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C 147 E/248 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 20.6.


(2002/C 147 E/267) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0388/02

by Marit Paulsen (ELDR) to the Commission

(6 February 2002)

Subject: New system of controls and sanctions concerning food safety

On 12 January 2002, in his speech during the Green Week in Berlin, Commissioner Byrne outlined a new
approach to official controls on food in the EU, which was to be presented in writing within a few
months. This reform would include the possibility of imposing effective and proportionate sanctions at
both national and EU level. The Commission was also considering, in addition to administrative remedies,
the possibility of criminal sanctions and withholding certain EU payments.

Can the Commission confirm at this stage that these reformed and strengthened controls will range across
the entire food chain from farm to table in Europe, and will therefore also cover stock farming? Can the
Commission also say more about the implications of this reform for the authorities currently responsible
for controls at Community level and in the Member States?

Answer given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(5 March 2002)

The proposal to which the Honourable Member refers is the follow-up to the Commission’s announcement
in the White Paper on Food Safety (1) that it would submit to the Parliament and to the Council a proposal
for a Regulation on official feed and food controls (Action 4 in the Annex to the White Paper).

The aim of this proposal is to lay down the general principles for the performance of official controls with
a view to verifying compliance with all feed and food law. This implies that the proposal covers the entire
range of activities covered by feed and food law from farm to table, including stock farming.

The approach of the proposal would be holistic. The effect thereof would be that feed and food controls
must not be approached sector by sector, but as an entity where all controls are integrated into a global
system. This will require fluent communication between and coordination of the control services in the
Member States, highly qualified staff performing official controls and the availability of documented
control procedures.

In addition, the Commission is considering including enforcement measures that should be taken in cases
of non-compliance with feed and food law. Such measures could be envisaged at both national and
Community level. Discussion on this matter is ongoing.

The preparation of this proposal is well advanced and it is the intention to submit it formally after all the
consultations within and outside the Commission have been finalised.

(1) COM(1999) 719 final.