Carpintieri for having included also our University in this project. I thank all colleagues and attendees that are present here and that are interested in this important subject. I wish to thank all those who are present and interested in this project, all colleagues and attendees. Dear President, dear guests we are here in this University that has been founded almost 138 years aCornel Mango and this University has reached 19 areas of specialization. It has over 6000 students and enjoys excellent conditions to enhance their learning, practical and research experience. It is a University that organises Master and Doctoral Programs. It is a University that is nationally accredited and valued on European and International level. This is a favourable moment; it has any kind of requisites/premises which are necessary to be organiser of such a kind of project. It is a University that wants to evolve economically especially in the development of agriculture in our country. Romania disposes of 21 million hectares of farming land, 15 million of which are in agricultural use. The population in the rural areas amounts at 10,9 million, 3,5 million of which are agricultural operators, 94 % of the national surface constitutes rural area. The rural economy is esteemed about 20-22% of the national GDP, 10-12 % of which represent the agricultural economy. The analysis of these macro economic indicators show that the territorial and human resources are the synthesis of the economic result characterising  the expansion of the local rural economy as well as representing an important resource for the rural development in Romania.  Romania has recently joined the European Union and the question is if it is possible to integrate in short time a not yet compatible structure in a modern and dynamic economic, social as well as political system. Perhaps after this conference on the Common Agricultural Policy, the importance of  food safety in the common market and the contribution of the common agricultural policy to the sustainable development of the agricultural sector comprised employment, after having discussed the importance of CAP for consumption of food stuffs and the implementation of the EC regulations as to the exchange of food products within the common market, of the adoption of the European model of agriculture and its opportunities and the implementation of EU best practices we can find answers to our questions.
I am glad about the participation of representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Supply of Bulgaria, of the Czech Republic as well as of many representatives of the sector; we are all in the same boat. Sharing all the same experience, together we will be able to find solutions.
Now I would like to introduce Dr. Ernesto Carpintieri, President of the European Academy for Economic and Cultural Relations.

 

 

Dr. Ernesto Carpintieri

President of ENVA-AEREC

 

A particular thank you to the authorities present, toErnesto Carpintieri Prof. Dr. Liviu Al. Marghitas, the Rector of the University that is hosting this event. My particular task is to present the salutes of the European Academy for Economic and Cultural Relations I represent and that organised this International conference with the financial assistance of the European Community. Further thanks to the University La Tuscia of Viterbo and the University of Siena, a thank you to the Embassy of Italy in Romania for having patronaged this event, to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Romania, to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Supply of Bulgaria, and the Ministry for Agriculture, Food and Forestry of Italy. I also wish to thank all lecturers that came from Belgium, Italy, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Bucharest. The International level of this conference will assure an important contribution to the process of integration of the enlargement countries with particular reference to Romania with which Italy has a privileged relationship; in fact, before we discussed about the presence of 20.000 Italian companies in Romania. This is one more reason to complete the integration process in short time. And we are sure that this conference will contribute significantly to this process. I also thank the attendees that are reaching us numerously. They are all experts and their task will be to disseminate the information they will receive during this conference. Dissemination is of basic importance. I wish you a profitable seminar. 

 

 

Prof. Giuseppe Marino

University La Tuscia of Viterbo

 

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning and thank youGiuseppe Marino for coming this day for this conference. First of all I would like to thank the University Cluj-Napoca and in particular the Dean Prof. Liviu Margheritas to host us in this conference and to have the opportunity to discuss together the very important issues of the agricultural sector in the food safety. First of all I would like to bring the greetings of the Rector of the University La Tuscia of Viterbo Prof. Mancini and also of the Vice Rector Prof. Stefano Grego, who was here a couple of weeks ago in this University. The University La Tuscia has been involved in International media activities especially in the EU Mediterranean countries in particular reference to the agricultural sector and we are involved in activities such as the promotion of conferences on agriculture harmonisation. As you know in Europe and in the Mediterranean countries there is great difference in the scientific control of food safety. Therefore, for a long time, we have tried to involve the public and private sector to harmonise this difference. We also tried to stimulate Universities and private sectors to respect the rules since we will reach in 2010 the free market in the Mediterranean area and we are devoted to this program and we are involving many countries to respect these rules and to be involved in the harmonisation that this activity could reach in the agricultural sector. Of course, our game in the University is also to develop human resources and also to promote the comprehension between the different cultures and to be close to these different cultures in the European region but first of all to develop free and civil society and to give the opportunity to the students to exchange their different culture and to establish partnerships with different Universities of different countries. Of course, the importance of the University is to promote formation and International cooperation.

But Food Safety for us today is priority. For this reason, to promote any kind of cooperation, to facilitate this harmonisation in the field of food safety represents for the University of La Tuscia in cooperation with the University of Siena the first aims we want develop here. Of course, the opportunity, the cooperation with the University of Cluj-Napoca is for all a very good chance to find a new project of cooperation for the future.  For this reason, we hope that the European Union will support new projects we wish to implement together. I hope that today we will have the opportunity to exchange our opinion and stimulate any kind of new cooperation that we can develop together.

 

 

Prof. Nicola Lucifero

University of Siena

 

Nicola LuciferoLadies and gentlemen, just a few words just to say thanks to the Rector of the University of Cluj, just to say thanks to Dr. Ernesto Carpintieri of the European Academy.
Just to focus our attention on the importance of the agricultural policy and food safety. More Food security in this is a good reason to focus on this issue and to share our difference experience. The University of Siena has been working for a long time with the University of Viterbo on this subject and this is a good opportunity to find out and to share the experience with the new EU member states. I also wish to give the regards of my Rector and to say thanks to the Rector of the University of Cluj.

 

Prof. Sorin Apostu

General Manager of the City Hall of Cluj-Napoca

 

Good morning, dear guests, honourable authorities, we are honoured to host at this University this International conference and therefore as a representative of the City I am speaking for both. Cluj-Napoca now is a very dynamic city and the University of Agricultural Sciences is one of best structures that do not have competition  and to organise this event at this here, where ever else could have been organised such an important International conference!

As to the Common Agricultural Policy, the efforts without a process and without affinity do not have sense. Where the consumer is who is committed at the end to this effort, this effort cannot be listed among the priorities. But he has existed also before the integration into the EU. After the enlargement process, specialists of the Ministry, teaching units, and territorial specialists agree on Food Safety. They are all committed to the future of food industry.

Now I wish you a pleasant stay in our city and I hope you will come back with pleasure.

 

Prof. Grigore Onaciu

University of Agricultural Sciencies and Veterinary Medicine of Cluj-Napoca

 

“CAP Implementation and complementarity in the province of Cluj”

 

Grigore OnaciuThe agricultural surface of ROMANIA is of 14.711,6 thousands hectares, out of which arable 9.421,9 (64%), grasslands 3.346,9 thousands hectares (22,8%), hayfields 1.498,4 thousands hectares (10,2%), vineyards 223,3 thousands hectares (1,5%), orchards 221,1 thousands hectares (1,5%), and irrigated surface  327,3 hectares and arable  322,3 hectares. Out of the total of this surface, the county of CLUJ has a total surface - 667.440 hectares, out of which an agricultural surface of 424.381 hectares, arable- 177.793 hectares, grasslands- 162.467 hectares, hayfields- 79.612 hectares, vineyards- 340 hectares, and orchards- 4169 hectares.

 

In the county of Cluj, the total amount of households is of 128.736, an average of 3, 3 hectares/farm, its farms situation being in the following way:

  1. Under 2 hectares- 40.515 (31, 47%)
  2. 2-5 hectares    - 66.438 (51, 60%)
  3. 5-10 hectares -15.839(12, 30%)
  4. 10-20 hectares - 5.734 (4, 45%)
  5. 20-50 hectares - 128 (0, 12%)
  6. 50-100 hectares - 39 (0, 06%)
  7. Over 100 hectares - (43)        

 

Cereals: 51.962 hectares with a share of 29, 23% from the arable field

Vegetables: 2.667 hectares with a share of 1, 5% from the arable field

Oleaginous plants: 3.474 hectares with a share of 1, 96% from the arable field

Forage plants: 20.497 hectares with a share of 11, 53% from the arable field

 

Concerning the Common Agricultural Policy, the financial package negotiated by Romania with the European Union for agriculture, for the time frame 2007-2009 comprises the amount of 4.007.900.000 €, granted on its two pillars:

Pillar I: direct payments -967.900.000 € and market measures-732.000.000 €

Pillar II: rural development- 2.308.000.000 €  

                   

The Single Area Payment Scheme establishes for:

 Pillar I: direct payments for the time frame 2007-2009 of 967.900 million €, out of which 440.000 million €, for the year 2007, the eligible surface being of 8.704 million hectares. For SAPS - it rests an average of 50, 55 euro/hectares. In the county of CLUJ, the total number of applicants is 41.527, out of which: 41.200 farmers with surfaces under 50 hectares and 327 farmers with over 50 hectares.

The Direct Payments Schemes starting from the year 2007 are: The Single Area Payment Scheme (SAPS), the Compensatory National Direct Payments (PNDC), the Compensatory Direct Payments for the farmers in the areas with national handicap, in the mountain areas (LFA), the Payment Scheme for Energetic Cultivations, and The Payment Scheme for Sugar.

 

The Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions (11 GAEC) that shall apply as from the date of accession of Romania to the European Union are: 

I. Standards for avoiding the erosion of the soil:

GAEC 1. – During winter, the arable field must be covered with autumn cultivations and/ or stay unworked after cropping on at least 20 % of the total arable surface of the farm; 

GAEC 2. – Works of the soil on the arable field with a slope of more than 12 %, cultivated with     hoeing plants, are carried out along the level curves;

     GAEC 3. – The existing terraces are kept on the agricultural field, on the 1st of January 2007;

II. Standards for maintaining the optimal content of organic matter in the soil, by applying some appropriate agricultural practices:

GAEC 4. The sunflower shall not be cultivated on the same surface more than two years in a role;

GAEC 5. Burning the stubble fields and the vegetal wastes on the arable field is allowed only with the consent of the competent authority for environmental protection.

III. Standards for maintaining the structure of the soils:

GAEC 6. The soil works on the arable field with a slope of more than 12 %, cultivated with hoeing plants, are carried along the level curves; 

IV. Standards for maintaining a minimum level of maintenance of the soil:

GAEC 7. The overpasturage of the permanent meadows is not permitted;

GAEC 8. Burning the permanent meadows is allowed only with the consent of the competent authority for environmental protection;

GAEC 9. It is not permitted to cut down solitary trees and/ or groups of trees off the arable field;

GAEC 10. Preventing the growth of the unwanted vegetation on the arable fields, in particular on those that are no longer exploited for production;

V. Standards for maintaining the existing surface of permanent meadows:

     GAEC 11. Maintaining the surface of permanent meadows at a national level, existing as from the 1st of January 2007.

The good agricultural and environmental conditions are compulsory for all the users of agricultural fields that require a support within SAPS, after the date of accession. These conditions are compulsory for all the agricultural lots within the exploitation, regardless if the farmers require support for all the lots or only for a part of them.

 

For the cultivations of the Ist group of payment: cereals, oleaginous plants, protean plants, SAPS is of 50,55 euro/hectares, to which is added the complementary payment scheme, PNDC, the decoupled from production of 35 euro/ha.

For the cultivations of the IInd group of payment:

For sugar beet, SAPS is of 50, 55 €/ha, PNDC is of 103 €/ha, PNDZ is of 76 €/ha (The Payment Scheme for Sugar)

The support is granted only on condition that the farmer should conclude a production delivery contract with a sugar factory and shall be endorsed by the county agricultural departments and for rural development (DADR); and the support is granted only for the surface included in the contract.

 

For flax and hemp for fibre, SAPS is of 50, 55 €/ha, PNDC is of 41, 74 €/ha.

 

PNDC is granted for flax destined for the fibre production; PNDC is granted for hemp destined for the fibre production; yet, the farmers should have an authorization for cultivating hemp and must conclude a Purchase /Sell Agreement endorsed by DADR, with an authorized first processor, submits a payment application to the APIA local centre by the 15th of May; uses seeds that are certified from the varieties of hemp set forth in Annex 2 to the guide; the variety of hemp and the quantity of seeds used shall be specified in the payment application. In the case of the hemp for fibre, the cultivated varieties must have a content of Tetrahydrocannabinol which must be lower or equal to 0, 2 %, and the application for support shall be accompanied by the official labels for hemp according to the technology of cultivation, for at least 10 days after blooming, so as the established controls should be carried out.

 

For tobacco: SAPS is of 50 €/ha, PNDC is of 2 euro/kg within the limits of the amount of 2000 €/h.

The tobacco will be delivered within a cultivation contract registered at the department of agriculture and rural development; the delivery of the tobacco from the producer to the first processor should be accomplished within the frame of the cultivation contract that was concluded, observing the following conditions:

- the cultivation contracts that were concluded are presented in order to be registered to MAPDR by DADR, no later than 10 working day from their signature date, except for the situations of force majeure.

- the contract shall bear the endorsement of the county DADR;

- the contract shall have as annex the nominal list of the group or of the surfaces afferent to each, when the first processor concludes cultivation contracts with a group of processors;

- the groups of producers cannot practice the activity of first processing of the tobacco; 

-a tobacco processor can belong only to a sole group of processors;

 

The Payment Scheme for Energetic Cultivations: SAPS is of 50 €/ha, PNCE is of 45 €/ha (the direct payment for energetic cultivations).

The energetic cultures are cultures which are particularly destined for obtaining energetic products (biofuels). The payment consists in granting a unitary amount per surface, for the energetic cultivations (rape, sunflower, soy and corn). The support is granted for a surface whose production represents the object of a contract concluded between the farmer and the processor.

 

The Payment Scheme for Sugar: PNDC is of 76 €/ha and consists of granting an amount per surface for the cultivation of sugar beetdestined for the production of sugar and isoglucose.

 

Supporting the improvement of the animal populations

From the analysis of the genealogic registries, it results that the evaluation of bovines is of  7,5 ron/livestock unit (tender 80-120 ron/ livestock unit/year), and to ovine/caprine - 3,68 ron/livestock unit (milk- 5,18 ron/livestock unit, wool- 0,50 ron/livestock unit, skins- 1,0 ron/livestock unit, meat- 0,8 ron/livestock unit)

Containers purchase MSC – 3500 ron/item

 

MILK QUOTA

With an amount of 1.741.551 livestock units, Romania produces 3.025.000 tons of milk, out of which 1.093.000 tons are processed – 36%, direct sale- 1.964.000 tons – 64%. The number of milk cows for accomplishing the quota is of 826.216 livestock units – 47% and the number of milk cows for producing milk for own consumption and animals is of  915.335 livestock units – 53%.

 

Department of milk quotas in the Cluj County

- QUOTA APPLICANTS - 168.338 applications

- BENEFICIARIES -DECISIONS     - 157.801 applications:

      1. CLUJ                         - 31.394 applications / 29.200 decisions
      2. BIHOR                       - 32.074 applications/ 30.864 decisions
      3. SATU-MARE            - 24.426 applications/ 22.331 decisions
      4. MARAMURES          - 33.913 applications/ 31.405 decisions
      5. BISTRITA-Neamt      - 28.460 applications/ 27.221 decisions
      6. SALAJ                       - 18.071 applications/ 16.681 decisions

 

THE NATIONAL PROGRAM FOR RURAL DEVELOPMENT (NPRD) 2007-2013

 

 A document on the basis of which the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) will be accessed, which represents a financing instrument set up by the European Union for supporting the Member States in implementing the Common Agricultural Policy and observes the strategic guiding lines of rural development of the European Union.

 

Axis and measures for the national program for rural development 2007 – 2013

AXIS 1

Improving the Competitiveness of the agricultural and forestry sector

Measure 111 Vocational training, information and knowledge dissemination 

Measure 112  Installation of young farmers

Measure 121 Modernization of agricultural exploitations

Measure 122 Improving the economic value of forests

Measure 123Increasing the added value of agricultural and forestry products

Measure 125 Improving and developing the infrastructure for the development and adaptation of agriculture and forestry sectors

Measure 141 Support for semi-subsistence farms

Measure 142 Setting up groups of producers

Measure 143  Providing advice and consulting services to farmers

AXA 2

Improving the environment and the landscape

Measure 211   Support for the less favoured areas

Measure 212Support for the less favoured areas others than the mountains area

Measure 214   Agro-Environment Payments

Measure 221   First afforestation of the agricultural fields

AXA 3

Improving the quality of life in rural areas and encouraging the diversification of rural economy

Measure 312 Support for diversifying towards non-agricultural activities and the setting up and development of micro-enterprises

Measure 313   Encouraging activities in the field of tourism

Measure 322Restoration and development of villages

Measure 121
Modernization of agricultural exploitations

Beneficiaries: Natural authorized persons, family associations and legal persons that function in the field of agriculture

Types of investments: Buildings, infrastructure, greenhouses, thermal stations, irrigation plants, new machines and equipment, specialized transportation means, setting up nursery gardens of vines and fruit trees, investments for producing and using renewable energy, setting up viticultural plantations, setting up fruit-growing plantations, general costs of the project

Volume of the Support:   Between 50% - 75%

Financing:  - the maximum threshold of the non-reimbursable public support 1.000.000 EURO and of 1.500.000 EURO for projects of investments for obtaining renewable energy.

Measure 123
Increasing the added value of the agricultural and forestry products

Beneficiaries:  Natural authorized persons or legal persons registered as micro-enterprises, SMEs, and other enterprises

Types of investments: 

  1.  buildings, infrastructure,  utilities and connection junctions,  new equipment, laboratories, specialized means of transportation, fields
  2.  implementing the management systems of quality and of food safety 
  3. technologies (know-how)
  4.  patents and licenses for preparing the implementation of the project 
  5. general costs of the project
  6.  software purchase

Volume of the Support:

            - Between 25% - 50%

            - maximum threshold of 750.000 EURO – micro-enterprises

            - maximum threshold of 2.000.000 EURO

 

Measure 322
Restoration, development of villages, improvement of the basic services for the economy and the rural population and the capitalization of the rural heritage. 

Beneficiaries:  Local councils and associations of the local councils    a-d and NGOs: c-d, natural and legal persons, cultural and cult institutions: c

Types of investments:

a. rural infrastructure :

b. Areas of public interest

c. protecting the national patrimony

d. Basic services

Intensity of the support:

   - maximum 70% in the case of investments which generate profit

    - maximum 100% in the case of investments which do not generate profit

The maximum threshold: between 500.000 EURO – 6.000.000 EURO/project

 

 

Hon. Milena Vicenova

Director of the Department for EU structural funds negotiations, Ministry of the Regional Development of the Czech Republic, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the EU Commission in Brussels

 

“Food Safety in the Czech Republic – the Experience of a New Member Country”

 

IwMilena Vicenovaish to thank the Rector of the University of Bulgaria for this chance; I would like to thank the President of the European Academy that I have the chance to give you a small part of the experience of the Czech Republic being a new member country. I think in many aspects we have similar position and we share very similar experience. My speech will be a short presentation that will focus on the EU common market very quickly. Then I will come back to the Czech Republic, I will compare the Czech Republic with Romania and then I will try to explain to you how we cope with the difficulties of food safety. Let’s start with the track slide which shows Europe. Europe is growing bigger and bigger and we can see that since the 1st May 2004 our population grew from 380 million towards 450 million consumers. With the enlargement of 1st January 2007, which means with Romania and Bulgaria, we have already 480 million of consumers. We have a common market and we are doing our best to persuade the consumers that our food is good, tasted and safe.

We can consider many difficult periods of the European Union prior to 2004 and I can speak of the BSE crisis that destroyed the possibility of export of British beef to Europe. I can speak of the dioxin crisis that persuaded us that Food Safety is very important. The feedstuffs market is also a very important aspect of the Food Safety. The crisis in the main feedstuffs raw material gave the reason to establish the European Food Safety Authority, which is an extremely important institution. I will come back to this Institution later on in my presentation. We have also the issue that almost all countries import products that might be of interest for humans or animal health. These products enter the territory of the European Union for 480 million consumers. As Institutions and Institutes, EFSA and Rapid Alert System are very important.

There are 400 basic requirements for the success on the common market, if we want to produce and sell the products on the common market. The products must be of high quality, excellent products but also we must fulfil the national and EU legislation that means the Food Law and the registration of proper labelling and package and we must care about the consumers’ trust, which is even more difficult on the European market. And I should be frank; sometimes we forget how important it is to have the consumers´ trust that we constantly have to persuade the consumers that the products are excellent and safe. This information must have clear scientific basis. But for the consumer is not always easy to understand it, therefore we must send the information that is both scientific and easy to understand. We should keep in mind that people trust scientists. It is extremely difficult to gain their trust, you have to work every day to gain the consumers’ trust, and we can lose it in one second.

I will briefly mention the EU food law: it is the Council Regulation 178/2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law that includes for the first time also the feedstuffs hygiene. Another important aspect is the fact that this regulation that establishes also the European Food Safety Authority, as well as the Rapid Alarm System for Food and Feed (RASFF).

This regulation pays also a great attention on the risk management independent on the risk assessment – which allows the scientifically based evaluation of food safety. I don’t want to give more details but I refer also to the so-called Hygiene Package – the set of legislation for the controls in this area.

Now I would like to explain how the Czech Republic coped with the food safety issues before the enlargement. In the year 2003 and at the beginning of the year 2004, the Czech Republic had the very difficult task of ensuring, after its past experience, the implementation of all the regulations in force in our slaughter houses, in our processing parts, in our dairies and in our poultry slaughter houses. From the beginning of 2004, some of those processing parts had to close. During our negotiations, we had 51 establishments that were in the so called transition period and they had to fulfil all the requirements within 2006 or to close. Now there is zero of closing of enterprises as they fulfil the requirements. We have other enterprises that according to the regulation that can only operate on the internal market of the Czech Republic, and they can’t sell their products in other European countries. Today we also have 820 enterprises in the transitional arrangements (2076/2005 regulation) that may operate on the internal market of the Czech Republic only. They can’t sell their products (marked with round rubber stamp) to other European countries. Out of the total 820 plants there are 126 slaughter houses, 224 cutting meat plants, 9 red meat freezing enterprises, 17 poultry slaughter houses, which have to improve hygiene standards by the year 2009, and otherwise they have to stop by the year 2009. Now they can operate only on the internal market of the Czech Republic. Now let me come to explain our experience with the European Union. It has not always been easy to persuade the European Commission about our difficulties to meet the food requirements but I believe that we will manage this difficult task.

Now let me come to present how the situation in the Czech Republic is and since we are not neighbour countries and I would like to compare the basic data of all countries. The Czech Republic is much smaller than Bulgaria is; it is one third of the total area and one half of inhabitants. The density of inhabitants is 131 inhabitants per square kilometres, in Romania it is 91 and I would like now to compare the figures that show now the imports of agriculture.

 

The Czech Republic has never been a typical agricultural country as we are more an industrial country, but agriculture of course is very important as a source of food stuffs.  The share of agriculture on the GDP is lower compared to the one of Romania and the share of total employment is still much lower than the one in Romania.  Here you can see the import of agriculture from Romania. I fully understand the forecast on the private production and I fully understand the financial questions and the importance to use human resources but I am sure that in a very short period we will be able to set our products on the Common Market.

Let’s continue with the main export partners. The Czech Republic changed their export partners after the enlargement. It has an essential change in the percentage of share of our export partners in the EU countries which was not the case before. Of course our main export partners are our neighbours, that means Slovakia, with which we have exchanged for so many years, so that is our partner no. one, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Austria.

Our main import partners are Germany, Slovakia, Poland, Austria, Hungary and most of the EU countries.

As to the structure of our processing industry, we are a traditional producer of sugar, sweets and bakery that is almost one quarter of our production. Meat is also very important; we are important consumers of pork and poultry. We have also a culture of the production of beverages, beers, Pils beer and Budweiser beer that have a large tradition over Europe. We also process fish and other products like fruits and vegetables the shares of which are much smaller in comparison to your country.

And now I would like to show you which is the organisation of controls that means food safety management in the Czech Republic. I will present you the basic institutions that control the fulfilment of Hygiene Standards for food in the Czech Republic. There are two institutions that are responsible for the certificate, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Impact on Health which is the Ministry of Health. I had worked at the Ministry of Agriculture for several years, and it is an honour for me to represent the Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic. This Ministry is responsible for agriculture, water management, forestry, food industry and fisheries which is a very small sector. We have a food authority that is a part of the Ministry of Agriculture and there are three departments: one is responsible for food safety, which means that it deals with risk assessment and risk communication; the other department is connected with food production and legislation and the third department is responsible for the communication of our control institutions.

Now I come to the control institutions. The first is the Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority. This control institution is very important and is responsible for all products of non animal origin, that means no meat and no milk, but all other products that are of other origin than of animal origin. This institution controls all the producers and it controls the shops that deal those products. It does not only control food safety, but also proper labelling and documentation of the products, it controls quality and detects deceptive practices of the enterprises. It also controls the conditions during the production, transport and sale.

The other very important institution is the Central Institute for Supervising and Testing in Agriculture. It is a specialised body of the state administration established by the Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic and it is specialised in controlling feed stuffs which is an extremely important part and I remind you that food safety depends on the entire chain of food production: really from stable to table, and feeding is a very important part. It also controls the quality of wine.

Now we come to the third extremely important institution: it is the State Veterinary Administration. It has a very important role in controlling the food hygiene of all products of animal origin and they have an important role in the disease control, which is another part. They are committed to animal health, animal welfare and veterinary protection. I am only speaking about food safety control: they control the producers, the farmers, the cutting plants, the slaughterhouses and they control the entire production chain in the area of animal products.

The last part is the State Phytosanitary Administration. We can imagine that the protection of plants against harm insects or even organisms harmful for the whole food chain is very important. This department takes measures to survey systematically the territory, to carry out phytosanitary inspections, to diagnose diseases and pests of plants and plants products. It registers pesticides and other plant protection products.

So I presented you all four main Institutions that control the Food Safety.

It is absolutely necessary to have a very good communication across these four Institutions, the Ministry of Agriculture and with the farmers and producers. I have to say that in the Czech Republic we have this in many fields. In our country we have 35 per cent of cooperatives, 30 per percent of legal entities and 35 percent of typical family farms. The cooperatives take 2000 hectares, the average area of juridical persons is of 3-4000 hectares and a typical family farm has 100-200 hectares. So there are great differences and we must concentrate on the control.

I want to explain to you how the control is organised.

The control is organised by the Ministry and there is another very difficult issue, which is coordination as to food safety. I spoke before about four Control Institutions, but there are also the Ministry of Agriculture, of course the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Trade and the one of Transport, the Ministry of Interior because if there is a quick crisis, it must interfere immediately.

We have also the State Office for Nuclear Safety, the Ministry of Justice and of Defence. Therefore all those institutions must share information on food safety and food control what is extremely important.

When I speak about food safety, I always say communication, communication and communication.

But we must also speak with the scientists because they know what is the priority to safe public health, because people trust the scientists, they do not trust the politicians. We must be on the side of the people and we must answer their questions. We have our scientific committees, we have five of them. And the experts of them try to discuss the issues of great importance. We have a veterinary scientific committee, a committee for animal nutrition, a committee for phytosanitary and environment, and we must control food and feed and that means also medicals and health protection.

Very briefly, we have veterinarians that meet and discuss the difficult questions, for instance the phthalates in the animal products, findings in slaughterhouses and they show their experience and they will find a common position.

The same is done by the scientific committee on phytosanitary and environment. You can see, they deal, for instance, with risk analysis; they also deal with the possibility of terrorist attacks on the food chain; they control allergens in cereals.

I wish to present you some examples of the work of the Scientific Committee on Animal Nutrition. There are natural toxins in animal nutrition and infection diseases of animals. I can refer to genetically modified food and feed, in which cases the committee discusses the application of other countries of other products that are to be placed on the European Market. I have to add that the Czech Republic is more tolerant towards genetically modified food and feed.

The Scientific Committee on Food discusses, for instance, alimentary diseases or food supplements or they discuss the very difficult case of Enterobacter sakazzakii in infant dairy soft food.

So I have presented you very briefly the role of 5 scientific committees. They try to find scientific evidence for food safety or products. But to find evidence is not sufficient. You must discuss it and explain it to the consumers. You must also have the risk communication and you must involve all parts of the society, not only State Institutions, but also the people that would like to buy the products, to persuade housewives, to persuade non governmental organisations, that’s why we established the so-called food safety information centre. It is operated by an institute that is responsible to provide agricultural and food information. We have published web pages where everybody can find information. We also have a special hot-line, and the consumer can call if he has certain troubles. We organised seminars, lectures and we publish and print leaflets, we publish news and information on food safety and control committees.  You kind find all important information. If you call the “Infopult”, your questions will be answered at once or if they are too difficult within three days. They try to find consultation of the Scientific Committees and if you are a consumer, if you are suspicious, they will give you an answer within three days.

There is a web page in English version and I perceive that these pages are very popular and used by our consumers. We also tried to discover what the consumer really thinks. The result of the public opinion pool, and the result of what the European consumer thinks, is that food safety is really unsure. 47 per cent of consumers find that food safety measures are appropriate, which a good result is. We see the result in the Czech Republic: they are more or less satisfied with the food safety information and control. And our public opinion poll discovered that the Czech consumers trust Czech products quite well, they like to bye Czech products and they prefer these products.

They main source of information is television, daily press and magazines, friends and radio.

They know how we try to control food safety, how we try to assess the risky food products, how we coordinate the difficult task.

 

I wish Romania good luck and good success in processing products of high quality, of excellent quality, and good success on the Common EU market. Thank you.

 

 

Dr. Maya Makaveeva

Head of Safety and Control of Raw Materials and Food of Animal Origin, Ministry of Agriculture and Food Supply, Bulgaria

 

“Food Safety in Bulgaria”

 

Good morning to the authorities and to all participants.

My presentation will treat food safety in Bulgaria and food and feed control issues.

On this first slide you can see the global approach toward food safety . The basic principles in the food safety policy are the traceability of products at all stages of the food chain and the detailed approach for the control of the whole food chain. There must be a clear definition of the role of all units of the food chain, such as producers, traders, carters, farmers, food business operators, workers and relevant associations.

It is important to assure the traceability of feed, feed components, raw materials,  food stuffs and their ingredients.

Therefore there is the importance of plant and animal welfare controls related to the pharmacy, the biological and environmental requirements, risk assessment and know-how. But  the basic principle is that the producers are responsible for the product safety and they have now more freedom to control the processes.

However in Bulgaria, there is risk analysis, risk assessment, organisation for prevention and risk communication, applying preventive measures for the prevention of risk deriving from contamination.

In Bulgaria, the official controls are the veterinary controls, that control products of animal origin, the protection of public health and the control of products of non animal origin, grain and feed. The consumer is to received by the competent authority for information on safety of food stuff. The National Council on Food Safety has been established within the Council of Ministers to coordinate the State policy with respect to food safety and to carry out the risk management.  This Council is directed by one deputy minister of agriculture, one minister of economics, the President of the Bulgarian association of food and drink industry ( This association represents the old association of food and drink), and one representative of the consumers’ protection association. These are the members of the National Food Safety Council. The Council is chaired by the Deputy Minister of Health and by the deputy minister of agriculture in charge for six months each. The next Council is for coordination and control. It is established under the National Food Safety Council to ensure the efficient and effective coordination and operation to perform official controls. The Council for coordination and control is chaired by the National Food Safety and the members  are the Chief State Health inspector under the Ministry of Health, the Chief State Veterinary Sanitary inspector under the Ministry of Agriculture, the Director of the General and National plant protection service under  the Ministry of Agriculture, the Director General of the National Grain and Feed Service of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Director of the Consumer Agency  and the Director of the National water Policy. The basic function of this important coordination and control council is to control and coordinate that the regulations, at all manufacturing stages, enter into force including the regional direct line. You can see, the Regional Control Authority which this Control Council manages, includes the joined  inspection on regional level of the plant protection, animal and non animal products with the regional veterinary services. This council exchanges information on control independently of the policy of the State Health Control and State Veterinary Sanitary .

The Export Council is for risk assessment. It is established by the Ministry of Health and this Council is responsible for the function related to risk assessment. The export council is basically a scientific committee and panels of working groups. The representatives of the export council take part in an advisory forum of the European Food Safety Authority.

The main activities of all these councils are the training, prevention, quality control as a result of the Food Safety System, rapid risk assessment, traceability system of animal products.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Supply and of Health are responsible of the Food Safety control system. The Ministry of Health has on National level 28 regional inspectors, they are responsible for the protection and control of  public health and of non animal products. But the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Supply has the Food Safety Directorate which coordinates the National Veterinary Service, the National Service for Plant Protection and Feed Control. The safety control of the Feed Directorate is established under the Council of Ministers.  Their main responsibility is to develop the food safety strategy in Bulgaria, coordination and control of the competent authority within the Ministry, training of the Control Authority within the Ministry, preparation of national policy, collection and coordination of the information between both the Ministries.

In our Directorate there are four departments: the department which is responsible for products of animal origin (this is my department), the department for feed, the department for GMO and Control Units. The Experts of the Safety and Control of Food and Feed Directorate within MAFS are conducting audits and verifications of the official control authorities in accordance with the Regulation 882/2004/EC and Commission Decision 677 regarding the Statutory Regulations of MAFS and SCFFD that are responsible for the performance of internal and external audits with the purpose to verify the National Veterinary Service and the NGFS control activities in the area of food and feed safety.

As to our legislation, we have the Framework legislation, the special legislations and the ordinances: as you can see, we have the law on food, veterinary activities, feed law, law on plant protection, law on genetically modified organisms and ordinances. The European Regulations and Decisions are directly applicable in Bulgaria. The Directives are harmonised in ordinances.

Now, I explain you the system of the National Veterinary Service. This service is responsible for the official control of animal health, we have 27 regional services, subdivisions with official veterinarians and inspectors. The veterinary public health directorate manages, organises and coordinates veterinary public health. When it is necessary, it performs independent or joint inspections in the field of safety of food of animal origin and  verification of the establishments of production or trading of products of animal origin. The total number of the staff of the Veterinary Public Health is 711 . This is an expert staff. The total number of the official veterinarians in Veterinary Public Health is 650.

The inspections of the establishments regard firstly the implementation of the HACCP system, the second is the traceability system available which includes accepting of animals for slaughtering and or incoming raw materials and food ready to eat. Then, if the requirements of health and identification marks the national and EU market are satisfied.

Forth, separate storage, marketing and traceability of raw materials and food imported from third countries which are not approved to be imported to the EU. Last, if the requirements of the strategy for upgrading the quality of raw cow milk and separately purchasing and processing of compliant and non compliant milk are satisfied.

The Directors of the Regional Veterinary Service authorise the official veterinarians for auditing of HACCP system. The official veterinarians assigned by an order have completed different trainings for auditing of HACCP system at regional and national level and most of these trainings are under joint projects under Phare or with other member states. The frequency of these audits per establishment are from 1 to 5 per year. Within January of this year there have been 518 audits.

There is a National register of establishments developed in accordance to the modes of the registers of the member states and it is presented on the web site of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Supply of Bulgaria.

The Ministry has developed and published a guidance for inspection and questionnaires for performing inspections of enterprises and audits of the HACCP system.

The National Veterinary Service has developed instructions for the veterinary inspections.

As to the coordination between the intergovernmental and control bodies, the MAFS in Bulgaria works together with all stakeholders involved in food safety: the National Veterinary Service, the Ministry of Health, MEE, NGFS, NPPS, consumers, etc. In particular, they coordinate, discuss, suggest, they take the decisions on the problematic complaints and signals.

The last point, as to the implementation of the Food Safety Policy: we implemented projects under the Phare program of the European Union “Strengthening Food Safety Policy” and “Transposition and implementation of the environmental Acquis on GMOs at national level”, and the food safety training coordination and support centre (Dutch-Bulgarian project) were very helpful and useful.

Thank you.

 

 

Prof. Maria Pia Ragionieri

University La Tuscia of Viterbo and Jean Monnet Excellence Centre (Italy)

 

“Hygiene of the Food Products"

 

There are three Regulations, n. 852, n. 853 and n. 854/2004 belonging to European Community legislation on the subject of food product hygiene.

These represent the group of legal acts, proposed by the European Commission, which deal with the hygienic requirements of food products. These bring about a systematic approach to hygiene during food production, as a fundamental aspect of their safety.

The first Regulation, n. 852/2004, deals with food hygiene, the second, n. 853/2004 is especially about food of animal origin whilst the third, n. 854, regards the organisation of official controls concerning products of animal origin intended for human consumption. In addition to these is Regulation n. 183/2005 regarding fodder hygiene.

Let’s focus on Regulation n. 852/2004 due to the fact that it is of general importance and because it is applied to products of vegetable origin, given Egypt’s particular interest in the exportation of fruit and vegetables to Europe. This Regulation annuls and substitutes Directive n. 43 issued in 1993.

The Directive issued in order to guarantee the wholesomeness of products foresaw the implementation of hygiene regulations throughout all phases of preparation, transformation, processing, packaging, storage, transport, distribution, handling and sales or the supply to the final consumer; and it also foresaw the need for hygiene regulations to be based on analyses, control and risk evaluation by means of the Haccp system (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points).

 

The new Regulation n. 852 contains two important developments.

The first deals with the type of legal act adopted or rather the adoption of a “regulation” instead of a directive, that is the adoption of a legal act which can be directly implemented throughout all State Members and therefore it can guarantee a uniform implementation throughout the entire European Union territory. The State Members only have the duty of anticipating sanctions should community regulations be violated.

The second innovation concerns the extension of the field of application regarding the discipline of food product hygiene, also including the so-called “primary sector”; whilst with the Directive the expected measures included only the phases following the primary application.

As for primary production, according to the definition given in Art. 3 of  Regulation n.178/2002 (on food safety) one refers to “the phases of production, farming, the cultivation of primary products, including harvesting, milking and zootechnical production prior to butchery, including hunting, fishing and the harvesting of wild products”.

Rules which are applied to primary production are contained in enclosure I, part A, point 1 of Regulation n. 852.

The following items concerning the field of primary production are covered:

- Associated operations, or rather: the transport, storage and handling of primary products on the production site, on the condition that this does not significantly alter their aspect;

- The transport of live animals, where necessary in order to carry out the objectives stated in the Regulation;

- As regards vegetable products and those coming from fishing and hunting activities: the transport operations for the delivery of primary products, the aspect of which has not yet been significantly modified.

Therefore by concentrating on products of a vegetable origin, these become part of the primary production: the production and the cultivation of cereals, fruit, market-garden produce, herbs and fungi; the harvesting of wild products such as fungi and berries, their transport, storage and handling without substantial alteration of their nature, within the Commercial farm and their subsequent transport to a factory.

We have highlighted that within the primary production sector; the primary products may be transported, stored and handled on the condition that these procedures do not substantially alter their aspect (Enc. I, part. A, point I.1.a). Under this profile the operations intended to improve product presentation such as the washing and defoliation of fruit and vegetables, the selection of fruit, the desiccation of cereals are all considered to be normal operations which do not require the observation of food safety regulations apart from those regarding primary production.

In primary production, according to Enclosure I (in particular point 5 deals with vegetable products), the main hygiene risks are caused by air, soil, water, fodder, fertiliser, phytosanitary product and pesticide contaminations, by the lack of hygiene within the industrial plants or transport containers, by contact with animals or insects or due to the use of contaminated water, by the non-observation of sanitary regulations on behalf of the staff or problems caused by bad management of refuse on behalf of the company itself, etc.

As regards the implementation of hygienic regulations, correct operative practice manuals are used. These are practical guides, tools of a voluntary aspect.

The manuals have been elaborated by the food industry in collaboration with the consumer’s association, taking into account the relative Codex Alimentarius guidelines (Food Safety Commission) or carried out under the guidance of one of the national standardisation authorities (in Italy there is UNI).

The evaluation of the suitability of the manuals is the duty of the Member States which once they have considered them to be appropriate, they send them to the European Commission which registers them and subsequently puts them at the disposal of the other States.

Such manuals indicate: the field of application, definitions and instructions; they take into consideration the premises (the description of the structures, pest control procedures and maintenance etc.); the equipment and the instruments (cleansing and maintenance procedures); the production phase (the entire productive and distribution cycles); the staff (personal hygiene and training); guidelines for the drafting of process control system plans (group structure, descriptions of process phases, identification of danger); risk analysis as well as the identification of critical points, corrective actions and inspection procedures. So, in Italy, we have the manual regarding the fruit and vegetable-citrus fruit sector and for the processing and packaging centres of fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables, etc.

Regulation n. 852 foresees that manuals may also be elaborated at a community level, the validity of which is pronounced by the permanent food chain and animal health Committee, which is an auxiliary body belonging to EFSA – the European Authority for Food Safety, Art. 58 Regulation n. 178/02.

The Committee, upon invitation by the European Commission periodically checks the validity of the manuals in the light of technological and scientific developments.

In enclosure 1, part B of Regulation n. 852 indications are given regarding information that the manuals must contain dealing with possible hazards caused during primary production, actions associated with these and activities to be carried out in order to control such hazards (e.g. control of microtoxin contamination, the correct usage of water, etc.).

Operations deriving or not from primary production, the transformation of products within the commercial farm (such as fruit juice extraction) are not included amongst primary production activities and so as regards these, hygiene regulations as of Enc. II of the Regulation are implemented and, as concerns food products deriving from animal origins, also the legislation contained in Regulation n. 853/2004 is applied.

Other operations, even if they are carried out in the commercial farm, may alter the products and/or cause new risks for the food product, such as the peeling of potatoes, the slicing of carrots, the packaging of salads as well as the addition of preserving gases. Such operations cannot be considered normal operations at a primary production level, according to the indications given by the Guidance Document on the implementation of Regulation n. 852 regarding the European Commission Department of Health and Consumer Protection (21st December 2005).

The operations of peeling, cutting, cleaning and packaging in plastic containers or closed bags of fresh and raw fruit and vegetable products intended for the final consumer are closely linked to the primary production sector, due to the fact that the product is not transformed, but is characterised by such, and these operations are carried out by the food industries, which are part of the “food enterprises” according to Regulations n. 852 and n.178/2002. To these operations the rules of hygiene contained in Enc. II of the Regulation are applied. In such cases the contaminating sources may refer to microbial agents, fungi, etc.

 

Both in primary production and in subsequent activities, so as to apply the community legislation on the theme of hygiene, it is sufficient to carry out one of the phases of the foreseen activities in order to be considered a food-producing enterprise.

The food enterprise is defined by Art. 3, n. 2 of Regulation n. 178/02 as any public or private entity, profit-making or not, which carried out any activity whatsoever connected to one of the phases of production, transformation and distribution of food products.

From the reading of such legislation, one evinces that it must be an enterprise, a concept which implies a certain continuity of the activities and a certain degree of organisation, and so for this reason, as of the consideration 9) of the Regulation, private individuals who occasionally handle, prepare, preserve and distribute food products within the food-producing enterprises are excluded.

Within the food-producing enterprise, the control functions are carried out by the food sector operator which is the individual or legal entity responsible for guaranteeing the respect of such legislation.

Both the farm managers and those involved in phases not linked with the primary activity itself must therefore carry out the risk evaluation and control. Hygiene rules must be both respected and applied to the entire food chain in order to guarantee the safety of food but it occurs, as already mentioned, in a different way as regards the primary activities with respects to those which are carried out subsequently.

In fact, Art. 5 of Reg. n. 52 exonerates the commercial farms and all the primary production from the compulsory implementation of the Haccp system (the process control system based on the risk evaluation and analysis). Therefore the operators involved in the primary phase must imperatively apply only the rules mentioned in Enc. I of the Regulation, part A) n. 1. 

As for the operators, it is compulsory for them to keep a  register of the measures taken in order to limit the food risks and to put all information contained in these at the disposal of the other operators and competent authorities; they also have the duty to notify the plants which they are in charge of.

 

In short, hygiene regulations must be implemented by “all operators belonging to the food sector”. Those which carry out primary production activities and production phases associated with these, must respect the hygiene regulations contained in Enc. I of the Regulation. They are exonerated from attaining to the Haccp system or rather from:

a) identifying any phase within the field of their activities whatsoever

     which may result as being critical for food safety;

b) adopting and decision-making relating to “critical points identified”;

c) adopting and measure taking regarding the control and surveillance of such

    critical points;

d) periodically re-examining the analysis of food risks).

 

Finally, we must highlight that the rigour of the hygiene regulations which we have illustrated, is weakened by the presence of instructions in the text using terms such as “wherever necessary”, “wherever it is considered to be opportune” or “sufficient”. Therefore, as of Art. 4, the food sector operators adopt specific hygienic measures only  if necessary such as those relating to the respect of microbiological criteria, sampling and analysis as well as that regarding the requirements stated by the control of food temperature, etc.

This means that it is the duty of the food sector operator to establish whether a regulation is necessary or adequate or sufficient in order to achieve the objectives mentioned in the Regulation and in doing so he must take into account the aspect of the food product and he must justify the choice made. Such justification must result from the documentation which each operator must prepare.

In this evaluation, it is actually the manuals illustrating the correct operative procedure which are of fundamental importance so as to indicate which is the best procedure for the operator to carry out in order to avoid risks at a production level and, at the same time, respecting Haccp principles.

 

Hygiene regulations are also applied, as is common knowledge, to products coming from Third-party countries which are destined for the European market. As regards these, the possibility that they have been obtained according to the equivalent hygienic regulations is accepted (Art. 10 of Regulation n. 852 which refers to Art. 11 of Regulation n. 178/02 ). Letter e) of Art. 2 of the Regulation states that for “equivalent” and with reference to different systems this must mean “capable of achieving the same objectives set by the Regulation”.

Art. 10 of Regulation n. 852 must be read interrelated with Art. 11 of Regulation n. 178/02 according to which only the products which result as being in conformity with community provisions can be launched onto the European market. In case of other provisions being applied then these should however guarantee characteristics which are “at least equivalent” to those stated by the community discipline, recognised as such by the European Community, or that  result as being the fruit of a specific agreement between the Community and the exporting Country. In this latter case the actual possibility of derogation from community standards cannot however be arranged.

The food operators’ responsibility is disciplined by Art. 19, Regulation n. 178/02.

 

We wish to conclude with a summary of the normative references on the subject of hygiene, taking into account all that is expressly contained in the Department of Health and Consumer Protection’s Document-guide of the Commission dated 5.1.06 on “Fundamental questions relating to importation requirements and new food hygiene rules and controls”.

With specific reference to products of vegetable origins, the hygienic requirements requested are mentioned in Arts. 3-6 of Regulation n. 852/04.

Third-party Country Operators must respect:

a) a general obligation of guaranteeing that all food production, transformation and usage phases under their control satisfies the prescribed hygiene requirements as of Art 3;

b) requirements foreseen in part a), Enc. I of the Regulation as of Art. 4, p. 1, during primary production and associated operations,

c) requirements for phases subsequent to primary activities foreseen by Enc. II of the Regulation, as of Art. 4, p. 2;

d) microbiological requirements for certain products as of Art. 4, p. 3 (Reg. 2073/2005);

e) procedures based on Haccp principles as of Art. 5;

f) the duty of notifying the industrial plants which they are in charge of.

Apart from requirements which have already been described, products of a vegetable origin must also respect phytosanitary requirements.

 

With reference to importation procedures, it is the importer’s duty to ensure conformity with the requirements stated by the regulations as well as recognised equivalent Community conditions.

Food products of a vegetable origin can be subject to controls carried out by the competent authority as in Art. 15, § 1, Regulation n. 882/04. Such controls must be carried out in conformity with the national laws of the different Member States. This may take place upon entry, free practice (or rather upon free circulation), upon reception of importation permits, at the retail market, etc.

Regulation n. 183/05 completes the system, ordering primary fodder production operators to respect the regulations of Enc. 1 of the Regulation and all the other operators of the sector to respect the Haccp procedure.

 

 

 

 

Nicola Lucifero

University of Siena (Italy)

 

Consumer’s protection in the food safety system. Consumption of food stuffs in the enlargement countries in relation to the community acquis

 

In the context of the economic development, the consumer’s figure reveals itself as an expressive synthesis that is useful to represent not only the abstract part of a contractual relationship around which turns the demand and that has as an opposing party that one that provides goods or services, yet it has the benefit of expressing a body of interests that conditions the legislative iter accompanying the building of a unique European market.

If in addition to that, one assumes that the food law takes shape as a body of legal rules of national origin, as well as communitarian and international, having the aim of protecting the food stuffs consumer and one becomes aware that the entire legal system related to the food safety was born, it was based and it was developed on the general principle of the consumer’s protection and of his health’s protection, it is possible to understand the utility of focusing on the reasons that represent the basis of the speciality of food stuffs consumer notion within the area of the general phenomenon of consumer’s  protection.

In fact, in the light of a general scenario that was developed on the argument of the constant reference to the “weak” contractor of the trade,  in the capacity of agent in relation to a contract having aims that do not fit into the business activity or in the professional activity, in the communitarian background,  a normative process that led or is leading to the definition of legal rules of “protection” was developed and it influences the qualifying moment of the final markets structure by means of the consumption act discipline. At a general level, it is possible to highlight by means of normative interventions, as well as by legal judgments, a constant reference to the body of the interests that are legally relevant afferent to the consumer’ area that influences a lot the market rules, as well as the contractual rules. However, it is necessary to underline that on the legal definition of the notion of consumer, the interpreters usually bring back the theoretical justification of a legal system that is moreover an expression of the weak contractor, where the so-called weakness of the consumer is to be found under the contractual profile in which any person can find itself concerning certain aspects and in respect to certain opposing parties. In other terms, the definition of the consumer is mainly determined with regard to the contractual moment, meaning its qualification, it is useful to underline, is subjectively oriented, meaning that it does not correspond to the structural characteristics of the person, yet it is originated in his position in the dynamic of the parties of the legal relationship (professional and consumer), which reveals the deserving interests of protection in the game of values.

In the light of an approach to the discipline of consumer’s protection out of which it comes out a complex and fluent normative background that is a synthesis of a plurality of normative sources, as well as the different centres of interests that are legally relevant, public or private, individual or collective, it is useful to highlight the peculiarity of the norms intended for the food consumer’s protection since the fulcrum around it grew bigger and the entire normative system of food safety developed. Under a different aspect, if one is aware of the food stuffs to which the food safety law refers and the guiding lines relate to this latter that defines the terms of the consumer’s protection (with regard to the informing process, to advertising, to the safety of the product), then we have to highlight the importance of the goods (the food) within the definition of the legal profiles that determine the consumer’s protection within the system of food safety.

By saying that, we do not wish to anticipate a profile of the argument, but rather to opportunely highlight the direction of the survey that seems to have to move in this subject from the product to the subject within the delimitation of the interests at stake, and of the obligations of the private and public entities. In fact, finding out that the common factor that determines that stimulus of the process that led in our organisation to the explicit acknowledgment of the consumer’s rights and of the user at their direct protection is represented by the activity carried out by the communitarian institutions by means of a constant assessment of the consumer within the background of the market and regarding the trade, thus defining a particular connection which ties consumer-contract-market, with regard to food law seems to have to be highlighted that the subject reflects a protection discipline, that, as one can see, operates in a direct way with respect to the goods, meaning the food stuffs, being the centre of interests that is legally relevant. One adopts, in this way, the utility to confront, not only the notion of tout court consumer generally extended to any trade with that restriction to food stuffs consumption, but equally, especially this last perspective of relevance of the notion of “person” and not of individual-consumer, in the market in the definition of the interests themselves. If it is like this, a correct approach of the matter leads to widen the optic of the same interests involved and, moreover, to confront indices that cannot appear to be comparable, nor leading to the common denominator of the legal dimension of the persons, essentially assessable according to the category of being, the identified criteria of the market, measurable, instead, in the logic of the subject- agent, of the res, and in general of having.

 

The reconstruction of the consumer’s protection in the light of the communitarian normative evolution

Without being able to retrace every stage of the itinerary that led to the centrality of the consumers’ politics in the European background, it is useful to highlight the stages that are mainly relevant distinguishing an iter by no means finished.

The Treaty of Rome, as it is known, does not mention the consumer; this finds confirmation in the fact that the first stage of the communitarian discipline was more focused on the building of a unique European market for facilitating the trade between the Member States without weighing too much with its own rules on the internal normative systems. In other terms, the initial objective should have been focused on the pursuit of competitive finalities taking away the technical and juridical barriers the impeded, or obstructed, the movement of goods, as well as of persons and capital, and contextually facing toward the anti-competitive agreements.

The uniformity of the norms of the different Member States was mainly reached by means of the actions undertaken by the Court of Justice – rather than the normative process – and, in particular, establishing judgments on the joint provisions of art. 30 and art. 36 through which the communitarian judges passed judgment that the diversity of the technical disciplines concerning agricultural products of each country, in consideration of their legal product denomination, couldn’t be invoked to impede or encumber the free movement of goods coming from the Member States. The Cassis de Dijon case lawfulfilled the objective of encouraging the movement of goods through the mutual acknowledgment of each Member State of the product and of the related technical disciplines, yet not succeeding in harmonizing uniformly the entire system of rules influencing each system of each national market.

It is with the Single European Act of 1986 that it is reached a deep intervention of the same objectives of the Community. In fact, the definition of an economic politics intended for the identification of the building of a unique market that coincides with the entire territory of the European Union led, in the light of a slow and progressive alternation of the single internal markets to encourage the structuring of a complex normative system intended to equalize the legal discipline of each Member State. In such a historical moment, the protection of the consumers’ interests becomes increasingly relevant turning into an aim of the communitarian politics (it was hoped for, in fact, a high level of protection to concede to costumers)is a constant benchmark for the legislator as a means of ensuring a correct and transparent functioning of the market. In the Treaty of Maastricht of 1992, it is expressly mentioned the consumers’ protection, which is raised at the level of communitarian “politics”. Subsequently, with the Treaty of Amsterdam of 1997 and, finally, the Treaty of Nice of 2002, in addition to confirm a high level of the consumers’ protection, as an explicit objective of the communitarian politics, the institutions of the European Union undertake to take into account the exigencies concerning the consumers’ protection in the definition of the different activities. In this way, the consumer’s protection gradually becomes acting- out not only of a single autonomous politics, but rather of a finality institutionally followed at a general level. In the end, it is then useful to make reference in the normative reconnaissance of the consumer to the Charter of the Fundamental Rights of the European Union of  December 7th 2000 (art. 38), as well as to the present “draft” of the European Constitution.  (art. II-98).

If one carefully looks into it, the above-mentioned evolutionary stages synthesize a complex itinerary that led to the definition of centrality of the European politics of the consumers’ protection that determined a general approach, which was no longer focused on considering this latter as a weak contractor, but rather as a fundamental subject of the dynamics of the market, not only capable of interfering with the demand, but rather as a legal subject reflected by expressed and profound interests. In these terms, a system of consumers’ protection was followed, one that would be capable of involving each and any subject of the market by virtue of the rules able to grant the movement of safe products in relation with predefined measures that are equal and homogeneous for the safety and protection of goods, and by virtue of a dialectics between the consumer and the producer that developed in the definition of the contractual norms based on the principles of correctness and good faith, on the information and transparency of the trade, as well on forms of protection based on a successive remedy of the damage, rather than preventive and diffused.

In this perspective, the consumer’s protection was developed, being capable ofinvolving each and every profile of the market, like the subjects, the products and the legal instruments of the movement of goods, that is the contract through which goods and services, but in the same way, also the same means of communication and information, as well as the techniques of protection and risk prevention. In these terms, one should believe that the consumer’s protection does not assume as a cause, but rather as a mere effect of the imposing process of approach towards the objectives determined by the Treaty; the protection of the subject assumed, in fact, the immediate objective for the fulfilment of a competitive market, and which, therefore, continuously, requires the protection this latter, to adjust the protection to new and different requests demanded by virtue of its own evolution. 

Concerning the normative technique of the communitarian legislator, we should highlight how this latter is developed into compartments, that is, yet following the same finalities, was mainly directed to discipline each sector, and therefore, concerning goods or services, where, as it can be seen, the centre of the consumer’s interests was long time ago identified in relation to the protection of the subject’s health and safety. 

 

 “The Green Paper” concerning the revision of the acquis communautaire on the consumers’ protection.

The issues set forth above will be confirmed further on in the recent “Green Paper” presented by the European Commission with respect to the revision of the acquis communautaire related to the consumers’ politics, by means of which the Commission proceeded to the revision with the purpose of fulfilling better its objectives in the field simplifying and completing the existing normative background. The revision, which mainly concern eight different directives oriented to protect the consumers, intends to fulfil an efficient internal market of the consumers that could obtain the appropriate balance between a high level of protection of the consumers and the competitiveness of companies, ensuring at the same time a strong observance of the subsidiarity principle.

For this purpose, it is useful to highlight that the Green Paper does not represent an isolated act of the communitarian politics, but it has to be placed in the evolutionary iter above-mentioned in the perspective of the most recent development of the consumers’ protection in action for a long time, its objectives are set forth in the most recent Communication of the European Parliament concerning the strategy for the consumers’ politics for the time frame between 2007 and 2013.

The content of the communication highlights a double order of problematic afferent to the general European politics of consumer’s protection.  In fact, most of the directives which are a part of the acquis have got prescriptive character rather than a character of principle, and the majority of these latter do not seem to be fully appropriate for the requests of the daily markets that are in an increasingly rapid evolution. In addition to that, the Communication underlines how it has been possible to assist the fragmentation of the normative system for a long time: in fact, the present directives on the consumers’ protection, which are reviewed, are based on a minimum harmonization, that is they contain clauses in virtue of which the Member States have the capacity to dispose of higher levels of protection than those set forth by the directives and many Member States used this possibility to ensure a high level of consumers’ protection. Secondly, many issues are regulated in an incoherent way between several directives and they were left open.  From here, the attempt of the communitarian legislator emerges to settle the problem following the itinerary of revision of the acquis concerning the consumer with the aim of reaching a complete harmonization. This involves the fact that any of the Member States could apply the more rigorous rules than those established at a communitarian level. A complete harmonization would not imply only the abrogation of the clauses of minimum harmonization, but it would also require the removal of the normative options on specific aspects enjoyed by the Member States in virtue of certain dispositions of the directives, meaning that it could modify the level of consumers’ protection in some Member States. Otherwise, another different option being aimed at, could consist in order to reach this end, in the combination of a minimum harmonization with a clause of mutual acknowledgment, on the basis of which the Member States would maintain the possibility of introducing more rigorous rules on the consumers’ protection in their national legislation, but they would not have the right to impose their most rigorous requirements to the companies set up in other Member States according to the modalities that would create more unjustified restrictions on the free movement of goods or on the freedom of providing services. In the end, a last option underlined in the Communication would consist of a minimum harmonization eventually combined with the approach of an origin country. This combination would involve a that Member State should maintain the possibility to introduce more rigorous rules on the consumers’ protection within their own national legislation, but that the companies set up in other Member States are bound to observe the rules that are applied in the country where they are set up. 

Looking into it, without entering the merit of the three orientations to be followed and underlining that only through a complete harmonization it would be possible to reach the simplification and the rationalisation of the entire normative context that involves the consumption of food stuffs or of services in many Member States, this touches the reader noticing the terms expressed by the Communication is the constant reference to the reaching of trust of the consumer by means of the pursuit of safety (of the product) of a high level of informing and ensuring an efficient application of the normative writs through direct measures intended for guaranteeing the observance of the norms and of the means of resort. This is not meant for bringing about amazement, because the reference to “trust” of the consumer represents a standing preoccupation for the communitarian legislator that synthesizes the importance of the subject-consumer in the market area as a key of advantaged reading of the reliance of the market subjects and significantly in its subjects, products or services and legal instruments of exchange, as well as, obviously, in each communitarian institution.

 

The progressive evolution of the communitarian politics in the field of food safety in the light of the consumers’ interests. 

One cannot doubt how this kind of assumptions are also well adjusted to the primary products, where however, looking into it, the consideration of food by the communitarian and national legislator, as well as of the particular and natural relationship of dependence that exists in this latter and the man seems to have extended the web of contents of the food products protection. In fact, in the light of the food movement guaranteed by the “mutual acknowledgment”, with the passing of time, the areas of protection focused on the damage prevention became important, especially by means of control mechanisms on the undertaking of production on the entire productive chain, but also in relation with the communication of information concerning the product, as well as with determined levels of quality intrinsic to the product expressed by appropriate collective marks. For this purpose, it is then possible to underline how, under a normative profile, the evolution of the food consumer’s protection in the European area was moved, developing in a double direction: on the one hand, regulating the appropriateness and the  transparency of information by means of which one should guarantee to the consumer the possibility to make choices while being fully aware and distinguishing products and showing their quality from the news noticed in the improvement act of the trade; yet on the other hand, adjusting food safety and the health protection of the subject, which is the addressee of the product, preventively by means of particular internal procedures of the productive activity or of protecting and transformation and, successively, through a management politics and of risk control undertaken by the communitarian  institutions.

Looking into it, in fact, in the attempt of influencing the competition between the same  products, the communitarian legislator proceeded to the establishment of uniform rules at a communitarian level enforcing certain instruments meant for enriching the background of the information concerning the product to be placed at the consumer’s disposal (thinking of the marks discipline, individual and collective, the “signs of quality”, the products labels and of the norms on advertising); and, contextually, defining a system that is constituted from the exigency of introducing common thresholds of products safety, of hygiene and of healthiness. Observing the norms of national and communitarian source, also in the light of the economic development and the enlargement of the markets has progressively determined the emergence of multiple rules leading to different profiles of the food products so as to form a normative corpus, which isnot always coherent and organic. Moreover, because of the phenomena of food contamination (BSE, chicken with dioxin and fish with mercury) that have involved some European countries it was getting increasingly sensitive  the interest of the communitarian legislator in the definition of a system no longer left only at the normative provisions, but rather leading to a unitary legal system capable of regulating in an uniform way the food legislation that, by means of a long normative iter that was triggered with the publication of the Green Paper of 1997, was followed by the White Paper of 2000, ending with Regulation 178/2002 of January 28th 2002 that introduced the system of the European food legislation.

It derives from here a normative complex whose organic vision of the problems related to food safety in pursuing the finalities, synthetically expressed by art. 1 offers an orderly normative system based on the general principle of consumer’s protection and of his health, which is conditioned by the exigencies of trade and developed by means of an alignment of the definitions and the establishment of the solid principles. In this way, a uniform legal apparatus was born at a communitarian level, which is focused on guaranteeing a high level of food safety, its system being based on Reg. 178/2002 and in virtue of which the food norms, previous and subsequent, of internal law as well, must necessarily be brought back and adjusted. In fact, a normative background emerges, in virtue of which the free movement of healthy and safe food becomes a fundamental objective of the market, guaranteed by a prevention of risk by means of the principle of precaution (art. 7), as a protection instrument focused on preventing the risk related to food upon the entry on the market or through the identification and the isolation of this latter in its area of movement.

At the same time, in the area of the consumer, other rules with immediate effect are passed: food tracking down (art. 18) becomes a fundamental principle and a technical instrument of immediate information of the consumer through which to become aware of the distinct moments of the productive chain, as well as of the subjects involved in the food chain and the responsibility of the producer for the damages caused by the products becoming the rule of the operator’s responsibility.

Concerning the facts that have been presented so far, the second interpretative criterion of Reg. 178/2002 has to be laid at the basis of a legal system in virtue of which all the other normative provisions necessarily have to lead at it, provisions that interact with the food safety discipline and are meant to regulate specific legal areas, like food labelling that is regulated today by  Dir. 2000/13 of the 20th of March 2000, which modified the previous Dir. 1979/112 of 18th December 1978, and the discipline regarding the analysis of dangers and the control of critical points  (H.A.C.C.P.), as well as the discipline on the hygiene for the farmers and for the food agent  (Reg. 852/2004, 853/2004 e 854/2004).

 

The food stuffs consumer

The opportunity of following a direction focused on setting the qualities of the “food stuffs” consumers goes back now to the definition of the consumer’s interests.

In the light of a traditional approach to the notion of consumer subjectively oriented,  as it does not correspond to the characteristics of the subject, but it rather originates in the position within the dynamics of the parts of the legal relationship  (professional and consumer), on the contrary, Reg. 178/2002, in the definition of the protection of the interests seems to leave out the identification of an existing legal relationship, noticing, instead, only that food should be edible without further risks to the normal ones due to eventual food excesses or to intolerances. It is doubtless that the protection aiming at food security finds its origin from the double assessment of the dependence relationship of man and food and from the essential consideration of food stuffs consumption by people; in other terms, in the virtue of everything that it was said, the consumer’s protection seems to be at a major level of safeguard with respect to the consumption of different goods, thus defining a discipline that is developed in relation to the goods, providing for a prevention system of the risk that cannot be applied without distinction in virtue of the subject places the product on the market (professional or less). Everything that was said finds confirmation as well in the issue according to which the food system regulates the fodder as well, as these latter are important indirectly for the man, since they are meant for animals that produce food and that these are afterwards destined to become food as well.

Therefore, if the function that explains the normative system of consumer’s protection in the area of the normative system of food security has to be developed not only in relation to the capacity of the subject in a given legal relationship, but rather mainly with respect to the utility of the res in the area of the legal relationship in force at the end of the food stuffs consumption, it derives from them the finalities expressed by the consumer’s interests have to be underlined regarding a double centre. First of all, in relation to the “sanitary” interests, or in the objective of aiming at a high level of protection of life of human health (art. 5); secondly, instead, in the prevention of commercial experiences meant for misleading the consumer. Consequently, it emerges the development of the normative system that focuses on the same centre of interests, moves, contextually, with regard to food and to the consequent necessity of life protection and of human health, providing for, as it was mentioned above, the precaution principle (art. 7), the product tracking down (art. 18), the responsibility of the producers for the damages caused by the product itself  (art. 21), as well as the discipline on the hygiene of products; and, at the same time, is also due with regard to the legislation on the presentation of the food products and, even more in relation with the norms on the information concerning the products through food labelling (Dir. 2000/13) and the nutritional indications included in the labels (Reg. 1924/2006), as well as with regard to their communication and their advertising.

The above-mentioned issues, in fact, aim at highlighting how the communitarian politics proceeded in order to ensure a better protection of the consumer recognized in the information necessarily represents the condition for a free choice of the consumer itself, both in the perspective of the communication of the information on the product and in the prevention from false or untrue messages. Consequently, food labelling is not left out from the entire system of food safety, but it rather joins it for representing the privileged instrument of the communication between the consumer and the improvement of the contract, thus raising at a privileged level of information and, looking into it, at a level of instrument of food safety. 

Therefore, concerning everything that was presented above, it seems opportune to extend the web of the consumer’s protection to an approach that is not confined to the only capacity of trader of the consumer and, thus, limited to the definition of the subject contractually “weak”, but rather as a system that leaves out the quality of the subjects operating directly on the res and, indirectly, through this latter on the subjects that are involved; in this way, influencing in virtue of the common principle of safety on the contents of the undertaking obligations of the act of production, but also defining for the food stuffs consumer a perfect legal situation whose centre of interests has to lead to the protection of one’s health. 


Dr. Virgil Eftimie (Director)

 and Dr. Ioana Nedelcu (counsellor)

National Sanitary Veterinary and Food Safety Authority

Hygiene and Public Veterinary Health Directorate

 

“The evaluation of food establishments processing animal origin products”

 

Within the European Union, by the common agricultural policy, 90% of the Member States have as main objective food safety and consumer’s protection.  CAP 2007-2013 imposed the drawing up of a strategy and its application in Romania, aiming at one of the most important objectives, namely: prevention.

This strategy includes:

  • Drawing up the norms and the national procedures in the fields of hygiene and public veterinary  health, with a view to implement the acquis communautaire concerning the “New Hygiene Package”;
  • Audit/assessment, authorization and monitoring of the units within the food industry; 
  • Conducting the official control of foodstuffs of animal origin (National Strategic Program of supervision in the field of hygiene and public veterinary  health, approved by order of the ANSVSA president);
  • Monitoring and reporting to EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) the zoonoses; Monitoring and reporting to EC the food toxic infections by means of the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feedstuff;
  • Controlling and monitoring the residues in the foodstuffs of animal origin;
  • Audit/assessment of the laboratories for the control of foodstuff;
  • Training the personnel within the  hygiene and public veterinary  health services on a county level; (National Program for training in the field of hygiene and public veterinary  health, approved by order of the ANSVSA president);
  • Coordinating the county hygiene and public veterinary  health services;
  • Preparing the missions organized by the European Commission in Romania concerning the field of hygiene and public veterinary  health services (EC conducts planned periodical  missions for assessing the veterinary system in Romania and the food safety system);
  • Cooperating with other institutions at a national level (institutes, ministries, professional associations) and international (UE/OIE/FAO/OMS/OMC)

 

Legal basis-”The new hygiene package”

The strategy comprises control measures, drawing up regulations on the basis of which the controls will be conducted, regulations accomplished with the help of specialists that take into account first of all the requirements of the consumers. Consumers must be well informed and careful when buying something. By means of a series of seminaries organized at a national and at a regional level, the agricultural producers were informed about the basic regulation. Each Member State of the European Union must adopt a strategy that should be appropriate to each country in order to implement this regulation:

 

  • Regulation EC no. 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs;
  • Regulation EC no. 853/2004 laying down specific hygiene rules for food of animal origin;
  • Regulation EC no. 854/2004 concerning the approval of specific rules for the organization of official controls of foodstuffs of animal origin that are intended for human consumption;
  • Regulation EC no. 882/2004 concerning the organization of official controls for verifying the compliance with the legislation concerning foodstuffs, food for animals and norms of animal health and welfare;
  • Regulation EC no. 178/2002 laying down general principles of the legislation concerning foodstuffs safety.

 

Authorizing UNITS within the Food Industry after the date of 01.01.2007

Before the accession of Romania, the units within the Food Industry were assessed by means of an efficient program carried out by the sanitary units. At present, the European Union is informed by means of a certain system on all the problems that exist and appear in this process of assessment and of restructuring of the units that continue.

Consequently, by the date of accession of Romania to EU (31.12.2006):

 

Food industry units

Units in reassessment and reauthorization (31.12.06) Order 139/2004

Units in reassessment and reauthorization (30.04.07) Order 276/2006

Units in transition (30.12.09)

Units which are eligible for export in the EU

Units approved for intra-Community exchanges

 

An important role is given to research, so, at present, there are 42 laboratories of foodstuffs research that are in competition for being accredited. The European Union insists on training and for this purpose a commission of this latter was created in Romania in order to train the veterinary personnel. The controls and the monitoring are very important. The authorization is being fulfilled step by step: locally, regionally and nationally.

Concerning the export of products, the authorized units are classified in category A (eligible for export in the EU) approved with an oval mark, units authorized for intra-Community exchanges according to Reg. EC 178, 852, 853, 854, 882.

The units without perspectives were dissolved and other units are in the period of transition by 31.12.200 (according to the provisions of the Treaty of Accession), being classified in category C.

 

The perspective of the EVOLUTION OF UNITS within the food industry (category C) at present

Units classified in category C (in the transition period) 650 units:

 

265 (red meat)

- 26 (poultry)

- 194 (milk)

- 12 (fish)

-  22 (eggs)

- 131 warehouses

 

Units in transition by 31.12.2009, after this period, they will be divided in:

- units approved for trade on the National Market (round mark)

- units approved for intra-Community exchanges (oval mark)

 

NOTE: The units that are classified in category C were negotiated during the accession process and they were published in the Annex to the Treaty of Accession RO-EU (OJ of EC)

During this time frame, concerning the UNITS IN THE TRANSITION PERIOD a periodical inspection shall be conducted of the restructuring/ modernization programs  (own funds or  SAPARD); drawing up the assessment sheet (monthly monitoring), verifying the conformity between the assessment sheet and the restructuring/ modernization program; drawing up the inspection report: verifying the conformity between the assessment sheet and the restructuring/ modernization program; drawing up the inspection report; verifying the fulfilment in due time of the measures included in the restructuring/ modernization program;

 

Sharing responsibilities - Reg.178/02, art.17:

 

FBO (Food Business Operators) have the responsibility of implementing the “New Hygiene Package” (NPI);

VCA (competent veterinary authorities) have the responsibility of constant supervision and of monitoring the units by:

                        - assessing the units periodically; (audit/authorization/inspections and controls)

                        - pursuing the fulfilment and the completion of the Restructuring/ Modernization Programs (units in transition by 30.12.09);

                        - applying the measures within the National Strategic Program of Supervision in the field of hygiene and public veterinary health.

The way in which the Veterinary Competent Authority (VCA) will operate shall be the following:

  • The official controls conducted by the veterinary competent authority for verifying that the operators in the food industry complied with the requirements within:
    • Reg. EC no.852/2004 
    • Reg. EC no. 853/2004
    • Reg. EC no. 854/2004, Chapter. II- official controls in the units, Art. 4 –general principles in the field of official controls concerning PAO (products of animal origin);

Good practices of hygiene and manufacture (GHP/GMP);

Procedures based on the HACCP principles;

Applying the health /identification mark;

Verifying the traceability requirements.

 

 

Dr. Georgi Konstantinov Nedyalkov

Head of Milk Quotas and National Reserve Development, Agrarian Development Directorate, Ministry of Agriculture and Food Supply of Bulgaria

 

“The experience of Bulgaria in the phase of adopting the Common Agricultural Policy in the dairy sector”

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, first of all I would like to thank the organizers of this International conference and specifically the President Dr. Carpintieri and the Vice President Dr. Seidel for having extended an invitation to Bulgaria to participate in this summit!
I also wish to extend the gratitude to the University of Cluj-Napoca for their hospitality.
Taking part in the presentations and discussions on the future development of the food safety and control in the EU 27, particularly in view of our recent ЕU accession is of particular interest to us.
As a new EU Member State Bulgaria is looking for immediate opportunities to properly develop and promote the food safety issues while adopting the EU aquis in the area and practically implementing the new schemes for developing this vitally important sector.
Since we are setting out to introduce new practices we would like to be informed about the experience and opportunities coming from nations which already enjoy highly developed food safety legislation and methodology. We also would like to learn about the experience of countries of EU 27.
Bulgaria has relatively very good conditions and proper traditions in the milk production and milk processing sectors.
In 2007 we have 97 000 milk producers officially registered, we have 221 dairy factories operating, and 34 dairies have licenses to sell their products to the European Market.
In the year the 2004 the number of dairies started regularly to decrease but the quantities of milk remain the same.
Following the EU legislation in the same year 2007 we have the new milk quota allocated per quantities of 722 000 tons and these quantities are divided for deliveries to the milk processors and 257 000 for direct sales. The reference fat content is 3.91 %.
All purchasers of raw cow milk have been formally approved by the Minister of Agriculture and Food Supply.
The Milk Quota System in Bulgaria is being managed and administrated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Supply in cooperation with  and the assistance of the National Milk Board and the Paying Agency of Bulgaria.
The quantities of the total milk production for the last year 2006 amounts at 1 520 000 tons; that is to say: 1 300 000 t – cow milk, 6 000 t – buffalo, 105 000 t – sheep milk and 109 000 t – goat milk.
In 2006, we have decreased cow milk production and increased the production of sheep and goat milk which is a very interesting sector of Bulgaria.
Here we have some data about the milk production: out of total milk production, 850 000 t are for the dairy processing, 257 000 t – for direct sales and 413 000 t – for self consumption;
According to Agri-Statistics Directorate Data, by 01.11.2005, the number of dairy cows is 347 754. This is 96,8 % of the total number of cows in Bulgaria;
In 2005 the milk production declined by 4,3% and amounts to 1 300 000 tons.
This decline is as a result of the lowering number of dairy cows but the average productivity is getting higher
Hygienic rules for the raw cow milk can be found in Regulation (ЕС) 853/2004, where the specific requirements to the hygiene of raw materials and food stuffs of animal origin have been determined.
Bulgaria must apply the criteria for raw cow milk under this Regulation from 01 January 2007 as there is a derogation regarding the quality parameters of raw cow milk up to 2009, but steps and measures are being applied.
In this regard the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Supply has taken steps and measures to accelerate the restructuring of the milk sector. As a first major step, the Ministry adopted a Strategy for development of the dairy livestock and improvement of the raw cow milk quality for the period 2006 – 2009.  In our environment, we call it the State Strategy.
In order to enforce the Strategy and to improve the quality of raw milk, and to comply with the veterinary requirements for the serious agreements for building facilities and equipment of dairy holdings the farms which comply with the veterinary rules  have to be classified in tree groups:
All farms which comply with the veterinary rules and hygienic requirements and produce cow milk in compliance with Regulation (ЕС) 853/2004 with TBN (total germs) up to 100 000 and TSC (total somatic cells) up to 400 000 were classified in Group I (or A class).
Group II or B class include all farms which comply with the requirements for building facilities and equipment but their produced milk does not meet the quality parameters.
Group III (Class C) include all farms which do not meet the requirements for building facilities and raw milk quality.
 A Register of the farms of 1-st and 2-nd group is established and it is published at the electronic page of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Supply as from January 2007: www. mzgar.government.bg
In the current year 2007, the Agrarian Development Directorate jointly with the National Veterinary Service have executed over 200 /two hundred/ on the spot checks in order to investigate the level of implementation  of the zoo-hygienic and veterinary parameters in the dairy farms. By 01 September 2007 the number of farms classified in Group I  is 1365 /one thousand three hundred and sixty five/, and in  2-nd Group 1265 /one thousand two hundred and sixty five/.
In Bulgaria the production of raw cow milk which is in compliance with the EU rules is being supported. This support is financially expressed via governmental aid from State Fund Agriculture by providing 0,05 eurocents per litter of cow milk.
According to the provision of the Livestock-breeding Law we have established and maintain a Register of the independent accredited laboratories for testing of raw cow milk.
Consequently certain coordination of the testing laboratories for animal products has been executed.
In the year 2008 the strategic goal will continue with the development of the livestock and dairy sector and the achievement of highly efficient, competitive and of high quality of agricultural production.
In this period the coordination and monitoring of the implementation of the veterinary and zoo-hygienic requirements will go on especially focused on the livestock breeding farms which have been approved by the Minister of Agriculture and Food Supply /under art 13 a § 2 of the  Livestock-breeding Law/.
The Agrarian Development Directorate participates actively in the development and implementation of Phare funded projects: e.g. the improvement of the efficient enforcement and implementation of “Hygienic Package”, treating the raw milk quality, quality control and traceability on the whole food chain from the stable to the dairy factory according to Regulation (ЕС) 853/2004 and Regulation (ЕС) 852/2004 regarding the primary processing.
So last but not least, the project BG 2006/018-343.03.02 Approximation and implementation of the legislation - CAP and CFP mechanisms – and strengthening the administrative capacity of Ministry of Agriculture and Food Supply to meet future responsibilities.

 

 

Dr. Teresa Babuscio,

University La Tuscia of Viterbo

 

“Food Controls”

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, good morning.
First of all I would like to thank the University of AgriculturalSciences and Veterinary Medicine of Cluj-Napoca for having invited me to have a speech today, secondly I would like to thank very much Dr. Carpintieri, President of the European Academy for Economic and Cultural Relations for havinginvited me as well and last but not least I would like to thank very much Ms. Seidel for her coordination. I would like to thank very much also the University of Tuscia for the continuous collaboration and the University of Siena.

Today I am speaking on behalf of the University of La Tuscia with which I have had a collaboration for a long period. Even though I have been working for a while within the European Commission one year ago, now my present mission in Brussels deals with the responsibilities of the trade and traders of food and feeding stuff. I deal with genetically modified organisms, food controls, food hygiene, I fulfil my engagement for the traders and not on behalf of the European Commission.

Today, I am going to talk about emotions because I am particularly moved to speak here in Romania because when the Country entered the European Union last January, I was working for the European Commission. I believe in the active work done by the European Union and I used to share my room with the Romanian colleague.

Why I am going to speak about emotions? Because I think that food is emotion. Food is something linked with culture, tradition, religion in all ages. This fact is directly linked also to the factor of risk and the difference between the real risk and the perception of risk. You certainly know that one of the basic principles of the European market is the free movement of goods, and foodstuffs are goods so that they must circulate in a free way. I use to say that the cost of this kind of freedom is food safety. I would like to refer to the EU food law regulation n. 178 of 2002, and in particular to art. 14.1, that says that “food shall not be placed on the market if it is unsafe”. Among jurists we use to say that unsafe food is extra commercium, is out of trade, out of the market.

This is the reason why the legislator put a lot of attention to this public interest. And this attention transformed the rule in operational criteria which lead to food control.

The real basis of the food control system within in the European Union is the regulation n.178 which has been defined the bible of the food safety because all principles and all the basic rules are inside that general regulation of safety of food and foodstuff. Art. 35 set up the rapid alert system for food and feed which has the scope to provide the control authorities with an effective tool for exchange of information on measures taken to ensure food safety. There is the network between national administrations in charge of the food controls, the European Commission and the European Food Safety Authority, the new actor created just with the general food law which is the scientific voice of the European Union for risk assessment.

This is a flow- chart taken up by the slides of the European Commission which shows the transmission of information once it has been sent [See figure n.1]. As you can see, the information starts from the member state that launches the alert. The member state is obliged now to send the information and we will see which kind of information the member state should send. As I said, information must be sent to the European Commission and to other members of the network and to the European Authority for Risk Assessment. I am showing you that this is a parcour, that is to say that now the member states are obliged to send the information whereas before, in the old system, the member state was not obliged because the Commission had to assess the risk before starting the network alert. The information that the member state is able to send can allow two definitions.

There are the alert notifications: the food or feed presenting risk is just on the market so the information has the aim to start an immediate action inviting the member states to recall or to withdraw the product from the market and to verify whether in their country there is the real presence of such a product.. Another tool can be information notification concerning food or feed for which a risk has been identified but for which the other members of the network do not have to take immediate actions because the product has not reached their market. It works mainly at the external borders of the European Union because there are many products coming from third countries which are mainly concerned. So, it deals with the trade of the European Union with third countries.

The European food safety system is a young system. This consideration allows us to consider the positive way of the continuous activity of the legislator to complete it and to improve the system. In food controls the regulation n. 882 of 2004 came up to complete the system. It is addressed to national competent authorities, to let them verify the compliance with feed and food law, animal health and animal welfare. It has an horizontal application because it can be considered as the controller of the application of the whole food regulation which is general food law, food hygiene, biotechnology and so on.

I would like to make a small juridical consideration, because sometimes, let’s say very often, the legislator gives the main framework with the basic act leaving some space to be implemented through the Comitology procedure. I will explain: in our case the regulation n. 882 can be considered the general rule, the basic act, the general framework which is adopted by co-decision procedure which consists in the doubling reading of the European Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers. In this regulation there are some articles which give the space to the Commission to act as co-legislator. In fact the implementing measures are adopted by the Regulatory Committee composed by representatives of member states who vote upon the Commission’s proposal and their vote is weighted upon territory and population. So the Commission is a co-legislator. I introduced you this difference of the procedure because the regulation 882 and in particular its art. 15.5 says that a list of feed and food of non animal origin, on the basis of known emerging risks, must be subject to an increased level of official controls at the point of entry into territories referred to in Annex 1. This shall be drawn up and updated and it takes time to adopt it. At this time, the Commission is discussing the proposal of a new EU regulation to implement this article.

The new regulation has the aim to establish a list of “high-risk”- food and feed materials of non animal origin to be subject to an increased level of official controls.

Let me specify that these commodities, these food and feed that are subject to increased controls are food and feed coming from third countries. The designated points at which controls must be undertaken mean that once arriving in the European Community, these food and feed products must enter through a specific and designated point and fees for controls will be required.

Which are the criteria that establish that a food or feed product are to be listed?. The Commission’s intentions are for a “short and flexible list” of food and feed of non animal origin which will be based on product/ origin/emerging risk. Let me give you an example: pistachios coming from Afghanistan which after several controls based on the rapid alert system of food and feed, I explained you, show a too high level of aflatoxins. They will enter in the list. That means that not the whole trade of pistachios coming from abroad will be subject of these controls but only pistachios coming from Afghanistan because they have a high level of aflatoxins and they will be subjected of this controls that are stricter than those applied to pistachios coming from other countries.

I have to say that the associations of stakeholders are much concerned about these new regulations and I would like to know if it will be a real flexible list and how will be THE list.

If after a period of increased control, referring to the example of pistachios, it is showed that the level of toxin has decreased; the product will be delisted and can go on its own way.

So, as you can see, how the issue of food control is complicated and how it has become a key issue really non attractive for us as jurists. It is not a very easy topic because consumers and operators are the most concerned from the practical aspect of view.

 

Dr. Svetla Chamova

Director of the Association of Meat Processors in Bulgaria

“CAP implementation in the meat sector in Bulgaria”

 

The topic of this seminar is the EU Common Agricultural Policy and food safety. However I will focus on the meat industry in Bulgaria. Why? Because as a new member state we have of course adopted the CAP legislation but the enforcement of this legislation proved to be more challenging than the adoption itself. Being a member state for “a few months” only we are not implementing this legislation in its entirety.

Concerning food safety I could say that Bulgaria has adopted the legislation and is implementing it very stringently.

As I told you I am going to focus on the meat industry. What is the situation in Bulgaria?

Food industry is the biggest of all industry divisions in Bulgaria – its relative share of the gross value added by the industry is 25.4%. The first place is taken by the bread, bakery and sugar industry and the second place - by the dairy industry. The meat industry comes third. The meat sector in Bulgaria is practically 100% private with numerous small and medium-sized enterprises. There is not much interest from foreign countries; therefore the amount of foreign investments in the meat processing sector is only 0.1 % of the total amount of foreign investments made in the food industry.

Since we are talking about meat it is important to know more about the meat consumption in Europe. As we can see compared with the past years in 2012, the consumption of beef, poultry and sheep is expected to remain unchanged, whereas the consumption of poultry is expected to increase. In Bulgaria we traditionally prefer pork meat, but let us compare the pork meat consumption with some other European countries: - data show that we occupy the 14th place. If we compare with Denmark, Spain, the Czech Republic and Germany, we can see that we come after them in pork consumption. Romania comes after us.

What is the situation with respect to family consumption? The data for the past 6 years outline the following major tendencies in family consumption:

  • decreased consumption of pork, beef, and lamb meat,
  • increased consumption of cooked-and-smoked sausages
  • increased consumption of non-perishable sausages (about 50 % of our people traditionally consume non-perishable sausages)
  • Permanently decreased consumption of canned meat (50 % decrease in comparison to 1995)
  • Poultry meat takes the biggest relative share in consumption

The relative share of food expenditure in the total household expenditure has decreased in the last years - in 2002 it had taken 42,5%. But it remains two times higher than in the European countries, where food expenditure is under 20 % of the total family expenditure.

According to data provided by the Agrostatistics Department of the Bulgarian Ministry of Agriculture and Food Supply our country produces 105 thousand tons of meat per year and approximately 110 thousand tons of poultry meat. According to an AMPB expert evaluation, the production of meat products is approximately 100 thousand tons per year. All this meat is produced by 418 meat establishments. As you can see, we have 76 establishments for minced meat, 97 red meat slaughterhouses and cutting plants, 63 poultry slaughterhouses and cutting plants and 182 meat processing establishments.  The people from the Commission say that we have too many establishments but I dare say they are not right, because all those establishments are small or medium-sized. 

During the years of transition and preparation for EU accession our establishments made significant progress. The greatest challenge they had to face during this period was the process of upgrading of meat processing establishments to bring them in line with the relevant requirements of the aligned legislation. The process was hard and painful. Because what are the obligations of the industry according to this legislation? Establishments need to prepare high quality food, safe food, full value and wholesome products. In order to do this they, first of all, must prepare compliant establishments, they have to find raw materials and have to train their staff, of course they have to implement a system of self-control, and they are responsible to guarantee protection. They need to implement environmental, animal nutrition, phytosanitary, animal health, animal welfare, veterinary public heath requirements, etc. And I can tell you they put great efforts in this. But this process of course requires funds. The solvent consumers in Bulgaria are very few. This is a problem of income. So the industry could hardly rely on its own financing to support the upgrading process. The efforts of our industry were only supported by the SAPARD programme and approximately 100 of the 400 enterprises on our market were build, established and equipped with the financial support of the SAPARD programme. But of course many of them failed to achieve compliance.  At that time, within the framework of the upgrading process, 44 % of the establishments in our country were closed because they failed to meet the requirements. We introduced a system of own checks in those establishments, we introduced the SEUROP system for the classification of slaughterhouses according to their quality; we introduced the new European requirements for traceability of the products. This is part of the Common Agricultural Policy and we need to report the price to Europe through the Ministry of Agriculture. The Companies’ expenses for the purchase of raw material are increasing.

What happened in the Bulgarian meat industry after the EU accession? As one of Murphy’s Laws says “If anything can go wrong, it will; if there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause most damage will be the first one to go wrong”. This is exactly what happened in our country one month before accession. The establishments did not meet the requirements –there were no recommendations of the control authorities that they have failed to comply with. But there was a complete chaos in legislation – both the national Bulgarian and the EU legislation were in force but overlapped considerably. As a result of a FVO mission the period for upgrading of establishments was extended with one year. This means that there is a ban on free movement of goods from Bulgaria to the European Community whereas other European countries may import in Bulgaria.

There is a difficult communication with the administration: Europe is to be referred to for everything and Europe is the excuse for everything.

What is the role of our Association in this whole process? As I already mentioned in the past years our meat industry faced numerous challenges. Because meat producers and processors had and still have too many things to take care of. And it is very important that there is someone to hear the voice of those people and to assist them in their efforts. The aim of our association is to secure the legitimate interests of the members, to offer them solutions both to the problems of mutual interest and to the private problems by protecting their interests on an equal basis, to help to expand the access to the market, to create conditions for fair competitiveness in accordance with the code of ethics of our association, to assist them in the increase of the quality of their meat products and to promote the Bulgarian traditions and skills.

At the same time the Association of Meat Processors in Bulgaria, recognised as a well-respected partner of the state administration in determining priorities for the development of the meat industry and environment as well as in implementing the national policies in the area of agriculture and food industry. Since 1998, AMPB has been a member of the European Association of Meat Processors (CLITRAVI) and since 2004 a member of the European Livestock and Meat Trading Union (UECBV). The members of AMPB are 200 companies engaged in production and processing meat as well as in other activities accompanying the meat industry. According to an experts’ evaluation, the AMPB member companies take about 85 % of the meat and meat products market in Bulgaria.

You know how difficult the administration might be and how complicated and unclear its requirements and messages might seem. If we prepare the enterprises and explain them in the easiest way what the administration wants, then it gets easier.

Currently the Association’s efforts are directed towards the implementation of GMP because we have a very good experts team, the HACCP system and Traceability among the member companies.

We publish a weekly Newspaper: “The MEAT” specialising in issues concerning meat, meat products, equipment, and food legislation and so on and we have more than 500 subscribers among the institutions, trade associations, companies, processors, media, etc.

AMPB carries out regularly press conferences on the current problems of the market and legislation and issues a specialised magazine “Meat and Meat Products” that provides information about novelties in the technological practice of the meat industry. We also publish books with typical and traditional Bulgarian recipes and technologies.

Each year AMPB organises a Specialised International Exhibition “Meatmania” in Sofia with a competition “Secret of the Bulgarian Taste” and one National in Varna “Meatmania”.

One of the most important activities of the Association is to help its members in the organisation of workshops. Last year we organised 10 seminars in 10 different regions during which 890 experts were trained: 500 were owners, technologists and private veterinarians, 390 were official veterinary inspectors working in establishments.

Now we are at an International Seminar and our association is not governmental. I am sure that in Romania the problems are the same.  I would like to say that there is some chaos in the legislation because both National and EU legislation are in force and they overlap and this creates many difficulties. Of course there is another problem, if we do not understand something, we have to go to the Veterinary service that will able to be explain something. Europe gives pressure to everything, Europe is to be referred to for everything and Europe is the excuse for everything. And we try month after month to find the answers to so many questions. And be sure that they ask for us and try to contact us immediately for advice as our role is to be mediator between the establishments and the government delivering sector-specific services to the establishments. We must protect the interests of our companies.

In conclusion I would like to thank the Universities and the organisers of this seminar for giving us this great opportunity – the opportunity to exchange our experience with our Romanian, Czech and Italian colleagues and This exchange is very precious because it gives us the confidence that in spite of the problems we all encounter on our way we are on the right way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Teodor Mihalcea, General Director

in collaboration with Dr. Mariana Radu, Senior Advisor

General Directorate for Agricultural Policy Implementation, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Romania

 

“The National Agricultural Policy-Impact and Measures”

                                                     

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is the most regulated field of policies in the European Union. In this context, each Member State must understand that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is a framework where policies for covering and fulfilling the national requirements can be formulated;

Yet, the implementation must be based on administrative structures that are efficient and effective. The National Agricultural Policy must focus in particular on the beneficiary, in our case: the farmer and the consumer. 

Objectives of the Common Agricultural Policy

Each Member State aims at fulfilling objectives that could lead to the growth of agricultural productivity by promoting technical progress, by ensuring the rational development of the agricultural production and by using at their best the production factors, especially those of labour;

One has constantly in view the most important objectives, namely: ensuring a fair standard of living for the agricultural community, in particular by increasing the individual income of the agricultural workers, by stabilizing markets and providing customers with food at reasonable prices. 

For this purpose, we set up two development strategies with a view to attain the devised objectives.  The development plan was divided into two parts, namely:  the first step or the first pillar consists in the Common Market Organization (CMO) and the second step or the second pillar aims at the rural development. 

 

The First Pillar

The Common Market Organization (CMO) has in view the individualization of those parameters that could help us establish the reality in the territory for a better organization with the aim of developing and fulfilling the devised objectives as well as using the necessary and appropriate strategies for this purpose. We shall have in view the following instruments: prices, intervention on the market, financial aids (direct payments, export restitutions), production quotas, and the common customs protection. All these lead to a good analysis and perspective of the development plan.

 

Pillar II

Rural development has been one of our objectives even before the entrance of Romania in the European Union. Concerning rural development, we established four categories of action: 

Axis 1 The increase in competitiveness of the agricultural and forestry sectors;  

Axis 2 Improving the environment and the rural areas;

Axis 3 The quality of living standards in the rural areas and the diversification of the rural economy;

Axis 4 Leader

 

At present, the priority of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is Pillar I, which represents an institutional construction, which is optimal for the good functioning, for the application of the CAP mechanisms and the absorption of the European Funds.

It also aims at the adjustment of the national policies in the following sectors: agricultural, zootechnic sector, forestry, phytosanitary sector, agri-food industry and rural development to the guiding principles of CAP.

At present, Romania is interested in the new CAP that is discussed and that constitutes one of the main points of Pillar I. 

The decrease in the number of people that practice subsistence agriculture, the setting up of a stable legislative framework that is necessary for the development of the viable economic exploitations, the economic-social consolidation of the Romanian village and of the durable development of the rural space are all important points belonging to our development and we hope that they will be fulfilled in the shortest time, leading to a modernization of the Romanian agriculture and to the alignment to the European standard.

 

The development of the agricultural sector of Romania aims at prevailing over the present structural problems that, as we know, refer to the division in small parts of the agricultural lands, the high number of small exploitations, an imbalance between the vegetal and the zootechnic sector, the weak endowment with plant and equipment, the irregular collecting/ taking over infrastructure and the allotment in the territory. One should emphasize the increase in competitiveness of the Romanian products and the quality policy of the traditional products and the traditional products, of the ecological products as well as the launch of some new products/brands. 

 

For the time frame 2007-2013, Romania has the following objectives:

  • Developing the competitiveness of the agricultural and forestry sectors, based on knowledge and private initiative,
  • Reducing the population dealing with agriculture, correlated with the setting up of viable exploitations,
  • Reducing the degree of fragmentation of the farming surface and the stimulation of concentration of small farms, maintaining the quality and the diversity of the rural and forestry area, aiming at the balance between the human activities and the preservation of natural resources.

 

On the short run, our priorities are the following: intensifying the process of implementation of the acquis communautaire, mainly of the phytosanitary and veterinary one, adapting the institutional construction that is necessary for the functioning of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in compliance with the regulations of the European Union. 

One of our objectives that we aimed constantly at is encouraging investments, including foreign ones and the turning to good account of the competitive advantages: quality fields, cheap labour that is relatively skilled. 

Another important aspect that becomes increasingly important is the development of a new branch of agriculture and namely the ecological agriculture (a niche on the market).

Capitalizing the opportunities offered by the acquis communautaire in the sector of agriculture, informing the farmers concerning the CAP benefits, the norms of the Community in the sector and the requirements for accessing the Community funds and other financial facilities.

Priorities on a medium and on a long term  that we have in view are the restructuring and the modernization of the agri-food and forestry sector in order to cope with the market as well as stimulating the consolidation by a means of a functional land market, supporting the transformation of the semi-subsistence farms having a potential of production in commercial exploitation, supporting the formation of associations having the aim of turning to good account products, improving the quality of processing, of the control and of the quality of the food stuffs (minimum hygiene and food safety rules). To these latter, we add another series of objectives:

● improving the marketing of agri-food products;

● Initiating programs for promoting the consumption of national products that are highly processed,

● promoting the direct investments which aim at introducing new technologies and the growth in the products quality; 

● ensuring the market transparency,

● creating the informing system concerning the price of the agricultural products (for example, agricultural scholarships) and the prices of land;

● the synthesis and the analysis of the data provided in real time.

 

The Direct Payment Schemes that are granted starting from 2007, as mechanisms of support for the agricultural producers, according to CAP:

Single Area Payment Scheme (SAPS)

Compensatory National Direct Payments in the vegetal sector (CNDP).

The Payment Scheme for energetic cultivations.

The Payment Scheme for sugar.

Compensatory National Direct Payments in the zootechnic sector (CNDP).

According to the CAP regulations, maintaining the intervention system on the cereals market, to which being added the intervention systems or other forms of regularization and on the market of other products (dairy products, wine, vegetables-fruit, sugar and so on) are taken into account in order not to create imbalances. 

 

In the following three years, the Romanian state will grant aids for common activities in agriculture, activities in the vegetal sector, in the zootechnic sector, land improvements and activities of organizing and of arranging the territory. 

 

In the vegetal sector as well, one has in view the implementation of an economic policy for entering the common market as competitors. Therefore in the vegetables sector, one aims at developing the marketing channels- market information, the functioning of the inter-professional organization in the sector of vegetables-fruit.

The functioning of the producers’ organizations leads to the growth in quality of the field vegetables for competing with those coming from importation and from EU which offer products at low costs. One has in view as well increasing the vegetables production in the greenhouse that covers a necessity of the population in certain seasons.   

In the case of fresh fruit, the first objective is stimulating financially for setting up plantations.  Here as well the information of the market is aimed at, the information that determines the development of marketing channels. The functioning of the producers’ inter-professional organizations in the sector of vegetables-fruit are, without doubt, means that lead to a better capitalization of the vegetal sector and for obtaining competitive products.

 

Processed vegetables and fruit

First of all, one has to carry out the modernization of the processing units for fulfilling the compliance of the units with the EU norms and requirements as well as for creating processing units by the producers’ groups and organizations.

 

THE PRESENT SITUATION IN THE FOOD INDUSTRY

 

In  2006, we registered a significant increase of consumption (over 10 %) of ovine and caprine meat, sugar and sugary products, butter, tinned vegetables, tomatoes and tinned fruit and a decrease of the consumption (over 10%) of honey, mushrooms and margarine and (over 6%) of poultry meat. 

    Concerning the importation balance of products this year a decrease was registered;  (under 10%) in the ovine and caprine meat, milk, eggs, honey, oil, margarine, wheat floor, corn floor, (between 10 – 50% ) in the ovine and caprine meat, porcine, poultry, sugar and sugary products, butter, tinned fruit and (over 50%) in rice, mushrooms, tinned vegetables, tomatoes.

            MADR adopted measures for improving the above situation (the supporting measures for zootechnics for the effective growth in the number of bovines, porcine and poultry, the support granted to the cultivation of sugar beet, rice and vegetables – fruit).

Yet, there are capacities in the excess of production for the majority of the basic food stuffs.

One notices that concentration of the food production in big units, some of them belonging to multinational companies – tendency towards globalization (in the sectors of sugar, oil, beer, milk), but there is still a high amount of small units based in almost all counties in the following sectors: milling and bakery, milk, meat and meat products.

 

PROGRAM INTENDED FOR THE INCREASE IN COMPETITIVENESS OF AGRI-FOOD PRODUCTS

 

On the basis of the provisions of Government Emergency Ordinance 120/2002 and Government Decision 1557/2002, with further modifications, a financial support is granted to the processing units, of up to 75 % from the investment expenditure in the quality field (but no more than 50.000 euro/project), to the following projects:

  • The implementation and the certification of the management systems of quality and/ or of the management system of the environment.  There are already 164 approved projects.
  • The endowment and /or the arrangement of the testing and of the calibration laboratories as well as the accreditation of these latter, where necessary;  projects approved: 100
  • The registration and the protection on the external market of the brands, of the invention patents, of the drawings and of the Romanian industrial patterns.
  • The Criteria for approving the projects are :

   The processing unit should have a production license, it should be profitable, it should not have debts to the state budget, and it should not access other sources of financing for the same program.

AGRICULTURE

Concerning the budget intended for 2008, 2.7 % from the gross domestic product will be allotted to agriculture, meaning with 13% more than in 2007. If in 2004, the budget allotted to agriculture was of 3,4 billion Lei, in 2007, we witness a triplication of the budget of 10,5 billions Lei for reaching, in 2008, an approximate budget of 10,9 billion Lei.

 

 The objectives that were devised aim in particular at:

  • Facilitating the investments and the necessary co-financing for accessing the European Funds;
  • Developing the national production;
  • The incentive for transforming the farmers’ households in family agricultural farms with commercial character;
  • Forming and consolidating the middle class in the rural area;
  • Reorganizing and expanding research in the sector of agriculture;
  • “The Farmer” Program. The life annuity program.

 

 

Ing. Giuseppe Marino

University La Tuscia of Viterbo (Italy)

 

The Consortium RIFOSAL” - FOOD SAFETY

 

The issue of food safety has progressively gained an increased importance for the European Union. The numerous regulations and specific guidelines that have been more and more frequently issued in this sector are an evidence of this. Currently they have become a core and strategic objective, especially after the outbreak of the dramatic BSE emergency, of dioxin chicken and the very recent issue of avian influenza.

            The intervention of the EU lawmaker, which was first characterised by a wasteful action, turned out being more straightforward as pivotal principles relevant to food safety have been included in a single regulation tool. It is the European Regulation nr. 178 of 2002 ruling, horizontally, the healthiness of all foods circulating in the EU market.

The regulatory system is based on the principle that food safety must start  “from the fields to the fork”: food, in fact, is characterised by a close relationship with the human being. It is swallowed, it enters our body and becomes part of ourselves. For this reason, it is necessary to assess and estimate the risks connected to the safety of food as such (regardless of personal pathologies) addressed, so to say, to “everyday men”.

This kind of approach towards food safety entails taking into account many different perspectives:

 

  • Focus on the whole production cycle: everything that ends up on our tables is born in the fields or in livestock sheds, is developed by means of technical tools (fertilizers, phytopharmaceutical products, zootechnical feeding products), goes through the first processing operations, undergoes further processing procedures, is packaged and launched on the market of final consumptions, is cooked or anyway prepared for feeding. Which is the first ring of the supply chain from which we should start to worry in order to be reasonably sure to avoid hygiene and health problems for consumers? Here is the only feasible answer: in order to eliminate hygiene and health risks it is necessary to endeavour in each and every ring of the supply chain. Therefore, each ring of a supply chain of food for human use can give rise to one or more dangers, and, at the same time, each ring can be bring forward dangers introduced in previous steps. For this reason, the principle of traceability has been introduced in all the steps of the food and agricultural supply chain;
  • Adequate food labelling to provide sufficient information to consumers;
  • Assessment of food risks, that are mainly chemical and microbiological. The chemical risk originates both from natural and technological toxic factors. Within this categories, it is possible to make overall classifications detecting:
    • Rests of pharmacologically active substances used in zootechnics, those banned at the EU level, like anabolic steroids, and due to clear toxicological risks (stilbenic compounds, b-agonists), as well as those that have been authorised for usual cattle-breeding, even though acceptability  thresholds have been defined, according to in-depth toxicological studies;
    • Polluting agents coming from industrial productions or city settlements such as metals, PCB’s, dioxins that move in the environment and from the latter in the food supply chain in points being not always constant. This is mainly due to industrial activities or to a bad management of wastes and processing liquid wastes or to fallout after emissions in the air. (This is the case of highly toxic xenobiotics, that are sadly known by now, being typically represented by dioxins originating as by-products after the high-temperature chemical combination of particular kinds of substances used in some industrial productions).

Also pesticides are considered as environment contaminants and are sometimes used even more compared to what is actually necessary. These are characterised, by their very nature, by a high toxicity level and can be left in food products (especially fruit and vegetables), as well as enter the food chain for cattle thus moving in its by-products.

    • Natural toxic factors like mycotoxins, a diversified class of toxins, some of which are absolutely cancerogenic, that can be mainly produced in cereals and dried fruit; some families of mycetes, in inadequate product storing and management conditions, that represent a risk as such, and modified, when they move in food by-products like milk.
  • Hygiene requirements in primary production, trough the use of the handbooks of correct hygiene praxis and good agricultural practices (Regulations n.852, 853, 854 of 2003);
  • Monitoring animal feed production;
  • Genetically Modified Organisms: taking into account both the cultivation (coexistence) and trading of food containing GMOs.
  • Self-control regulations in production and HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) to detect critical points in each production step

 

TRAINING POLE ON FOOD SAFETY

 

The idea of a Training Pole on Food Safety is the result of the analysis of the characteristics of the relevant production sector: as a matter of fact, the food and agricultural supply chain, a long path along which the different moments and production steps develop, needs not only a constant technical and technological update, but also life-long information and  training, in line with EU and national regulations that are renewed on a daily basis.

 

The very meaning of “Pole”, as a centre in which skills coming from different directions do merge, absolutely epitomises the concept of complementarity and synergy of the different scientific input provided by the different training activities.

According to the principle that the territory expresses the needs for professionalism and that it can, at the same time, provide all the stakeholders capable of contributing to their fulfilment, the Training Pole stands for a tool for the organization and management of the local training supply.

Through the Pole, the territory expresses a thorough and flexible training, capable of:

    •  supporting growth processes;
    •  consistently meet the training needs raised by the production fabric and local communities;
    •  fulfil the personal needs of young trainees and employed adults.

 

The idea is that of gathering a strong university presence, research centres, public and private organizations, professional training centres, individual enterprises, territorial and sector industrial associations, local bodies and professional boards, around a body that would institutionalise cooperation among qualified human resources, with the support of logistic facilities for experimentation and application of new technologies in the food and agricultural sector.

 

The starting basis would be primary agricultural activity: as a matter of fact, the healthiness of the whole food and agricultural supply chain, mainly depends on the ways in which cultivation and cattle-breeding activities are carried out. For this reason, and in compliance with EU provisions, a special focus will be given to the juridical and applicatory profile with which said operations are performed. Training and the following experimentation will cover both the mandatory aspects of the regulation and the support to voluntary certification tools for the food safety “of fields”.

 

SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES

The main objectives, on which the training activities of the Pole hinge, can be summed up as follows:

Supporting production activities with training and research activities that are in line with the actual needs of economic operators, thus actually combining, according to well precise targets, the know-how of companies and the knowledge of University. Within this framework, the University initiative must necessarily involve the different Departments, according to a “crossing” interdepartmental model.

Promoting high-profile training initiatives that, though starting from local needs, and, more in general, from the needs of the whole agricultural-industrial sectors, can have a national scope;

Providing efficient tools to enhance territorial typical productions, valorising the environment, culture and food and agricultural traditions;

Involving the different local stakeholders, starting from the University, holders of different skills in the food and agricultural field, in order to enhance the local "excellence factors";

Starting an assistance activity for companies operating in the sectors of reference, in order to devise-implement scientific research projects and training initiatives aimed at re-qualifying their staff,

Preparing updating programs through conferences, seminars and work-shops, targeted to the different operational and decision-making levels of companies operating in the agricultural and agro-industrial sectors.

 

ACTIVITIES

The activities of a training Pole aim at accompanying the  processes of transferring new production and organization methodologies in the agricultural and agro-industrial sectors (regulations on food safety, regulations on the hygiene of food and feedstuff, on biotechnologies, on HACCP rules, etc.) and, at the same time, at innovating the potential added value that one’s activity could acquire. In particular, the training pole should

  • Monitor the companies’ training needs;
  • Formulate, organise, manage and make visible the sector technological training supply;
  • Foster training planning in line with the needs of the local production system;
  • Gather the know how of companies, training and research;
  • Connect education, professional training and post-school training;
  • Implement interventions aimed at developing the skills of teachers and other operators involved;
  • Organise “integrated” courses (permanent training, training for employees, professional training, post-school technical training, masters);
  • Provide university and professional guidance;
  • Perform research and experimentation activities;
  • Organise and manage the alternation;
  • Manage financed projects.

           

EXPECTED RESULTS

The training activities performed according to the above-mentioned organization would allow:

  • the mutual recognition of credits acquired in the training, education and training-job alternation paths;
  • actual possibilities of shifting through the systems;
  • the definition of curricular itineraries, consistent with the needs for professionalism of the work system;
  • providing students with a wider range of opportunities to choose according to their needs;
  • life-long updating of teachers.

 

JURIDICAL FORM

A juridical structure should be set up, referable to a possible formal entity that, besides from managing the ordinary activity of the Pole and performing administrative functions, shall be in charge of developing and promoting the Pole vis-à-vis public and private stakeholders:

  • Convention
  • Temporary Purpose Association
  • Consortium



CONCLUSIONS

During this conference the various aspects of the Reform of the Common Agricultural Policy were presented and explained and the importance of food safety, consumer protection and the control of the entire food chain included traceability were highlighted. The New Hygiene Package and the entire European Food Safety System as well as the HACCP and risk assessment based on scientific research were discussed.

The papers of the Romanian, Bulgarian and Czech speakers showed how their countries transposed and are implementing the Community Legislation on food safety. They also presented their control and management system and they explained the difficulty of their countries to implement CAP.

The debates with the audience showed that all agree on the importance of CAP for food safety and for the development of the agricultural sector but that it is still very difficult to reach the Community objectives. In the very new member states Romania and Bulgaria, Community legislation has been transposed but farmers and small sized establishments have difficulty to understand all of the many regulations and have difficulty to communicate with the authorities. They need practical assistance in running their new businesses in the field of agriculture and food production.

From the beginning of Bulgarian and Romania EU membership from 1 January 2007 all stakeholders in both member states face too much bureaucracy, there is also too much misunderstanding, lack of information, lack of practical assistance and lack of proper coordination between them. Moreover the costs to adapt small production units to the European standards are extremely high.

This International Conference has been highly appreciated and considered very useful, all papers were of great importance and valued by the audience.  But there is still much to be done to help the stakeholders of these new member countries to reach the community acquis. In particular there is the need of small and continuous workshops that reach small family farming units and small-medium sized establishments directly in the rural areas to disseminate information on the Reform of CAP in the food safety area and to teach and introduce the practical aspects in situ, that is to say on the premises, in a simple and understandable way

 

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